How to Actually Learn Something from Yngwie Malmsteen

yngwie malmsteen on throne

You either love him or hate him, I oscillate between the two, but you have to admire the technical prowess and Paganini wankfest that is Yngwie Malmsteen. I still get can’t get through an entire Yngwie album in one sitting but there are those can, and want to learn from the shred master, but how do you go about actually getting something from the wealth of Yngwie ‘educational’ material out there? I’ve been investigating…

Is Yngwie a Guitar Teacher?

In short, no. Yngwie is possibly the worst guitar teacher out there, and I’m sure it’s the last thing on his mind. Check out the following video which is supposed to be about playing fast. Yngwie spends the first 7 minutes talking loosely about the scales he uses while never tiring of his own wankery. This is all well and good but as far as I know you can play any scale as fast or as slow as you want; they have little to do with the actual mechanics of playing fast. The interviewer then presses Yngwie to explain his picking technique which Yngwie gladly demonstrates with more wankery. He then comes to the conclusion that he doesn’t actually know what he’s doing and that someone once told him that his picking technique reminded them of ‘knitting’. Check it out.

Tip 1: If you want to learn something from Yngwie, the last place you should look are his own videos.

Is it the Jewelry?

I often wondered if Yngwie’s picking technique was the result of the fine balance between wearing a Rolex on his right hand and some other bracelet-type things on his left hand, maybe the rings come into it too…

Tip 2: Check the weight balance between the jewelry on your hands. If you don’t wear jewelry, get some and see if that makes a difference.

Watching Yngwie’s Right Hand

Perhaps we can get something from watching Yngwie’s picking hand. From what I can tell he seems to be using alternate picking but it’s hard to tell as he rarely plays anything slow. There’s definitely some economy of movement going on, and the force seems to come more from his hand and fingers than anywhere else. He sometimes switches to economy picking when he incorporates legato but you can hear that most of the time he’s picking every single note. We need some help.

Tip 3: Trying to learn by watching Yngwie is pointless.

I’ve seen the Light Tonight

I began trawling YouTube to see if anyone could provide me with some kind of insight into Yngwie’s picking technique and lo and behold, I came across this video by Troy Grady. Much respect to Troy for the extremely in-depth investigation into Yngwie’s picking technique, clearly going beyond the call of duty in this mammoth explanation. Check it out.

About Graham Tippett 300 Articles
Compulsive guitar blogger and writer of many innovative guitar books.

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