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How Yngwie Malmsteen developed his guitar playing style

Yngwie Malmsteen

Classic Rock

How Yngwie Malmsteen developed his guitar playing style

Virtuoso guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen explained in an interview with My Global Mind (Transcribed by Ultimate Guitar) how he developed his guitar playing style. The musician recalled all the exercises he done to create his own technique.


How Yngwie Malmsteen developed his guitar playing style:

“The disciple of playing and practicing is something that I have applied to my playing for years and years and years. In the late ’70s, nobody played the guitar like I did with six-string arpeggios. I wasn’t taking lessons online, reading it out of a book, or listening to a record where I learned from. It came from the inside”

“Of course, my huge inspiration for classical violin was there, but it was not done on the guitar. It was done on the violin! It is almost impossible to play those parts. I got to a point when I picked up the guitar; instead of playing a pentatonic boxed scale, I would go off [sings an example of super fast playing] with arpeggios. It was the natural thing for me to do.”

“So when I pick up the guitar now, I’m playing things that have never been written – I’m just improving. The solos on the records are all improvised; there are no pre-written parts for my solos. It is something that is hard-wired for me!”

He continued:

“I know what I’m doing, but it’s just there for me to tap into. So the disciple that I have developed is just something that has evolved from all the years prior. The true achievement of being a composer, writer, or soloist, anything you decided to do in life, you have to find where your passion lies. Not to pretend or do it for all the wrong reasons like being rich or meeting girls.”

“Many people have done it for that and were successful – God bless them. [Laughs] I go deeper than that. It’s important to find your purpose. You don’t want to be a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none.”

“I’m not knocking anyone’s approach, but I found my purpose. Interestingly, I found an old cassette tape of me in Powerhouse from 1978. I labeled it ‘heavy symphonic metal rock!’ There was no such thing as neo-classical then.”

Yngwie Malmsteen continued:

“I found where my guitar journey was going. It’s important to have that passion; if you don’t, you lose your mission. When I was eight years old, I got Deep Purple‘s ‘Fireball’ with the double bass playing and the sound of the Strat through a Marshall amp.”

“That combination was key. As soon as I could afford a Marshall, I got one because I already had the Strat. I didn’t want to get rid of those; so I just wanted to find different notes. I wanted to play in the style of Vivaldi and Bach through a Marshall stack to see what the fuck happened. [Laughs] That is really where it comes from!”


Yngwie Malmsteen was born in Stockholm, Sweden back in 1963 and at the age of 10 he formed Track On Earth, his first band that only had him and a friend from school playing the drums. He released 22 studio albums in a career spanning over 40 years.

His first solo album “Rising Force”, released in 1984 won the Guitar Player’s award for Best Rock Album and was nominated for a Grammy Award for “Best Rock Instrumental”, reaching no. 60 on the Billboard album chart.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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