That Metal Gear: Yngwie Malmsteen – The King Of Shred Shares His Influences And Equipment Secrets

Just as That Metal Show interviews your favorite heavy metal and hard rock stars, That Metal Gear talks with some of the greatest musicians in the genre to find out what they’re playing and how they get their sounds. This week we caught up with one of the greatest guitarists in shred history, the master of the cream colored Stratocaster, the overlord of the scalloped fret-board, the one and only Yngwie Malmsteen. Since erupting on the scene in the early 1980s, the Swedish guitarist has sent aspiring axe-men back to the woodshed with his lightening fast arpeggios from hell and neo-classical technique. His reputation is so great he can lay claim to signature model Marshall amplifiers, Fender Stratocaster guitars and most recently a line of guitar accessories including guitar strings, cables and more. The iconic instrumentalist has been That Metal Show’s special musical guest for the last two episodes of season 13 and was kind enough to sit down with us and talk about his top gear and tone secrets.

VH1: Who was the first guitar player that made you want to play guitar?

Yngwie Malmsteen: It was Jimi Hendrix. But it wasn’t the musical influence, it was the influence of smashing the guitar up and stuff like that. It was what really made me want to go and play. That all has changed very dramatically since then, of course, many years ago because now it’s mostly classical music influence.

What was the first guitar you owned?

I had a cheap acoustic guitar that I got on my 5th birthday. Then I got a cheap electric guitar when I was about 8. Then I had a number of Strats (Fender Stratocasters), like copies and things, and then a real one when I was about 12.

What’s your favorite song to play live and why?

I don’t really have a favorite. I don’t really like to play the same thing twice, so even though I play the same song, I play it differently.

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    [Photo: Colin Douglas Gray]
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    [Photo: Colin Douglas Gray]
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    [Photo: Colin Douglas Gray]

Yngwie Malmsteen first came to fame playing in former Rainbow singer Graham Bonnet’s band Alcatrazz,

What gear are you playing live these days?

Well, I use these, Yngwie Malmsteen Fender Stratocasters. They’ve got scalloped necks. Seymour Duncan Yngwie Malmsteen pickups of course. Through the YGM 100’s, which is a Yngwie Malmsteen Marshall.

What makes your signature Marshalls different than the stock ones?

It’s nothing like them at all. First of all, it’s switchable 50 to 100 (watts). And then it has what you use as a Master Volume here only controls the volume of the power amp. The pre-amp is full, but the power amp is low. And the power amp the EL34 (tubes) are what makes the sound. So my volume control is actually after the power station. It’s based on a (Marshall) Plexi. It’s really, really good. And I have a new line of stuff on Fender—Fender guitar strings, Yngwie Malmsteen model. Check it out. I got straps on Fender as well. And I’ve got a new overdrive pedal that’s being finished up now. It’s from Fender again. And gig bags and tuners, and they’re all really good. So it’s good stuff.