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Dave Murray

David Michael Murray was born 23 December 1956 in Edmonton, England in a family that lived in poverty, thus forcing them to constantly move to different areas of London. Murray is a guitarist and songwriter and one of the earliest members of the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden as well as the only musician who has appeared on all of the band's releases together with the group's founder, bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris. He also considered one of the preeminent characters of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (better known as NWOBHM) movement of the late 1970s.

In 1976, Murray answered an advertisement in U.K. music magazine Melody Maker offering the Stratocaster that belonged to recently deceased Free guitarist Paul Kossoff. After doublechecking the guitar's serial number, Murray gave the equivalent of $1,400 for it. At the time, that was a princely sum for a person of the working-class. “[Kossoff] used that guitar on a lot of Free” Murray explained to www.gear-vault.com in 2009. “I actually saw him many years ago using it during a Free performance of ‘My Brother Jake’ on an English television show called Top of the Pops. They were one of my favorite bands, and I had to have that guitar because it belonged to Kossoff. I paid about $1,400 for it, which in 1976 was quite a bit of money. But I didnt care. I just sold everything I had so I could get it. And I used it from then on. It just felt like I was holding a piece of magic, because he used this guitar.” On the same year, Murray answered another ad of Melody Maker and was auditioned for Iron Maiden.

Kossoff's Stratocaster, easily identifiable for its unconventional H/S/H configuration, featured a 1957 body and a 1963 rosewood-board neck. Murray added to it a DiMarzio humbucker in the bridge position to obtain a thicker sound and to cancel the sense of movement that is aided by the normally angled bridge pickup.

The Iron Maiden’s first eight albums were recorded with this Stratocaster, which followed Murray also on tour from 1978 to 1990. “It was my main guitar,” he said, “and I played everything with it: lead and rhythm, clean stuff, heavy stuff. It was real versatile.”

This guitar is also at a centre of a debate about whether it’s the same white-with-mint-pickguard Stratocaster featured on the cover of Kossoff’s solo album  "Back Street Crawler" released in 1973. Some say that Murray painted the guitar whereas others claim that it was already black when he acquired it. Given Murray’s deep admiration of Kossoff, his understanding of the instrument’s significance and the considerable financial sacrifice he had to make to buy it, it is unlikely that he would have had the guitar painted. 

Murray switched onto ESP and Jackson guitars in the late ’80s and early ’90s. He then returned to Fender in 1995 and, since 2010, his main guitars has been a Sunburst California Series Stratocaster loaded with Seymour Duncan Hot Rail blade-type pickups and a Floyd Rose tremolo system. In 2009 his black Strat was honoured with a Signature Series model. 

Next player: Bonnie Raitt