Yngwie Malmsteen is a prolific Swedish guitarist, and multi-instrumentalist. In the 1980s he gained fame for his neoclassical style of heavy metal which combined elements of classical music with modern heavy metal. Malmsteen released his first solo album, Rising Force, in 1984 which received immense praise for Malmsteen’s virtuosity and shredding abilities. The album performed well in global charts. In 2009, Guitar World magazine listed the album as one of the top-ten shred albums of all time. His next two solo albums, Marching Out and Trilogy, were released in 1985 and 1986 respectively. However, in 1987, Malmsteen was involved in a car accident which put him in a coma and it was not until 1988 in which he was able to release his fourth album, Odyssey, which many believe to be his best piece of work. As a period with heavy popularity in metal music, Yngwie influenced many other prolific metal guitarists in the 1980s.
In the 1990s, the popularity of heavy metal music was in decline, especially in the US. Malmsteen still enjoyed success in Europe and Japan, and released a new album each year, except for 1993. The year 2000 marked a new era for Malmsteen, following the departure of vocalist Mark Boals, with the replacement being Doogie White, bringing a new sound to the band’s work. Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, two prolific guitarists, invited Malmsteen to tour in their G3 group in the year 2003, which marked a point in time where Malmsteen’s achievements as a guitarist were recognized worldwide. In 2008, Doogie White was replaced by Tim Owens of Beyond Fear. Since then, he is still working on many new albums, usually releasing one every few years. His most recent work is YJM Rising Force’s ninth album (and his nineteenth overall) ‘Spellbound’ (2012). Malmsteen is working on a new album since February 2015.
Malmsteen is almost always seen with his own Fender Stratocaster. He often customizes them to his needs, by removing the string tree in the middle and installing a brass nut. He uses signature Seymour Duncan pickups, although much of his earlier work was recorded using DiMarzio HS4 pickups.
Malmsteen’s behaviour is often eccentric, and in the relatively laid back Sweden he made a name for himself as Mr Personality in the tabloids. He was a heavy drinker during his years of peak popularity, a car enthusiast and also a fan of cruisers with custom motorcycle stereo systems. Malmsteen himself recognizes his complex behavior and attributes some of his success to his atypical thinking. A fan of Ferraris, he owned a black 308GTS until replacing it with a 1962 250GTO.