Yngwie Malmsteen

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Yngwie Malmsteen
Yngwie Malmsteen 1.jpg
Malmsteen in 2008
Background information
Birth nameLars Johan Yngve Lannerbäck
Also known as
  • Yngwie J. Malmsteen
  • Lars Y. Loudamp
Born (1963-06-30) 30 June 1963 (age 57)
Stockholm, Sweden
  • Guitarist
  • bandleader
  • producer
Years active1978–present
Associated acts
Website yngwiemalmsteen.com

Yngwie Johan Malmsteen ( /ˈɪŋvˈmɑːlmstn/ ; born Lars Johan Yngve Lannerbäck; 30 June 1963) is a Swedish guitarist, songwriter, composer, and bandleader. Malmsteen first became known in the 1980s for his neoclassical metal playing style in heavy metal, and has released 20 studio albums in a career spanning over 40 years. In 2009, Time magazine rated Malmsteen as number 9 among the 11 greatest electric guitar players of all time. [1]


Early life

Malmsteen was born Lars Johan Yngve Lannerbäck in Stockholm, Sweden, the third child of a musical family. [2] [3] At the age of ten Malmsteen created his first band, Track on Earth, consisting of himself and a friend from school playing the drums. At the age of twelve he took his mother's maiden name Malmsten as his surname, then slightly changed it to Malmsteen and altered his third given name Yngve to "Yngwie". [4] As a teenager he was heavily influenced by classical music, particularly 19th century Italian virtuoso violinist and composer Niccolò Paganini, as well as Johann Sebastian Bach, a German multi-instrumentalist and composer of the 18th century. [5] During this time, he also discovered his most important guitar influence, Ritchie Blackmore. Malmsteen has stated that Jimi Hendrix had no musical impact on him and did not contribute to his style, but watching on 18 September 1970 TV news reporting on his death, where footage was shown of Hendrix smashing and burning his guitar At the Monterey Pop Festival of 1967, made Malmsteen think, "This is really cool." [6]



In early 1982 (when Malmsteen was 18), Mike Varney of Shrapnel Records, who had heard a demo tape of Malmsteen's playing from the 1978 titled Demo Powerhouse, brought Malmsteen to the United States. He played briefly with the band Steeler on part of its 1983 self-titled album. He then appeared with Graham Bonnet in the band Alcatrazz, playing on its 1983 debut No Parole from Rock 'n' Roll and the 1984 live album Live Sentence . In 1984, Malmsteen released his first solo album Rising Force , which featured Barrie Barlow of Jethro Tull on drums and keyboard player Jens Johansson. His album was meant to be an instrumental side-project of Alcatrazz, but it ended up featuring vocals by Jeff Scott Soto 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 nominated for a Grammy for 'Best Rock Instrumental', reaching no. 60 on the Billboard album chart. Yngwie J. Malmsteen's Rising Force (as his band was thereafter known) next released Marching Out (1985). The band recruited Jens Johansson's brother Anders to play drums and bassist Marcel Jacob to record and tour with the band. Jacob left in the middle of a tour and was replaced by Wally Voss. Malmsteen's third album, Trilogy , featuring the vocals of Mark Boals (and Malmsteen on both guitar and bass), was released in 1986. In 1987, former Rainbow vocalist Joe Lynn Turner and bassist Bob Daisley joined the band. That year, Malmsteen was in a serious car accident, smashing his V12 Jaguar E-Type into a tree, which put him in a coma for a week. Nerve damage to his right hand was reported. During this time, Malmsteen's mother died from cancer. In April 1988, he released his fourth album Odyssey . Odyssey was his most successful album, in part due to the success of its first single "Heaven Tonight". Shows in the Soviet Union during the Odyssey tour were recorded and released in 1989 as a fifth album Trial by Fire: Live in Leningrad . The classic Rising Force lineup with Malmsteen and the Johansson brothers was dissolved in 1989 when Jens Johansson joined Dio and Anders joined Blue Murder.

Malmsteen's neoclassical style of metal became popular among some guitarists during the mid-1980s, with contemporaries, such as Jason Becker, Paul Gilbert and Vinnie Moore becoming prominent. 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 & Ice (1992) and The Seventh Sign (1994). Despite his early and continuous success in Europe and Asia, by the early 1990s heavy metal styles, such as neoclassical metal and shredding had gone out of fashion in the US.

In 1993, Malmsteen's future mother-in-law – who opposed his engagement to her daughter – had him arrested for allegedly holding her daughter hostage with a gun. The charges were later dropped. [7] Malmsteen continued to record and release albums under the Japanese record label Pony Canyon and maintained a devoted following with fans in Europe and Japan and to a lesser extent in the US. In 2000, he signed a contract with the US record label Spitfire and released his 1990s catalog on 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 in Prague.

In the latter half of the '90s, Malmsteen released the albums Magnum Opus (1995), Inspiration (1996), Facing the Animal (1997), Double Live! (1998) and Alchemy (1999). In 1996, Malmsteen joined forces with former band members Jeff Scott Soto and Marcel Jacob on the Human Clay album where he played lead guitar on the track "Jealousy". He guested with Saxon on the song Denim And Leather on their live album The Eagle Has Landed – Part II . Yngwie recorded the tracks "Enigma suite" and "All opposable thumbs" with his former band members Jens Johansson and Anders Johansson on their album Johansson/Sonic Winter.


Malmsteen in Barcelona Yngwie barcelona.jpg
Malmsteen in Barcelona

After the release of War to End All Wars in 2000, singer Mark Boals left the band. He was replaced by former Rainbow vocalist Doogie White, whose vocals were well received by fans. In 2003, Malmsteen joined Joe Satriani and Steve Vai as part of the G3 supergroup, a tour showcasing guitar performances. Malmsteen made two guest appearances on keyboardist Derek Sherinian's albums Black Utopia (2003), and Blood of the Snake (2006) where Malmsteen plays on the same tracks as Al Di Meola and Zakk Wylde. In 2004, Malmsteen made two cameo appearances on Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law. In 2005 Unleash the Fury was released through Spitfire Records. As stated in an issue of "Guitar World" magazine, he titled this album after an infamous 'airline incident', which occurred on a flight to Japan during a 1988 tour. He was drunk and behaving obnoxiously, until he fell asleep and was roused by a woman pouring a jug of iced water on him. Enraged, he shouted, "You've released the fucking fury!" The audio from this incident was caught on tape by a fellow band member. [8] Malmsteen says that the name of the album refers to both the energy of the album and the incident. The release of Unleash the Fury was followed by a DVD release of Concerto Suite For Electric Guitar And Orchestra in E Flat Minor, Op. 1 – With The New Japan Philharmonic Live. The DVD chronicles Malmsteen's first time playing in front of a live audience with an orchestra, an experience that he describes as "fun but also extremely scary".

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. [9] February 2008 saw the replacement of singer Doogie White with former Iced Earth and Judas Priest and current Beyond Fear singer Tim "Ripper" 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 4 October. On 25 November 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 Rock Band 2 and later Rock Band 3 .

In 2008, Malmsteen was a special guest on the VH1 Classic show "That Metal Show". On 10 March 2009, Malmsteen's label Rising Force had 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 No. 9 on its list of the 10 best electric guitar players of all-time. [10] Malmsteen recently released another album compilation entitled High Impact on 8 December 2009.


Yngwie Malmsteen performing in Gavle, Sweden, 7 July 2012 Yngwie Malmsteen performing i Gavle, Sweden, July 7th 2012.jpg
Yngwie Malmsteen performing in Gävle, Sweden, 7 July 2012

On 23 November 2010 Relentless was released, the second album to feature Tim "Ripper" Owens on vocals. The US version featured a remake of "Arpeggios From Hell" as a bonus track. Yngwie appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on 3 February 2011 to promote his album. On 6 August 2011, Malmsteen made another appearance in the United States, playing a rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner before a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium. [11] Although rarely seen in his native country of Sweden, Malmsteen played one gig there in 2012. On 7 July, he ended the Getaway Rock Festival in Gävle, which he was headlining with Nightwish and Manowar. On 5 December 2012, Malmsteen released the album Spellbound .

On 12 June 2014, Malmsteen kicked off his "Guitar Gods 2014 Tour" at the F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania alongside ex-Guns N' Roses guitarist Bumblefoot and guitarist Gary Hoey. [12] In February 2015, it was announced that Malmsteen was in the studio working on a new album. [13] In April and May 2016, Malmsteen was one of five guitarists featured on the Generation Axe tour.

In 2018, it was announced that Malmsteen had signed with Mascot Records, with a new studio album expected the following year. [14]

Personal life

Malmsteen was married to Swedish singer Erika Norberg (1991-1992) [15] and was subsequently married to Amber Dawn Landin (1993-1998). [16] Since 1999 he has been married to April Malmsteen, with whom he has a son named Antonio, after Antonio Vivaldi. The family now resides in Miami Shores, Florida. [17]

A Ferrari enthusiast, Malmsteen owned a black 1983 308 GTS for 24 years before selling it on eBay, [18] and a red 1962 250 GTO. [19]

In a 2005 issue of Guitar Player magazine, Malmsteen discussed his often-ridiculed behaviour, saying that, "I've probably made more mistakes than anybody. But I don't dwell on them. I don't expect people to understand me, because I'm pretty complex, and I think outside the box with everything I do. I've always taken the untraveled path. Obviously, people have their opinions, but I can't get too wrapped up in that, because I know what I can do and I know what kind of person I am. And I have no control over what anybody says about me. Back in Sweden I'm 'Mr Personality' in the tabloids, but obviously I can't take that seriously. I know in my heart that if I do the absolute best I can do, maybe ten years from now people may turn around and say 'he wasn't that bad'." [20]


Yngwie Malmsteen Signature Stratocaster

Maple fretboard YJM Stratocasters Vintagewhite.jpg
Maple fretboard YJM Stratocasters
Scalloped maple fretboard on a YJM Strat Scalloped fretboard.jpg
Scalloped maple fretboard on a YJM Strat
Yngwie Malmsteen Signature Stratocaster with rosewood fretboard Yngwie Malmsteen's electric guitar.jpg
Yngwie Malmsteen Signature Stratocaster with rosewood fretboard

Malmsteen has been a longtime user of Fender Stratocasters with DiMarzio HS3 single-coil pickups "for playing at blistering volume with no hum or screechiness". [21] His most famous Stratocaster is his 1972 blonde Stratocaster, nicknamed "The Duck" because of its yellow finish and the Donald Duck stickers on the headstock. An alternative nickname for this guitar is "Play Loud" due to a sticker that Anders Johansson put on the upper horn of the guitar in Rockshire studios in 1984. Fender made 100 replica copies of this guitar and marketed it as the "Play Loud Guitar". He also has a Fender Yngwie Malmsteen Signature Stratocaster since 1986. [22] It comes in a Vintage White finish with a maple neck, either a maple or rosewood fretboard with scalloped frets and, from 2010, Seymour Duncan STK-S10 YJM "Fury" Model pickups. There is also a signature YJM100 Marshall amplifier, based on the "1959" amplifier range.

Even though his signature amplifier is based on the 100 watt "1959" model, Malmsteen is most noted for preferring 50 watt "1987" model metal-faced Marshall amplifiers manufactured between 1972 and 1973. His speaker cabinets are always loaded with Celestion G12T-75 speakers. Another big part of his sound is his overdrive pedal, which he uses to push the front-end of the Marshalls. Most recently he is using a Fender Yngwie Malmsteen Overdrive, which is largely based on a vintage DOD Overdrive/Preamp 250 pedal which he used for many years. DOD made a (now discontinued) signature version of the DOD-250 for Malmsteen called the YJM-308 (named after a combination of his initials and the model number of one of his favorite Ferrari's). He has been known to use his overdrive pedals in the loop of a Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor. For clean tones he employs the use of a Boss CE-5 Chorus Ensemble, and uses a Korg DL8000R in his rack for delays. He often has a Dunlop JH-F1 Hendrix Fuzz Face on the stage-floor, but doesn't use it. Malmsteen claims that he likes seeing the Fuzz Face because it "looks like a land-mine".

Malmsteen has stated that he prefers the Stratocaster (from the period of 1968–1972); he claims that the bigger headstock on these generates more sustain.[ citation needed ] Malmsteen customizes his guitars by fitting a brass nut, removing the middle string tree, scalloping the fretboard, converting the neck from 3 to 4 bolt configuration (when necessary), installing Wilkinson springs on the tremolo, and refretting the neck with Dunlop 6000 fret wire. He previously disconnected the tone controls on his guitars but since Fender initiated the use of the "no load" potentiometer no longer does this. Malmsteen now uses his signature Seymour Duncan YJM Fury pickups. Before using the YJM's, he used DiMarzio pickups – most notably the HS3 model and the YJM (now known as HS4) model. Malmsteen would use an HS3 in the bridge and two YJMs in the middle and neck positions. The YJM/HS4 is simply a staggered magnet version of the HS3. In some early recordings, Malmsteen instead used the HS3 model in the neck and bridge positions and a disconnected stock Fender single-coil pickup in the middle. In even earlier recordings, Malmsteen was using DiMarzio FS-1 pickups.

Other guitars

Besides Stratocasters, Malmsteen has played and appeared in ads for non-Fender guitars (like Aria Pro II and Schecter in the early 1980s) and played non-Strat-shaped guitars (like Gibson Flying Vs), early in his career. Today, for acoustic and nylon string guitars, Malmsteen uses his signature Ovation YM68s.

Band members

Current members



YearTitleLabel US peak chart positions
1983 Steeler Shrapnel


Studio albums

YearTitleAlbum details US peak chart positions
1983 No Parole from Rock 'n' Roll Released: 15 October 1983
Label: Polydor

Live albums

YearTitle US peak chart positions
1984 Live Sentence 133
2010Live '83
No Parole from Rock 'n' Roll Tour Live in Japan 1984.1.28 Audio Tracks


  • Alcatrazz Live Sentence 1984 (released 2010)


Live albums

YearTitle US peak chart positions
2004 G3: Rockin' in the Free World



Studio albums

YearTitleAlbum detailsPeak chart positions
1984 Rising Force Released: November 1984
Label: Polydor
1985 Marching Out Released: 30 September 1985
Label: Polydor
1986 Trilogy Released: 4 November 1986
Label: Polydor
1988 Odyssey Released: 8 April 1988
Label: Polydor
1990 Eclipse Released: 20 April 1990
Label: Polydor
1992 Fire & Ice Released: 7 February 1992
Label: Elektra
1994 The Seventh Sign Released: 9 May 1994
Label: Pony Canyon
1995 Magnum Opus Released: 17 October 1995
Label: Pony Canyon
1996 Inspiration (cover album)Released: 14 October 1996
Label: Pony Canyon
1997 Facing the Animal Released: 23 February 1997
Label: Pony Canyon
1998 Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra Released: 30 June 1998
Label: Pony Canyon
1999 Alchemy Released: 23 November 1999
Label: Pony Canyon
2000 War to End All Wars Released: 7 November 2000
Label: Pony Canyon
2002 Attack!! Released: 15 October 2002
Label: Pony Canyon
2005 Unleash the Fury Released: 26 July 2005
Label: Universal Music
2008 Perpetual Flame Released: 13 October 2008
Label: Rising Force
2009 Angels of Love (instrumental album)Released: 10 March 2009
Label: Rising Force
2010 Relentless Released: 23 November 2010
Label: Rising Force
2012 Spellbound Released: 5 December 2012
Label: Rising Force
2016 World on Fire Released: 1 June 2016
Label: Rising Force
2019 Blue Lightning Released: 29 March 2019
Label: Rising Force

Live albums

YearAlbum detailsPeak chart positions
1989 Trial by Fire: Live in Leningrad 2012865
1998 Double Live 48
2002Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra in E flat minor LIVE with the New Japan Philharmonic
2014Spellbound Live in Tampa


YearAlbum detailsPeak chart positions
1991 The Yngwie Malmsteen Collection
2000 Yngwie J. Malmsteen : The Best of '90–'99
2000Anthology 1994-1999
2001Yngwie Malmsteen Archives
2002 The Genesis 94
2004Instrumental Best Album
2009 High Impact


1994 I Can't Wait Released: 21 October 1994
Label: Pony Canyon


  • Rising Force: Live '85 (1985)
  • Trial by Fire: Live in Leningrad '89 (1989)
  • Instructional Video (1991)
  • Collection (1992)
  • Leo Fender Benefit Live (1993)
  • Live at Budokan (1994)
  • Play Loud! [3 Videos] (1995)
    1. The Basics
    2. Arpeggios
    3. Classical Stylings
  • Live!! (1998)
  • Play Loud! "Full Shred" (2000)
  • Yngwie Malmsteen Video Clips (2000)
  • Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar & Orchestra (2005)
  • Far Beyond The Sun (2007)
  • Live in the Budokan (2009)
  • Live Animal (2009)
  • Live in Korea (2009)
  • Raw Live (2010)
  • Spellbound Live in Orlando (2014)

Music Videos

  • I'll See The Light Tonight (1985)
  • You Don't Remember, I'll Never Forget (1986)
  • Heaven Tonight (1988)
  • Making Love (1990)
  • Save Our Love (1990)
  • Bedroom Eyes (1990)
  • Teaser (1992)
  • Forever One (1994)
  • The Only One (1995)
  • No Love Lost (1995)
  • Carry On Wayward Son (Kansas Cover) (1996)
  • Alone In Paradise (1997)
  • Like An Angel-For April (1997)
  • Hanger 18, Area 51 (1999)
  • Crucify (2000)

See also

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