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(Interview Conducted by Dale Turner on 12 December, 1999)

This internet-only lesson originally appeared on Guitar One magazine's web site as the second of three “shred lesson” installments run in conjunction with G1's March 2000 issue. (The lessons were removed from G1's server March 2002; I've been given the rights to reprint 'em here!) That issue included extensive interviews with three of shred's most prized pickers—Paul Gilbert, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Joe Satriani—and is still available as a back issue.

(Note: The interviews appearing in the magazine are totally different from the interview/lessons found on this site.)

(All MP3 examples were played on a guitar tuned down one half step.)


What are some of the things you remember practicing that really focused on developing your right hand?

Yngwie Malmsteen: Well, you know, here's the funny thing: I never did that. I never did that “practicing” thing, I just sorta played. And if I could play something legato [plays Fig. 1A]—that's without the right hand—I'd want to be able to play exactly the same thing with the right hand [plays Fig. 1B] and make it so it's completely coordinated and clean.

And I remember at some point I got kinda bored with guitar players that play like [plays Fig. 2A], so I thought up different variations, like this [plays Fig. 2B]. That's all on the E string. It's kind of a long stretch with your hand, but it's all on one string. You can do a lot of things like that [plays Fig. 2C]; the possibilities are endless.

But I don't think that I had any particular “practice” approach or anything like that. Sometimes I'd play through scales, and then I'd do the arpeggios after, different string skipping and all that stuff. But I never really had a particular thing—one or two, or different warm-ups, or anything like that. It was just “playing,” really. I know it's stupid, but it's true [laughs].

Wow. You must've just played a lot.

Yngwie: Yeah, exactly. I improvised all the time.

You're singlehandedly responsible for introducing a lot of classical motifs into the modern rock guitar vocabulary. Can we go over some of your trademark licks?

Yngwie: You mean, for instance, the arpeggios [plays Fig. 3A]? That's a trademark, two-octave A minor arpeggio. And you can actually add the [minor] 3rd, C (20th fret, 1st string), by tapping with your right hand [plays Fig. 3B].

I do something crazy like that on Alchemy, on a song called “Playing with Fire.”

On the subject of arpeggios, if you're playing in A minor and you're gonna do one of your diminished arpeggios over an E chord...

Yngwie: Yeah. You can do that a lot of different ways. It all depends on what effect you want. You can start off on G# or B, and it can go up like this, for instance [plays Fig. 4].

The diminished arpeggio is very dramatic.

Now how about...

Yngwie: Pedal tones, like Bach. You can either do a pedal on the E string like [plays Fig. 5A], then [plays Fig. 5B].

There are a lot of different things you can do using that approach [plays Fig. 5C].

And then, to finish it off, you can do a harmonic minor run [plays Fig. 6].

That stuff, it's all over Alchemy actually, the whole thing.

Like this YNGWIE MALMSTEEN Lesson? Well.....

TONS more of my 100% FREE ONLINE GUITAR LESSONS can be found on my PsYcHo LiCkS 101 Page:

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Learn riffs and licks in styles ranging from jazz and blues, to funk and full-blown shred! Or go gonzo on this page's picking/technique exercises! Also featured are numerous rhythm guitar lessons geared towards the multi-stylist! All w/MP3 & TAB.

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Used with kind permission

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