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Squier Stratocaster JV 1984 Dave Murray


The 80s are the golden age of Japanese guitars, and there are true gems from this decade with brands such as Greco, Tokai, Burny and of course, Squier. The Fender subsidiary brand launched its famous JV series in 1982, replicas - some more faithful than others - of vintage models (JV standing for Japan Vintage). These guitars were so well done (often much better than the American Fenders of the time) that many musicians adopted them despite their association with beginners’ guitars which came from their very affordable prices.

Among those smart musicians who took advantage of the Japanese explosion to widen their collection was Iron Maiden’s Dave Murray. Murray has always been a fan of Strats and he remains associated with his black 1957 which was the template for his signature model. He is most often seen with a maple fretboard (probably a strategic choice to be heard in the mix next to Adrian Smith’s rosewood board), and this Olympic White Stratocaster JV with a maple board was one of his spare guitars. He also has a two-tone sunburst that can be seen on some pictures, but this white model is the one he most heavily modified and thus probably the one he used the most while on tour in case of a hitch on the ‘57.

The vintage tremolo was replaced with a Khaller, Floyd Rose’s main competitor in the 80s, and therefore there is a locking nut on this strat’s head. The pickup is a humbucker DiMarzio inspired by a PAF ‘59 but with a hotter output. The pickguard has been changed so you can’t see the holes left by the two pickups that have been taken out. You would almost swear it’s a prototype for a Squier signature model.

Dave Murray


Band: Iron Maiden
Main guitar: Fender Stratocaster 1957
Compulsory listening: Aces High

Bassist Steve Harris is the unquestioned master and commander of the ultimate New Wave of British Heavy Metal band, but Dave Murray is undoubtedly his most faithful general, since he is the only other musician featured on all sixteen Iron Maiden albums, from Iron Maiden in 1980 to Book of Souls in 2015.

Still, his integration into the band wasn’t always the most obvious choice: after a destitute childhood and becoming a violent skinhead teen, discovering Hendrix changed his life and Murray auditioned for Maiden but the two guitar players that were already in the band felt threatened by the prodigy. Eventually, Harris decided to replace the other two with Murray, until he fired him too following a fight with Dennis Wilcock, who was the singer in the band at the time. Finally, Wilcock left the band and Murray was immediately brought back in.

Since then, each album got his fair share of fluid solos by Murray, with a powerful and lyrical legato. The golden-haired one does not take a huge part in songwriting (even though we owe him a few geat obscure songs like Charlotte the Harlot, Still Life et Déjà Vu), but his playing is instantly recognizable and it is part of the very definition of the Iron Maiden sound, even beyond the singers that were part of the band’s history (Paul Di’Anno, Bruce Dickinson and Blaze Bayley).

In 2009, Murray finally got his signature Fender Stratocaster, a black beauty with two humbuckers and a single coil inspired by his ‘57 Strat that belonged to Paul Kossoff. Another model followed in 2015. That one was made in mexico, with a sunburst finish and a rosewood fretboard, three humbuckers in a single-coil format and a Floyd Rose. He has sometimes been seen with a Les Paul, but overall Murray has remained faithful to the Strat for most of his career. A constant genius.

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