Short bio: Yngwie Johan Malmsteen was born in Stockholm, Sweden on 30 June 1963. His love for music began in the very early age, as he discovered works from classical composers, especially the 19th century violinist/composer Niccolò Paganini. He was also influenced by some of the guitar players from the 70s, including Ritchie Blackmore. Brian May, and Uli Jon Roth.
Yngwie began touring in the early 80s, with the band Alcatrazz, and he also had some engagements with the band Steeler on their debut album. Shortly after that, Yngwie started recording his own stuff, and in the 1984, he relased his second album called “Rising Force”, which became #14 on that year’s Swedish albums chart, and #60 on the Billboard 200 chart. It was later nominated for Best Rock Instrumental Performance at the 1986 Grammy Awards. Two songs from that album, “Black Star” and “Far Beyond the Sun” have endured as two of his most popular songs.
Yngwie plays Fender Stratocaster guitars almost exclusively. He said that he was primarily influenced to buy a Stratocaster by seeing Henrix live at Monterrey. He now has a huge collection of them, and they are mostly set-up in a very similar way. Yngwie prefers the vintage white colored bodies, and scalloped maple necks. He got the idea of scalloped fretboard from a 17th century lute that he was working on, and initially he just thought that it look cool, but soon discovered that scallop was great for bending, and that it greatly improved his playing overall. He also like the 1968 to 1972 models with big headstocks.
In this article we’ll touch on a few guitars that are known as his favorite ones.
Yngwie Malmsteen’s Electric Guitars:
1971 Fender Stratocaster “Duck”
|Yngwie bought this guitar in Sweden, from a drummer who was auditioning for his band. He’s been using it as his main guitar from 1978, with both Steeler and Alcatrazz, and on almost all of the tours. He finally decided to put it aside in 1994, in order to save it from being damaged even more (the Duck is quite beat up and worn from playing). He still uses it occasionally for recording though, because he claims that it’s one of his best-sounding guitars.|
Originally, the “Duck” featured two DiMarzio HS-3 pickups, and a Fender single-coil in the middle, but in more recent years, Yngwie replaced them with his own signature set DiMarzio YJM, leaving the HS-3 in the bridge. He also replaced the original frets with Dunlop Super Jumbos, and scalloped the fretboard – which is now one of the trademarks when it comes to his guitars.
The name “Duck” originates from the Donald Duck sticker on the headstock. Yngwie also had the ‘Play Loud’ sticker on the body and the Ferrari decal on the back, which is now a norm on all of his Strats.
Fender has made 100 exact replicas of this guitar in the past, and they have recently started producing Yngwie Malmsteen Signature model based on this guitar – minus the stickers and scratch marks.
1971 Fender Stratocaster “Number 1”
|Even though the previously mentioned “Duck” is on of his best known guitars – it’s not his favorite one. Although you might say thay are practicly identical, Yngwie favors another 1971 Stratocaster as his favorite.|
This guitar has three DiMarzio YJM pickups, with the original pickup covers, scalloped neck with jumbo frets, and original Fender tremolo with three Wilkinson strings. The neck was originally three-bolt, but Yngwie made it four-bolt. On the back of the body are two Ferrari stickers, and a sticker with number “1” on it.
Yngwie prefers to use this guitar for soloing.
1970s Fender Stratocaster “Number 2”
|This guitar features identical specs as the Number 1 (check above for details)|
Yngwie claims the the #2 has a harder sounds, and he likes to use it for riffs on songs such as “Cracking The Whip”.
1968 Fender Stratocaster “Number 3”
|This guitar is also set-up in the same way as his other two Strats, only difference being the maple-cap lefty neck.|
Yngwie uses this guitar mainly for live gigs.
1961 Fender Stratocaster
|This guitar features a scalloped rosewood neck, and a custom pickup wiring so that he can use bridge and neck pickups at the same time.|
Rest of the specs are identical to the previously mentioned guitars.
1966 Fender Stratocaster
|His second rosewood Stratocaster. Rest of the specs are identical to the other guitars.|
1959 Fender Stratocaster
|One of his few white Stratocaters whose color has not aged to a yellowish over the years. This one comes with a scalloped rosewood neck, and a 22nd fret, which was additionally added by previous owner.|
Fender Stratocaster Custom Shop
|This guitar was used on the song “Cherokee Warrior” from the album . It is quite different from his other guitar, as it has the Fender Noiseless pickups, instead of the DiMarzios. It was made by Fender Custom Shop, as a part of Malmsteem signature series.|
Fender Stratocaster Yngwie Malmsteen Signature Model
|In more recent years, Yngwie has been using his own signature model from Fender. The model has been updated a couple of times from the time of release, and now features a big headstock, YJM Fury pickups custom wired by Seymour Duncan, and the usual stuff like the big frets, scalloped neck and aged white finish – except for a red one which he uses for “Red Devil” live.|
Yngwie Malmsteen’s Acoustic Guitars:
Ovation Viper CV68
|Yngwie’s favorite non-electric guitar is the nylon-string Ovation Viper. He has a couple of them, with his favorite two being a white and a black one, which he often uses live.|
Carvin AC175 Thinline Yngwie Malmsteen
|Yngwie has said in an interview with Young Guitar magazine in 2005 that he used this guitar for couple of songs on “Unleash the Fury”.|
Yngwie Malmsteen’s Guitar Amps:
Yngwie’s love for Marshalls is well documented. In his own words: “Anything but a Marshall, please don’t even fucking bother me. It ain’t gonna happen.”
In the past, his amp of choice was usually a Marshall JMP 50 MK II from 1971/72, [Yngwie Malmsteen Unleashes His Fury!] and on occasions, he had up to 40 of them on stage! In the more recent years, Yngwie has started using his own signature model from Marshall, called the Marshall Yngwie Malmsteen YJM100 100W. This amp has a couple of custom features, including a switch that changes the amp’s output from 50w to 100w, built-in reverb, noise gate and a sound booster/overdrive.
For cabinets he uses 4×12 Marshalls with 75w Celestions, or in the past the Celestion G12 30w.
Yngwie Malmsteen’s Guitar Effects:
In the 80s Yngwie was using a rack built by Bob Bradshaw, which featured:
– Korg KMX 62 6 Channel Keyboard Mixer
– Korg SDD 2000 Sampling Digital Delay x2
– Rocktron Hush II Noise Reduction System
– Furman Pl-8 Power Conditioner and Light Module
– Marshall 6040 400-Watt Power Amp
He was also using a couple of foot pedals, including:
– Vox 1902 Flanger
– Dunlop Cry Baby Wah
– Moog Taurus I Bass Pedal Synth
Later on, Yngwie started introducing some changes to his rack setup. These included:
– Korg DL8000R Delays (Mono/Stereo)
– TC Electronic G-Force Guitar Multi Effects Processor
– Roland DC-10 Analog Echo (switched for a DC-20 for most recent tours)
They are kept in the rack, and Yngwie uses foot controller (most recent the MasterMind MIDI Foot Controller) to switch them on and off. The only other pedals he has with him on stage are the Dunlop Cry Baby Wah, and Bass Synth (previously Moog Taurus I, now Roland PK-5).
He’s currently using the AKG SR4000 Wireless guitar system (previously used the Samson UR-5D) and AKG microphones.
Yngwie Malmsteen’s Guitar Strings:
– Fender Super Bullets (8, 11, 14, 24, 34, 46 or 48) – all guitars tuned half-step down
– Dean Markley Master Series – tuned half-step down
Yngwie Malmsteen’s Guitar Picks:
– Dunlop Delrin 1.5mm custom-made in white color.