Pick Like Yngwie

by Ben Higgins

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  • Hi and welcome to my new lesson. This time we are taking a look at the picking style of one of the most legendary guitarists of all time; Yngwie Malmsteen.

    Yngwie has long been lauded as a master of picking but, until recently, nobody had truly understood exactly what was going on. Most people just assumed it was alternate picking and wondered how they could never quite get their heads around the flowing runs that Yngwie does. Most alternate pickers will create a percussive and even sound, like Paul Gilbert, John Petrucci and Micahel Angelo Batio. You can clearly hear the pick striking every note and syncing with the fretting hand. But Yngwie's lines manage to cram in more notes than most picking runs that use alternate picking. His lines flow over the beat in a way that an alternate picked run just can't.

    The reason is that Yngwie uses a brilliant combination of alternate picking and legato for his descending runs and mostly economy picking for his ascending runs. This means that the pick is always in the optimum position for the string changes, wasting less energy and not slowing him down. The use of legato allows extra notes to be crammed in, giving that flowing, cascading sound that he's known for. We will look at this more closely as the lesson develops.

    As well as Yngwie's method of picking you'll get a chance to brush up one your:

    -Use / Knowledge of the Harmonic Minor Scale and the related Phrygian Dominant Mode

    Whether you use Yngwie's method in your own playing or not, learning to understand it may help you figure out how to combine legato and picking in a way that helps you move over the neck faster and with less effort.

    E A D G B E - Standard Tuning
    Marshall JVM 410H, OD1 Channel, Red setting.

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