The Swedish ge­nius has been un­leash­ing his fret­board fury since the early 1980s. Char­lie Grif­fiths takes a look at his amaz­ing chops.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

The as­ton­ish­ing Yng­wie Malm­steen comes un­der Char­lie’s Hard Rock spot­light this month.

Yng­wie Jo­han Malm­steen was flown over from his na­tive Swe­den to the USA in 1982 by Shrap­nel Records boss Mike Var­ney, af­ter be­ing blown away by Yng­wie’s demo tape. Af­ter some ex­pe­ri­ence play­ing in the bands Steeler and Al­ca­trazz, Yng­wie re­leased his first solo al­bum, Ris­ing Force. This 1984 re­lease was to be­come the first of 21 stu­dio re­leases; the most re­cent be­ing 2016’s World On Fire. For over three decades he has re­mained true to him­self and un­com­pro­mis­ing in his style. He re­mains the same today.

Through­out the years Yng­wie has utilised a lot of dif­fer­ent mu­si­cians on his records, but his work with the Jo­hans­son brothers is per­haps the most revered by fans. With Jens on key­boards and An­ders on drums the triple whammy of March­ing Out in 1985, Tril­ogy in 1986, and Odyssey in 1988 not only earned them a le­gion of life­long muso dis­ci­ples, but also had a wider ap­peal with songs like I’ll See The Light Tonight; I Am A Viking; You Don’t Re­mem­ber, I’ll Never For­get; Heaven Tonight and Crys­tal Ball. The songs were not only packed with vir­tu­osic, tech­ni­cally de­mand­ing play­ing, but also had ac­ces­si­ble song for­mats and catchy sin­ga­long cho­ruses.

So im­pres­sive and vir­tu­osic is Malm­steen’s Pa­ganini-in­spired mael­strom of sweep-picked arpeg­gios and Phry­gian­dom­i­nant scale runs, it is easy to for­get that he is also a mas­ter of riffs and catchy song­writ­ing. Al­though Yng­wie is most of­ten de­scribed un­der the ‘neo-clas­si­cal heavy metal’ ban­ner, in this fea­ture we will look at the Mae­stro’s more hard-rock tinged works.

We have five riffs for you that il­lus­trate some of Malm­steen’s sig­na­ture ap­proaches. Our first ex­am­ple is quite key­board-es­que in that it com­prises di­a­tonic Ma­jor and Mi­nor tri­ads in­ter­spersed with lower notes from the

(1-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7). A Ae­o­lian mode Ex­am­ple 2 is a raunchy riff in­spired by tracks from the Sev­enth Sign al­bum, which also hap­pened to be the sev­enth Yng­wie al­bum. This part uses bluesy, slinky bends that are en­hanced with a wah-wah pedal. For our third ex­am­ple we NEXT MONTH Char­lie gets to grips with the style of Jour­ney’s fab­u­lous gui­tarist, Neal Schon

Yng­wie’s Mu­si­cian­ship and COMPOSITIONAL skills are stag­ger­ing, and his gui­tar tech­nique Ut­terly Be­yond re­proach

look to the Fire And Ice al­bum on which Yng­wie uses lots of vi­brato to make the three-note chord shapes sing, as well as some cool palm-muted arpeg­gios. Ex­am­ple num­ber four looks back to the Odyssey days with a riff that has a 12/8 time sig­na­ture, played with a triplet feel and per­formed in uni­son with dou­ble kick-drum groove. The riff com­bines two of Yng­wie’s favourite tonal­i­ties as it is largely based in E Blues

(1-3-4-b5-5-b7), scale but switches to the clas­si­cal sound­ing E Phry­gian Dom­i­nant at

(1-b2-3-4-5-b6-b7). the end

For our 5th and fi­nal riff we seek out in­flu­ences from the Mag­num Opus al­bum. Yng­wie’s Bach in­flu­ence of­ten emerges as an open-string pedal note against which he plays notes from the scale - in this case is D

(1-b2-3-4-5-b6-b7). Phry­gian Dom­i­nant

Ex­am­ple 6 is a full Yng­wie-style solo in the key of A Mi­nor and al­ter­nates be­tween

(1-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7) the A Ae­o­lian mode and

(1-2-b3-4-5-b6-7]. the A Har­monic Mi­nor The solo fea­tures Yng­wie’s sig­na­ture moves, in­clud­ing sweep-picked arpeg­gios, twohanded tap­ping, fluid scale runs and wide vi­brato, fast fluid runs and vi­o­lin in­spired scale pat­terns.

Yng­wie’s de­trac­tors char­ac­terise him as all about flash and no con­tent; but his mu­si­cian­ship and compositional skills are stag­ger­ing, and his gui­tar tech­nique ut­terly be­yond re­proach. Prac­tise all the ex­am­ples slowly and build up the tempo grad­u­ally so that you can play them with Yng­wie’s big­gest at­tribute: con­fi­dence!

Yng­wie Malm­steen: one of in­stru­men­tal rock’s great­est ever mu­si­cal forces

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