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Yngwie Johann Malmsteen ( , in English) (born Lars Johan Yngve Lannerbäck on June 30, 1963) is a Swedishmarker guitarist, composer, multi-instrumentalist and bandleader. Malmsteen became notable in the mid-1980s for his technical fluency and neo-classical metal compositions, often incorporating high speed picking with harmonic minor scales, diminished scales and sweep picked arpeggios. Four of his albums, from 1984 to 1988, Rising Force, Marching Out, Trilogy, and Odyssey, ranked in the top 100 for sales.

Early life

Malmsteen was born in Stockholmmarker, Swedenmarker, as the third child of a musically-inclined family. At age seven, he saw a television news report on the death of Jimi Hendrix, an event which had a profound impact on his musical path. To quote his official website, "The day Jimi Hendrix died, the guitar-playing Malmsteen was born". At the age of 10 he took his mother's maiden name Malmsten as his surname, slightly changed it to Malmsteen, and Anglicised his given name Yngve to "Yngwie". Yngwie also created his first band "Track On Earth" at the age of 10, consisting of himself and a friend from school on drums. Malmsteen was a teenager when he first encountered the music of the 19th century violin virtuoso Niccolò Paganini, whom he cites as his biggest classical music influence.

Through his emulation of Paganini concerto pieces on guitar, Malmsteen developed a prodigious technical fluency. Malmsteen's guitar style includes a wide, violin-like vibrato inspired by classical violinists, and use of such minor scales as the Harmonic minor, and minor modes such as Phrygian, and Aeolian. Malmsteen also cites Brian May of Queen, Steve Hackett of Genesis, Uli Jon Roth, Alex Lifeson of Rush, and Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple as influences.


In late 1982 Malmsteen was brought to the U.S.marker by Mike Varney of Shrapnel Records, who had heard a demo tape of Malmsteen's playing. He had brief engagements with Steeler, for their self-titled album of 1983, then Graham Bonnet's Alcatrazz, for their 1983 debut No Parole from Rock 'n' Roll, and the 1984 live album Live Sentence. Malmsteen released his first solo album Rising Force in 1984, which featured Barrie Barlow of Jethro Tull on drums. His album was really meant to be an instrumental side-project of Alcatrazz, but it contained vocals, and Malmsteen left Alcatrazz soon after the release of Rising Force.

Rising Force won the Guitar Player Magazine's award for Best Rock Album and was also nominated for a Grammy for 'Best Rock Instrumental', achieving #60 on the Billboard album chart. Yngwie J. Malmsteen's Rising Force (as his band was thereafter known) next released Marching Out (1985). Jeff Scott Soto filled vocal duties on these initial albums.His third album, Trilogy, featuring the vocals of Mark Boals, was released in 1986. In 1987, another singer, former Rainbow vocalist Joe Lynn Turner joined his band.That year, Malmsteen was in a serious car accident, smashing his Jaguar E-Type into a tree and putting him in a coma for a week. Nerve damage to his right hand was reported. During his time in the hospital, Malmsteen's mother died from cancer. In the summer of 1988 he released his fourth album, Odyssey. Odyssey would be his biggest hit album, mainly because of its first single "Heaven Tonight". Shows in Russia during the Odyssey tour were recorded, and released in 1989 as his fifth album Trial By Fire: Live in Leningrad.

Malmsteen's "Neo-classical" style of metal became widely popular among guitarists during the mid 1980s, with contemporaries such as Jason Becker, Paul Gilbert, Marty Friedman, Tony MacAlpine and Vinnie Moore becoming prominent. MacAlpine came to the neoclassical/shred field by applying his classical piano training to his guitar playing and Moore arrived at a similar style because he shared Malmsteen's major influences. In late 1988, Malmsteen's signature Fender Stratocaster guitar was released, making him and Eric Clapton the first artists to be honored by Fender.


In the early 1990s Malmsteen released the albums Eclipse (1990), The Yngwie Malmsteen Collection (1991), Fire and Ice (1992) and The Seventh Sign (1994). Despite his early success, and continuous success in Europe and Asia, by the early 1990s 1980s heavy metal styles such as neoclassical metal and lengthy, virtuoso shred guitar solos had become unfashionable in the US. In 1993, Malmsteen's mother-in-law, who was opposed to his engagement with her daughter, had him arrested for threatening her with a shotgun and holding her daughter against her will . The charges against Malmsteen were dropped when he denied the incident.

Malmsteen continued to record and release albums under the Japanese record label Pony Canyon, and maintained a devoted following from some fans 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 1990s 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 Praguemarker.


Malmsteen in Barcelona
After the release of War to End All Wars in 2000, singer Mark Boals left the band. Malmsteen went on tour with former Ark vocalist Jorn Lande. Due to various tensions on tour, Jorn left before the recording of Malmsteen's next album, Attack!!. He was replaced by former Rainbow vocalist Doogie White. White's vocals were well received by fans. In 2003, Malmsteen joined Joe Satriani and Steve Vai as part of the G3 supergroup. Malmsteen made two guest appearances on keyboardist Derek Sherinian's albums Black Utopia (2003), and Blood of the Snake (2006) where Malmsteen is heard on the same tracks as Al Di Meola and Zakk Wylde. In 2004, Malmsteen made two cameo appearances on Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law- possibly alluded to his status as a guitarist.

Malmsteen released Unleash the Fury in 2005. (This title may be a reference to an audio recording that supposedly captured Malmsteen's immoderate response to a flight attendant who spilled a beverage on him. The recording found popularity in filesharing networks as an example of the absurd behavior of celebrities.) He is married to April and has a son named Antonio after Antonio Vivaldi, and they live in Miami, Floridamarker. A noted Ferrari enthusiast, he owned a black 1985 308 GTS for 18 years before selling it on eBay, and a red 1962 250 GTO. In the mid-2000s, he gave up smoking and drinking alcohol (date: April 2007).

In 2007, Malmsteen was honored in the Xbox 360 version of Guitar Hero II. Players can receive the "Yngwie Malmsteen" award by hitting 1000 or more notes in succession. February 2008 saw the replacement of singer Doogie White with former Iced Earth and Judas Priest and current Beyond Fear singer Tim Owens, with whom Malmsteen had once recorded a cover of Ozzy Osbourne's song "Mr. Crowley", for the 2000 Osbourne tribute album Bat Head Soup: A Tribute to Ozzy. The first Malmsteen album to feature Owens is titled Perpetual Flame and was released on October 14. On November 25, 2008, Malmsteen had three of his songs ("Caprici Di Diablo", "Damnation Game", and "Red Devil") released as downloadable content for the video games Rock Band and Rock Band 2.In 2008 Malmsteen was a special guest on the VH1 Classic show "That Metal Show".In the 10th of March 2009, Malmsteen's label Rising Force has launched his new release Angels of Love, an instrumental album which features acoustic arrangements of some of his best-known ballads.

In August, 2009, Time Magazine named Malmsteen #9 on its list of the 10 best electric guitar players of all-time.

Malmsteen is set to release another album compilation entitled High Impact in December 2009.

Technique and style

Malmsteen is best known for the Neo-classical style of playing this stlye is very unique He favors the harmonic minor scales, particularly a harmonic minor, b harmonic minor and e harmonic minor. he often uses diminished arppegios and phrygian scales and draws an influence from Bach and Beetoven.


Malmsteen uses Fender Stratocaster, especially vintage instruments from 1968 through 1972. His Strats tend to feature scalloped fingerboards. In the 1980s Malmsteen briefly used Schecter Guitars, who built him Stratocaster-style guitars similar to his Fenders. One particular guitar of his, nicknamed the "The Duck" has been used since the start of his career and is the instrument that he has been most photographed with.

For his acoustic sets, Malmsteen uses a nylon strung electro-acoustic black or white Ovation Viper. Prior to the Ovations, Malmsteen used Aria, Alvarez and Gibson classical acoustics on stage. Malmsteen regularly performs onstage with a Dean Markley custom light top, heavy bottom string gauge ranging from .008 through .048 gauge. Malmsteen's picks are Jim Dunlop Delrin 1.5 white.
Malmsteen uses vintage Marshall amplifiers (esp. 1972 Marshall MK II 50-watt heads) for his live performances, connected to vintage 4x12 cabinets with Celestion G12T-75 (75 watt) speakers. His effect pedals include a Dunlop Cry Baby, DOD 250 and YJM308 Overdrive Preamp, BOSS NS-2 Noise Suppressor (which he claims has "saved his life, many times), BOSS CH-1 Super Chorus, BOSS PS-5 Super Shifter, and Roland DC-10 Echo.

Band members

Current members



Date of Release Title Label Chart positions US sales
1983 Steeler Shrapnel


Date of Release Title Label Chart positions US sales
1984 No Parole from Rock N' Roll Polydor
1984 Live Sentence Polydor


Year Album Publisher Chart positions US sales
1984 Rising Force Polydor 60
October 1985 Marching Out Polydor 54
1986 Trilogy Polydor 44
March, 1988 Odyssey Polydor 40
October, 1989 Trial By Fire: Live in Leningrad Polydor 128
1990 Eclipse Polydor 112
November, 1991 The Yngwie Malmsteen Collection Polydor
1992 Fire and Ice Elektra 121
February 18, 1994 The Seventh Sign Pony Canyon
September 21, 1994 Power And Glory Pony Canyon
October 21, 1994 I Can't Wait Pony Canyon
June 6, 1995 Magnum Opus Pony Canyon
November 5, 1996 Inspiration Pony Canyon
September 3, 1997 Facing the Animal Pony Canyon
February 4, 1998 Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra in E flat minor, Opus 1 Pony Canyon
September 18, 1998 Double LIVE! Pony Canyon
September 17, 1999 Alchemy Pony Canyon
March 15, 2000 Anthology 1994-1999 Pony Canyon
April 25, 2000 The young person's guide to the classic.1 Pony Canyon
April 25, 2000 The young person's guide to the classic.2 Pony Canyon
May 9, 2000 The Best Of: 1990-1999 Dream Catcher
November 22, 2000 War to End All Wars Pony Canyon
January 9, 2002 Concerto Suite LIVE With the New Japan Philharmonic Pony Canyon
September 4, 2002 [[Attack Attack ]] Pony Canyon
December 30, 2002 The Genesis Pony Canyon
January 1, 2004 Oujya Ressou - Instrumental Best Album Pony Canyon
March 10, 2004 G3: Rockin' in the Free World Epic
February 23, 2005 Unleash the Fury Universal Music
October 14, 2008 Perpetual Flame Rising Force Records
March 10, 2009 Angels of Love Rising Force Records
December 8, 2009 High Impact Rising Force Records

See also


External links

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