lessons & tips

Video Files from Unleash the Fury CD

These files are in .mov (Quicktime) format.  You can download the free Quicktime player HERE.

YM Bach 2

YM Magic and Mayhem

YM Solo


Guitar World "100 Best Licks"

Yngwie's Lick:   40


Lesson in "Guitar One" Magazine

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Yngwie's Guitar World "Wild Stringdom" Transcriptions

"Pedal to the Metal: Using Pedal Tones" - May 1999
"Getting Into Arpeggios" - June 1999
"A Clean Sweep: Using Good Practice Skills to Master Sweep-Picking Arpeggios" - July 1999
"ScalingUp: Mastering Diatonic Sequences" - September 1999
"Appreciating the World's First Shredder: Learning Paganini's Fifth Caprice in A Minor"--Part 1 - October 1999
"Smooth Moves: Paganini's Fifth Caprice in A Minor"--Part 2 - December 1999
"Poetry in Motion: Paganini's Fifth Caprice in A Minor"--Part 3 - January 2000

Technique Discussion

This section exists mainly for more serious musicians who want to read and talk about Yngwie's playing, composing, and general musical vision. If this file threatens to grow too large, we'll segment it into submenus. But for now, enjoy it as it is.

James Krieger writes: Some Yngwie fans who may have Roland products which have amp simulation might be interested in this. Roland's digital recording products (including its new BOSS digital 8-track recorder for guitar) have COSM amp simulations, and after hours of experimentation, I finally found out how to get Yngwie's tone with the DOD 250 and COSM amp simulation. What is needed:
1. Yngwie Malmsteen Strat or other Strat equipped with HS-3's
2. DOD 250 overdrive pedal. Set the level on the DOD at 100% and the gain at around 90%.
3. COSM amp simulation
Amp Simulation settings: NS (Noise Suppression): On; Threshold: 50; Release: 35; Amp (Pre Amp): On; Amp Type: MS1959 II; Gain: High; Volume: 100; Bass: 0 [move the bass up to 30 for a Marching Out sound vs. a bass of 0 for Rising Force sound]; Middle: 100; Treble: 100; Presence: 50; Master: 100; Sp (Speaker Simulator): On; Sp Type: MS Stack 2; MicSetting: 1; MicLevel: 55; DirLevel: 0. Add a Small Hall reverb to get the sound for "Black Star." Use an Ambient Room reverb for a sound closer to the rhythm guitar of "I'll See the Light Tonight." Using these settings, I matched Yngwie's tone from his first two albums pretty close. Not exact, but I don't think I could get any closer unless I had the exact same equipment he does.

Dear Yngwie: I often get stuck inside a scale (e.g., Dorian, Lydian, Phrygian, etc.) and my fingers just go up and down that scale. So I wonder if you've got some hint about how to overcome this? Also, can you please tell me some exercise that will increase my speed? (David Almstrom, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Yngwie says: "Both of these questions I get asked a lot of the time. The first one is difficult to answer, because it is really a question of creativity rather than skill. Anyone can learn the notes of the scales from a book or a teacher, but deciding what to do with them actually depends on what you hear in your head . . . your musical inspiration. I can't teach anyone how to do that. All I can say is to play with your ears open--if you don't like what you hear, try something else. About speed, I never used any specific exercises to build speed. For me, it took just playing for hours a day, becoming so familiar with the instrument that I didn't have to think about where my fingers were going next . . . and maybe that answers the first question, too!"

(The Good Doctor, Panderson@ACAD.ALBION.EDU) Greetings from one of your most loyal fans, Yngwie. I just happen to be the dude who wrote a cool editorial to Guitar Player magazine which basically focused on you. You probably have already heard about it. I hope you enjoy(ed) it since it tells the whole truth and nothing but the truth. A friend of mine gave me a copy of your Live 85 video. I especially like the intro to your guitar solo where you start with 8th notes and smoothly work them up to 64th notes. Too bad no one else can do that. I really like your Seventh Sign recording and I look forward to your next project. Respectfully yours.

(From Dragon's Fire, Volume 1, No. 2, Feb. 1992) Notes on the making of "Fire & Ice": The album was recorded at Criteria Studios in Miami, and mixed at Electric Lady Studios in New York, of Hendrix fame. Stratocasters used for the solos were: Candy Apple Red '56 maple neck; Cream '66 rosewood neck; Cream '71 maple neck (The Duck--Play Loud). Acoustic guitars used were Gibson Chet Atkins nylon string; Alvarez Yairi 12-string; Malmsteen Custom nylon string by Aria. Yngwie used Earnie Ball strings, gauges 0.008, 0.11, 0.14, 0.22, 0.34, 0.46. The classical piece, Bach's "Badinerie," which occurs in the middle of "No Mercy," was arranged by Yngwie and assisted by Svante Henryson, who played bass and cello on the track. Yngwie's sister Ann-Louise (Lolo) played the flute solo.

(Brian Phillips, To the Fan Club: Have you thought about opening areas catering to the more mature Malmsteen fans and musicians (i.e. tab, discussion groups, more technical musical info). I wish not to belittle the obvious and much appreciated effort put into the web page--but yngwie fans who have been around since the alcatrazz days don't get as excited about dragon lore as they do interesting discussion. great job! keep up the good work!

(From Dragon's Fire, Volume 1, No. 2, Feb. 1992) Yngwie is often asked about his approach to songwriting. Here's what he says: "I could write lyrics on an airplane on a napkin under the gin and tonic, you know? I never sit down and think, okay, now I'm going to write a song about so-and-so. I think the lyrics on "Fire & Ice" are some of the best I've done. As good as "Trilogy," which I still like very much. The lyrics are real, not generic--by that I mean they were inspired by my own feelings of frustration and anger, or sex. But some, like "Teaser" and "Dragonfly," are playful and upbeat. I don't have a set formula for songwriting. Composing the music has to be second nature; you just let it flow. I never say, now I'm gonna do this fingering with this arpeggio and play this in Phrygian, and go from d-minor to c-sharp on this solo. I don't even think about it--I just play what I hear in my head. Most of my albums are already arranged in my head before they are ever recorded, you know."

(Joe Stump, from the liner notes to his "Night of the Living Shred" CD, on the Leviathan label) "I really couldn't care less when guitar magazine writers say that this kind of playing [neo-classical shred] is dated and out of fashion. It is a style of guitar I've been playing for a very long time and will continue to play. If I wanted to be fashionable, I'd grow a goatee, put a sock on my head, and forget how to tune and play my guitar. No thanks."

(From Dragon's Fire, Volume 1, No. 3, June 1992) Yngwie's comments on sweep picking: Sweep picking or raking, as it is sometimes called, is an integral part of Yngwie's virtuoso technique. It allows him to play intricate scalar patterns at lightning velocity, but be forewarned, it takes a master such as Yngwie to make each note seem crisp and discrete. The up and down sweeping motion of the pick must catch the notes precisely and not allow them to blend into each other. It's like trying to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time. Yngwie says, "It's kind of like playing an arpeggio or broken chord... you fret each note of the chord separately and the pick goes down one, two, three, four, like so.... and then it goes back up again. Your hands must be perfectly coordinated, otherwise you just play mush and it sounds like a strum. You have to pay attention, because when one note is done, you've got to release that finger. Lift each finger up off the string as soon as it is picked--you can't leave it, like a chord. It's no so much in the picking hand as in the fretting hand."

(From Dragon's Fire, Volume 1, No. 4, Sept. 1992) Yngwie's Strat sound is instantly recognizable to serious fans. In an interview, the fan club asked him to comment on this fact and on scalloped necks in general: "Do I do anything special to get that sound? I get that question quite a lot, but the answer is not really--a Strat is a Strat, generally. It's mostly in here [gestures an arpeggio], in the hands, the WAY I play the guitar. My vibrato's really wide, like a violinist. I emulate that technique because I love the violin sound. Obviously, if you buy an Yngwie Malmsteen Fender Strat you would come closer to the way I sound, because of the way the neck is scalloped. The Signature Strat was quite an honor for me, because not only do you get free guitars, but you get the thrill of having a first-class guitar with YOUR name on it! That feels really, really good. And they're built exactly to my specifications. If you own one of them, you have exactly what I play. Those guitars are very different, because of the scalloped neck. You must totally relearn your playing. It's a bit difficult at first, but you have so much more control over the strings that once you get used to it, you may not want to play any other way. You don't need to press the string down onto the fretboard, instead it's like grabbing the notes with your fingertips. You can be much more precise in your attack. I love the necks on my signature guitars. They're done to my exact specifications, deeper toward the body and shallower toward the headstock. They have them in both maple and rosewood. The maple has a sharper tone, and the rosewood is more mellow. The headstock is very baroque, patterned after the 50s style, not like the new streamlined ones. It's a beautiful guitar, very well-balanced, too. It's pretty expensive, though. Fender also has a Japanese-made Malmsteen model now, that doesn't cost so much."

(Montanaro Candido, Varese, Italy)How does Yngwie succeed in keeping the pitch of his guitars perfectly in tune after using the whammy bar? Believe me, it is a very important question for me because when I see Yngwie play the guitar and using the whammy bar in so wild a way, I am not able to understand how he can do it.
(From Dragon's Fire, Volume 1, No. 4, Sept. 1992)Yngwie says: "It has totally to do with the way you string and tune the instrument, the way you SET the strings when you tune them so they don't slip. And the order in which you tune them can make a difference, as well as the direction in which the strings are wound on the peg. Proper stringing and tuning is a very sensitive business. Since I decided at an early age that the Strat was my guitar of choice, I knew I'd better damn well learn how to string them properly. I don't have a locking tremolo or any such device, and my guitars never go out of tune. The strings may be dead after a concert--if you've been to one of my shows you know why--but they don't go out of tune."

(Richard Karsmakers, Utrecht, The Netherlands - from a fan on The Seventh Sign, compared to past albums: What we're looking at are 12 songs--plus an additional Hendrix-influenced "Angel in Heat" on the Japanese import version--of which some are more than excellent and some are rather sugarsweet and too reminiscent of the "Fire & Ice" times. Overall the album seems more Hendrix-influenced with plenty of wah-wah use, most particularly in "I Don't Know." Of course he plagiarizes himself a bit (this time I most definitely heard something from the "Marching Out" album in the first song) and the lyrics are still a bit plain to say the least. Only once the lyrics go beyond plainness into the realm of sheer vomit-inducing ballad-sweetness in a song called "Prisoner of Your Love." On top of that the music is based on "Air," which Malmsteen has rehashed perhaps once too many times. Although all of this sounds rather negative indeed, "The Seventh Sign" is a good album most particularly because of the title song (which is really f*@kin' excellent) and "Pyramid of Cheops," the latter bringing back to life a severely heavy song the likes of "Dark Ages" off "Trilogy." It's Malmsteen at his best, and it makes you forget the singer's slight accent (?!) and the overall less melodic guitar solos. Usually Malmsteen's instrumentals are the best songs on his CDs, at least as far as I am concerned. Even "Perpetual" and "Leviathan" off "Fire & Ice" were quite excellent. This time, however, they seem too constrained. "Sorrow," for example, is just another acoustic ditty the likes of "Memories." We have no "Crying" or "Krakatau" on this CD. All in all, "The Seventh Sign" is a thoroughly enjoyable CD but not as perfect as, say, "Rising Force" or "Trilogy."

(Allen Cross, St. Louis, MO, USA) I have a few questions about the master's guitar setup: what brand and string gauges does he use, what is the fret size, and what is the string height at the 12th position? Also, the only solo that I am having trouble copying is the acoustic intro in the Steeler song "Hot on Your Heels." How about some help on tablature from a fan member?
(From Dragon's Fire, Volume 4, No. 2, March 1995) Yngwie says: "I use a hybrid set of Ernie Ball strings. The gauges on my standard Strats right now go 9, 12, 15, 24, 34, and 48. But this can vary somewhat, depending on which Strat I'm using (how deep the scallops are). On my Gibson, I use 9, 14, 16, 26, 36, and 48. I have all my Strats refretted with Dunlop 6000 frets. That's a big fret, but it works well with the scalloped neck and string height. Above the fret for the 12th position (high E) is about 4.5mm to 5mm. From the actual wood to the string is about 6 or 7 mm--it's really high, but I've become accustomed to it that way. I used to have it a lot lower, but I kept gradually moving it up because it sustains more."

(Josh, USA) I have some questions I am hoping I could get answered straight from the big guy. First, what steps does Yngwie go through to get that radical-sounding horse bellow on "Krakatau" (like what strings, frets, processors, etc. to get this effect)? I am also totally amazed at the blues tone Yngwie gets when he plays in such compositions as "I Don't Know," "Bedroom Eyes," and the blues solo on his video. How can he make it sound so good? Could I possibly get an answer to this (what amps is he using, effects, settings, etc.), it would open up a whole new world for me.
(from Dragon's Fire, Volume 4, No. 2, March 1995.) Yngwie says: "That "horse sound". . . It's nothing special, just a noise... you need a lot of distortion going, then find a harmonic on a string, then whammy it down. It's not physically hard to do." About my amp settings, I have the volume all the way up, because I use Marshall heads. They don't have any master volume and gain. Sometimes I use a little Fender amp, like at home or for warmups, and that one's got a gain so you can overdrive the pre-amp on it, but you don't have to have it extremely loud. But the sound that you hear on the albums and at concerts is through Marshalls that don't have any master control--it's just one volume knob, so it has to go all the way up to 10. The treble's about 7, the middle is on 5, the bass is all the way down, and presence is on 4 or 5, depending on the head. My sound setup doesn't change when I'm playing blues style--everything stays the same. I may sound different to some people because of the way I approach playing the music. What they may imagine is a different tone is just my way of playing that style of music. You gotta really get in there and do it, you know? Play from your gut-level feelings; you can't play like a wimp. Maybe that's what they hear." [ Editor's note: These amp settings may vary from those given in other sources, such the concert settings listed in the Winter '95 edition of Guitar Shop, because Yngwie's settings vary with each situation or personal whim at the time--he isn't locked into a single combination of settings.]



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