Iron Maiden Wiki

Adrian Smith (born Adrian Frederick Smith on 27 February 1957) is an English guitarist. He is one of three guitarists for Iron Maiden.

He is one of the main songwriters in Iron Maiden. He also sings backing vocals on some songs, along with Steve Harris.


Adrian Smith during the Somewhere Back In Time Tour

While at school, Adrian befriended Dave Murray and formed his first band Urchin as lead singer and lead guitarist. Adrian had bought his first guitar from Murray, a Woolworths' Top 20, for five quid (later he painted it gold and sold it again for 12 quid, as he states in the Early Days DD). Murray left Urchin to join Iron Maiden, the new band of another local musician, Steve Harris. Smith continued to front Urchin, with limited success, until joining Maiden in late 1980 for the Killers album (released in 1981), replacing Dennis Stratton. Smith first wrote songs for Maiden on the 1982 album The Number of the Beast, and was the band's secondary songwriter from then on (often in co-operation with Bruce Dickinson). Smith and Dave Murray combined playing dual lead guitars helping to forge the trademark sound of Iron Maiden. Some notable lead duets are "2 Minutes to Midnight", "Alexander the Great" and "Rime of the Ancient Mariner". Notable solos include "Wasted Years", "Stranger in a Strange Land" and "The Wicker Man".

Adrian's solos are usually composed rather than improvised. His legato playing is very smooth and fast and typically even his very fast passages have a musical function and relationship to the chord structure behind the solo, drawing from modes and arpeggios which are more often from blues licks.

Smith released a solo LP with the band ASAP (Adrian Smith And Project) titled Silver and Gold in 1989. Following its release, Smith departed from Iron Maiden in 1990 when recordings for the No Prayer for the Dying album were about to start, and was replaced by Janick Gers. It is widely believed that Adrian left due to his unhappiness with the direction the band was taking: after releasing the experimental Somewhere in Time and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son albums, Steve Harris had decided to take the band back to a more traditional hard rock direction which can clearly be heard on the No Prayer for the Dying album. This album featured one last song co-penned by Adrian with Bruce Dickinson, "Hooks in You".

Bruce Dickinson's comment on Adrian:

"When he left the band in 1990, I think everybody was a bit surprised at how much we missed him and certainly, I don’t think anybody had realized how much the fans would miss him - big time. I wouldn’t have rejoined Iron Maiden if he wasn’t in the band. I just don’t think it would have been complete without Adrian, and now, it’s great having three guitarists."

In 1996, Adrian joined forces with former Helloween vocalist, Michael Kiske on Kiske's solo album Instant Clarity. He plays guitar on a few tracks and co-wrote a few songs.

Later, Adrian formed his alternative rock-influenced band Psycho Motel. This band was a progression from an earlier music project of his, The Untouchables, which had featured some of the members from ASAP and Jamie Stewart (former bassist of the rock group The Cult). The band recorded two albums, State of Mind (1996) and Welcome to the World (1997). Smith would also play on Bruce Dickinson's Accident of Birth and The Chemical Wedding albums. The influence of this more progressive direction, as well as Adrian's heavier rhythm guitar playing, on Iron Maiden's own performances since he rejoined the band is clear.

On 22 August 1992 Smith made a brief appearance onstage with Maiden to play "Running Free" during the Castle Donington 'Monsters Of Rock' Festival.

In 1999, Smith re-joined Iron Maiden for the "Ed Hunter tour", a tour in support of the video game of the same name. Since then, Iron Maiden have released 6 studio albums, Brave New World in 2000, Dance of Death in 2003, A Matter of Life and Death in 2006, The Final Frontier in 2010, The Book of Souls in 2015, and Senjutsu in 2021. He remains with the band to this day.

Personal life[]

In his spare time, Adrian loves fishing, as can be seen on the Rock in Rio DVD.

Adrian has a wife named Nathalie, and three children, son Dylan Smith (born in 1989) and twin daughters Natasha Smith and Brittany Smith (born in 1991).



Smith's preferred guitar is the Fender Stratocaster, though he has used a variety of others over his career including several different Dean models, a custom built Jackson, Ibanez Destroyer, Gibson Les Pauls, a Gibson Explorer, Gibson SGs and Lado Guitars. On the A Matter of Life and Death DVD he says the first guitar he bought was a Gibson Les Paul Goldtop that cost him £235 when he was 17; he's still using it, and "it's still probably the best guitar I've got". He had to work on a building site all summer to pay for it. His current Stratocaster features a DiMarzio Super Distortion humbucker in the bridge position, which is the pickup he uses almost exclusively, and a Floyd Rose locking tremolo system. On the H/S/S Strats he has been playing recently he uses the bridge humbucker almost exclusively. Adrian uses gauge 9 strings and has his action set slightly higher than average. Contrary to common belief, Adrian does not use the Seymour Duncan JB Junior pickup, which is favoured by fellow Iron Maiden guitarist Janick Gers. For his solo work with Bruce Dickinson he has used (at least live) a Jackson King V guitar tuned down to drop-D, providing a darker and heavier sound. He has also used this setup on occasion after re-joining Iron Maiden. In the booklet of their album A Matter of Life and Death, Adrian is shown with a custom double-neck Jackson Soloist. Smith used the guitar, a 6/12 string, for the song "Children of the Damned" during Iron Maiden's 2007 tour. As of August of 2007, Adrian Smith is endorsing Jackson guitars, his first guitar company endorsement in over fifteen years. The latest is the Adrian Smith San Dimas Dinky.[1]

  • Two Fender Stratocasters (the second being used as a backup instrument) equipped with an original Floyd Rose double-locking tremolo system and DiMarzio humbucking pickups.
  • Two Gibson SGs (the second is normally used as a backup guitar).

Adrian has around 30 guitars in his collection. This is the list of guitars which can be seen on various pictures;

  • Jackson Adrian Smith San Dimas Dinky
  • At least seven Jackson/Charvel custom Stratocasters/Superstrats, one of them with integrated MIDI systems
  • At least four custom Lados (two Lado Earths, one Lazer with MIDI system, and a Lado custom Strat)
  • At least four Fender Stratocasters
  • At least three Gibson Les Pauls
  • At least five Gibson SGs
  • Ibanez Destroyer II
  • Ibanez Roadstar
  • Dean Baby ML
  • Roland G-707 MIDI guitar
  • At least two ESP Mirages
  • Hamer Standard
  • Squier Telecaster
  • Jackson custom doubleneck Soloist
  • Jackson KV1
  • Ovation acoustic guitar
  • Taylor acoustic guitar
  • Woolworths Top 20


For the Fender American Stratocaster:

  • Ernie Ball Strings (.009, - .046)
  • Tuning: Standard (low to high: E A D G B E)
  • Fender Custom Shop Texas Special Pickups (neck and middle)
  • DiMarzio Super Distortion (bridge)

For the Gibson SG:

  • Ernie Ball Strings (.009, - .046)
  • Tuning: Standard (low to high: E A D G B E)
  • Stock Pickups

For the Jackson Adrian Smith San Dimas Dinky:

  • DiMarzio Super Distortion (bridge)
  • Fender SCN Single-Coil Pickups (neck and middle)
  • Floyd Rose tremolo

Effects, controllers and processors[]

  • Dunlop Wah Controller
  • Yamaha MFC10 Midi Foot Controller
  • Digitech Whammy Pedal
  • Ibanez TS-9 Tube Screamer
  • Mike Hill B.I.S. Isolation hole


  • Two 300-Watt Marshall 1960A Angled-Front 4x12 Cabs

Loaded with 75-Watt Celestion G12-T75 Speakers

  • Two Marshall 30th Anniversary 6100LM 100-Watt All-Tube Heads

Units and tuners[]

  • Shure U4 Wireless Receiver
  • Whirlwind Multi-Selector 4-Channel Selector
  • Dunlop DCR-1SR Rack Wah
  • Lexicon MX200 Stereo Reverb/Effects Processor
  • Peavey Tubefex Tube Preamp & Multi-Fx Unit

Reference: Guitar World (December 2006)



  • Black Leather Fantasy (1977)
  • She's A Roller (1977)
  • Urchin (2004)- Best of/Compilation

Iron Maiden[]


  • Silver and Gold (1989)

Psycho Motel[]

  • State of Mind (1996)
  • Welcome to the World (1997)

Bruce Dickinson[]

  • Accident of Birth (1997)
  • The Chemical Wedding (1998)
  • Scream for Me Brazil (1999)

Guest appearances[]

  • Earthshaker (1983) - Earthshaker - "Dark Angel"
  • Hear 'n Aid (1985) – "Stars"
  • Rock Aid Armenia – The Earthquake Album (1989) – "Smoke on the Water"
  • Iron Maiden - Live at Donington (1993) - "Running Free"
  • Michael Kiske – Instant Clarity (1996) – "The Calling", "New Horizons"
  • Humanary Stew: A Tribute to Alice Cooper (1998) – "Black Widow"
  • "Various Artists" (2005)- Welcome to Nightmare: An All-Star to Alice
  • GuitarGearHeads - Jackson and Legendary Iron Maiden Guitarist Adrian Smith, Collaborate and Design Signature San Dimas Dinky Guitar
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