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YNGWIE MALMSTEEN: Biography, Guitars, and Pedals

Guitarists Shredders

Yngwie Malmsteen, is a renowned Swedish guitarist, member of the club known as " Shredders ", such as Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, or Eddie Van Halen, among others. The technique known as Shred began to be performed in the 80s, and it is mainly about the execution of passages with a high level of complexity, technique, and speed. We could call them the guitar jugglers.

Yngwie Malmsteen: Biography

The musical style of shredders is usually Heavy, but shredders may exist in other musical styles such as country, jazz-fusion, and blues. 

Basically, if we are able to make continuous and complex phrases on the guitar, and at high speed, we become shredders. 

Where the Shred technique is most often used is in instrumental themes in the style of Heavy Rock, Heavy Metal, or Neoclassical Metal. Precisely Yngwie Malmsteen was one of the most influential musicians in the creation of this subgenre of Metal known as Neoclassical Metal, although he was not the first. Malmsteen himself was inspired by the music of this style, which he was already beginning to perform by the group Deep Purple. Being this band the pioneer in compositions of this style. 

Needing for its interpretation, a certain degree of virtuosity, and strong musical knowledge for the development of its composition.


Yngwie Malmsteen Biography

Lars Johan Yngwie Lannerb├Ąck was born in Stockholm in 1963, and his interest in the electric guitar came to him when he was only 7 years old while he was watching a television program, which was about the death of Jimi Hendrix, and where some performances of the great guitarist were reproduced.

From that moment on, Yngwie became seriously interested in the electric guitar. Although he also became a great teacher with acoustic and Spanish guitar. Finding a calling that has kept you busy too this day.

Although Malmsteen was very given to playing the guitar with his teeth and breaking the guitar like Jimi, his greatest musical reference was not Hendrix, but Ritchie Blackmore, guitarist of Deep Purple. Spending long hours of his teens practicing with his music.

At the age of 15, he decided to abandon his studies to dedicate all his efforts to the guitar and music. His mother and sister, a talented flutist, recognized his musical gifts, and gave him their full support, making rapid progress thanks to his great dedication. 


Yngwie and Classical Music

But not only did the guitar occupy his hours, but influenced by his sister, he studied classical music. Expanding his musical references to Bach, Beethoven, Vivaldi, or Mozart, managing to understand the most complex musical structures.

According to Malmsteen himself, when he was 16 his parents came to worry about him. Since he hardly ate, he left the house or saw his friends. For him, there was only music and guitar. 

In his early adolescence, Yngwie, watching on television the performance of a work by the virtuoso violinist Niccolo Paganini, understood how to combine classical music with his skills as a guitarist. Adapting fingering techniques from the violin to the guitar, clearly defining his style. In fact, Yngwie Malmsteen is also known as the Paganini of the electric guitar.


Yngwie Malmsteen and the Scalloped Masts

In his youth, he worked for a time as a luthier in a guitar repair shop, where he learned about scalloped or scalloped necks, thanks to a lute with this characteristic. Intrigued by the result this quality could have on his music, Yngwie festooned the fretboard of an old guitar and was so impressed with the musical results that he decided to try it out on his own equipment.


Fingerboard Neck Guitar Scaled

The stepped neck is somewhat more complex to play than a standard neck, as the fret grooves force a more subtle and precise touch to prevent notes from sounding out of tune. But improving the speed of execution, adopting this alteration of the instrument permanently in his guitar equipment. 

Yngwie understands that maintaining his stay in Sweden would be very difficult to develop his Heavy Metal style. For this reason, he recorded some demos and sent them to various record companies in the United States. One of them came to the hands of Mike Varney, who, impressed by the virtuosity of the musician, decided to invite him to Los Angeles to join the band Steeler as a guitarist. And with only 18 years he left for the United States and joined the band.


Malmsteen Joins the Alcatrazz Band

After recording an album with Steeler, he joined the Alcatrazz group with whom he also recorded a single album ( No Parole from Rock ´N Roll ), in which Malmsteen composed most of the songs. Starting to be recognized as one of the best guitarists of the moment.


Solo career

Yngwie needed to explore his music beyond the limits allowed by a group consisting of several musicians each with his own opinion. So he takes advantage of the success and recognition generated by Alcatrazz, to start his solo career with the publication in 1984 of the album Rising Force. Considered the Holy Grail of Neoclassical Metal.

Since then he has not stopped releasing records to the market, practically once a year, demonstrating his creative ability.


Serious Car Accident

Three years after the release of his first album, about to turn 24, Yngwie suffers a serious accident with his luxurious Jaguar. Causing him a strong head trauma, which keeps him in a coma for a week. 

Upon awakening, he realizes that he cannot move his right arm, as a result of the consequences suffered by the strong blow to the head. Fearing for his career, he rushed into rehab therapy. Achieving in a miraculous way, fully regain arm mobility. Returning with his band a year and a half after the accident.

In 1997, and after months of intense work, he produced his first work with a symphony orchestra ( Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra ), demonstrating his technical and musical abilities. Making a well-deserved niche for this great instrument in the highest musical categories. 


Yngwie Malmsteen, Guitars and Pedals

His main instrument is the  Fender Stratocaster with  DiMarzio HS4  and  HS3  bridge pickups, with double superimposed windings. In other words, it is a humbucker but instead of having two parallel coils, it has them superimposed for a better mounting on a Stratocaster.

Later it was switched to the  Seymour Duncan YJM, which are the ones that the Fender Signature Yngwie Malmsteen mounts. With a brass nut, and obviously with a scaled fingerboard.   

Yngwie Malmsteen Fender Stratocaster Guitar

We also have signature strings from the same brand, the  Fender Yngwie Malmsteen  8 - 46. Extremely thin strings facilitate speed, but the subtlety of the touch must be extreme so as not to detune the note, and even more so on a scaled fingerboard.

To play live, Yngwie uses a true wall of 4 × 12 cabinets with Celestion G12T-75 speakers, and Marshall Vintage 1971 Mark II 50W amplifiers.


Although its sound mainly flows from the drive of its Marshall amps, when it comes to pedals, it uses:

 - Roland Echo Analog DC-10 Delay

 - Wah Cry-Baby Dunlop

 - Roland PK-5 MIDI

 - Boss OC-2 Octave

 - Overdrive Pre-Amp DOD250

 - Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor


He also uses a Boss CS-3 compressor pedal for his electroacoustic Ovation Viper. 

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