In a world of media-savvy, identikit rockstars, Yngwie Malmsteen is a glorious misfit, more likely to throw a curveball into an interview than a stock answer, while wearing what appears to be the contents of a 1970s gigolo’s wardrobe. And that’s not to mention his outstanding guitar playing.
This Swedish- born virtuoso spent a large part of the 1970s copping the licks of Deep Purple’s Ritchie Blackmore, another of his guitar heroes. The latter’s classical-influenced licks inspired Malmsteen to take the idea further, developing his own style, dubbed ‘neo-classical’
Yngwie’s stylistic pioneering was matched by an innovative approach to guitar design: the Swede had the fretboard of his Fender Stratocaster scalloped after seeing traditional stringed instruments with the same feature.
He took a similarly off-the-wall approach to playing advice when asked by MusicRadar's sister mag Total Guitar what a novice guitarist could do to play faster. His response: “Eat bananas.”
Malmsteen further endeared himself to humour-starved fans of guitar music when a recording of an incident onboard an aeroplane had Yngwie threaten to “Unleash the fury!” on a hapless flight attendant.
The attitude is all Yngwie, but here we look at two rigs - one budget, one blowout - that can help you get close to Malmsteen's tones…
Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster
BUDGET: This affordable Strat doesn’t offer a scalloped fretboard, but the chunky headstock is bang-on Mr Malmsteen.
Seymour Duncan YJM Fury STK-S10 Pickups
BUDGET: Upgrade your Squier’s pickups to those featured on Yngwie’s expensive Fender signature Strat.
BUDGET: Get in Yngwie’s ballpark (tone-wise) with this gig-able, affordable Marshall that comes loaded with effects.
Tesco 'Eat Me' Bananas (min 5 fruit)
BUDGET: Yngwie says that bananas are the best way to improve your guitar playing, and for just a quid, you can!
Total spend on budget rig: £626/$810.60*
(*approx. based on web prices).
Fender Yngwie Malmsteen Stratocaster
BLOWOUT: Yngwie’s signature Strat features that scalloped fretboard, a brass nut and a gorgeous Vintage White finish.
Marshall DSL100H amp and Marshall MX412B cab
BLOWOUT: This is the actual amp Yngwie uses these days.
For total authenticity, build a wall of them that “can be seen from outer space”, as Yngwie boasted of his own rig.
Argos 9Ct Gold-Plated Silver Solid Curb Bracelet
BLOWOUT: Nail that trademark Yngwie ‘jangle’ with this fine, gold-plated fashion disaster.
Total spend on blowout rig: £2,818/$2,999*
(*approx. based on web prices)