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Yngwie J. Malmsteen
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Yngwie J. Malmsteen

Yngwie J. Malmsteen (Lars Johann Yngwie Lannerbäck) (born June 30, 1963) is a guitarist from Sweden who achieved widespread acclaim in the 1980s due to his technical proficiency and fusion of classical music elements with heavy rock guitar.

Born into a musical family in Stockholm on June 30, 1963, Malmsteen was exposed to classical music from an early age, and began playing guitar at the age of nine. Malmsteen was in his teens when he first encountered the music of the 19th-century violin virtuoso Niccolo Paganini, whom he cites as his biggest classical influence. Through his emulation of these pieces on guitar, Malmsteen developed a prodigious technical fluency. Malmsteen also cites Jimi Hendrix, Genesis and Deep Purple as influences.

Yngwie's contributions to the evolution of modern rock guitar remain unique - his understanding of Paganini, Bach, et. al. is probably unparalleled in the rock world. Although initially regarded with respect by the musical fraternity, his technical proficiency led to a both jealousy and bitterness from less-talented performers in the musical world. His technical ability is,by any standard, remarkable.

Note that despite his impressive technique, some found Malmsteen's recordings repetitive or even boring.

Aside from technical prowess, distinctions of Malmsteen's guitar style include a wide, violin-like vibrato (inspired by classical violinists), exclusive use of Fender Stratocaster guitars, and use of minor scales and minor modes such as Phyrgian, Aeolian and Harmonic Minor. Malmsteen cites the Fender Stratocaster and the single coil pickups (of which he uses his own personal custom design by Di Marzio) as a large part of his sound. Additionaly, there Malmsteen signature model Stratocaster.

Table of contents
1 1980's
2 1990's
3 2000's
4 Criticism
5 Discography
6 External links


In late 1982 Malmsteen was brought to the USA by Mike Varney of Shrapnel Records who had heard a demo tape of Malmsteen's playing. After brief engagements with the bands Steeler For the 1983 released Steeler album. Then Alcatrazz, For their debut No Parole From Rock N' roll in 1983. Plus a live album in 1984 titled Live Sentence.

He was fired in 1984 and replaced by Steve Vai. He then began his solo career. in 1985, with Steve Vai, Alcatrazz released their 3rd album Disturbing the Peace.

Malmsteen released two solo albums, "Rising Force" (winner of Guitar Player Magazine's Best Rock Album and nominated for a 1984 Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental) which achieved the impressive position of #60 on the Billboard album chart, and the follow up, "Marching Out" (1985).

Followed by his 3rd album Trilogy in 1986. In 1987 former Rainbow vocalist Joe Lynn turner joined his band. The following summer he released his 4th album Odyssey.

Malmsteen's style was dubbed "Neoclassical" and it became somewhat popular during the mid 1980s, with notable contemporaries such as Paul Gilbert, Tony MacAlpine and Vinnie Moore appearing in Malmsteen's wake.


In the early 1990s he released the albums Eclipse (1990), The Yngwie Malmsteen Collection (1991) Fire and Ice (1992) and The Seventh Sign (1994).

The odyssey album would be his biggest hit album. Mainly because of it's first single "Heaven Tonight". Shows in Russia during the Odyssey tour were recorded. They'd be released imn 1989 as his 5th album Trial By Fire / Live In Leningrad.

Despite his early success and continued success in Europe and Asia, by the early 1990s, the gratuitous, over-the-top stylings of 1980s heavy metal had become unfashionable in the USA, perhaps unfortunately--for guitar fans--displaced by the Seattle grunge movement, where technical ability was replaced by catchy songs and basic chord progressions. It is ofetn argued that the grunge rock movement arose in part as a backlash to the overly technical hard rock inspired by Malmsteen and his contemporaries, which, despite its often impressive technique, was regarded by some as ponderous, masturbabtoy, or boring.

In the 1990s, Malmsteen continued to record and release albums under a Japanese record label: Pony Canyon, and maintained a devoted following in Europe and Japan, and to a lesser extent in the USA. In 2000, he once again acquired a contract with a US record label, Spitfire, and released his 90s catalog into the US market for the first time - including what he regards as his masterpiece, Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra, recorded with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in Prague. He recently partcipated in a tour with two other guitar virtuosos: Steve Vai and Joe Satriani.


In 2003, Malmsteen joined Joe Satriani and Steve Vai as part of the G3 "super-group" web site.


Malmsteen has been criticized for a musical style that focuses more on showing his own technical prowess than on substance.


External links