Early Yngwie - can anybody play it?

Yngwie can’t play like this anymore either, so I wouldn’t give anyone else a hard time about it :wink:


Yes I and lots of other folks can play this stuff now. (Yay.) And more importantly so can you! These lines are not completely picked. Instead, they are a mix of picking, sweeping, and legato that follow very specific rules as @tommo is pointing out, which require a specific number of notes on certain strings where picking is used.

The initial rules are laid out here:

And the followup covering sweeping, is here:

I recommend watching the whole of both episodes to get your mind around how the system works. But in the second link I’ve queued up the episode right to the part where we show these type of turnaround phrases work when Yngwie does them.


Spooky_tom - they should be cued up to start at the licks I am discussing - tried to anyway!

well I have to admit to that as well!! haha I have been playing a long time and I am in that category too. Imagine setting such a high standard in your early 20’s? :smile:

Thanks Troy for the response!

It’s interesting your playing of that lick sounds more like Alcatrazz Yngwie than Yngwie does during the lesson you have selected!
Great playing!

For the longest time I have assumed it was all alt picking, and I can actually play the lick somewhat cleanly using alternate picking. but it doesn’t sound the same. So that would go to what you are explaining that it is combo of techniques being used.

To be honest, economy picking does my head in! Having alternate picked for YEARS, pushing through the string to start the next string on a downstroke feels beyond weird.

I will play around with it focusing on just one rule - start the new string on a downstoke and see if I can get closer.

I would add this also explains why there is no youtubers (that I have seen) that have got these turnaround licks down.
Most are alt picking it to varying degrees of accuracy. And it doesn’t sound right.

Thanks again!

Probably more to do with not a lot of accurate tabs/transcriptions being out there. Alcatrazz is among the most criminally underrated metal acts. I’ve rarely encountered someone who isn’t an Yngwie or Vai aficionado that’s even heard of them. There continues to be a pervasive myth that Yngwie “picks every note.”
One of my first purchases upon becoming infatuated with “shred” was the Hal Leonard Yngwie Malmsteen collection. After viewing the CTC material on Yngwie I can attest that most runs in that book while the notes tend to be correct are completely wrong whether it be position or string, lots of three notes per string descending all picked runs in that book.


I bought into that myth for years. It really wasn’t until I saw Troy break it down that I realized it was a mixture. Same with Eric Johnson. Now I can’t believe I ever thought they were picking everything. It’s like I had cotton balls in my ears or something…and CtC helped me take them out my ears :slight_smile:

This reminds me of another thread I came across on here: How Do You Make Shred Passages More Musical?

Both EJ and Yngwie are what I’d consider to be among the more musical shredders. There’s more to it than this, but I think one of the ingredients may be the blend of articulation. As much as I love hearing something cleanly alternate picked at a break-neck speed…sometimes it really just sounds better to throw in a couple slurs here and there–intentional, or not.


The rule is not “start new strings on a downstroke“. It’s finishing the current string on an upstroke. The reason is the escape: only upstrokes escape so all strings where you are picking have to end on an upstroke. So there are times when a new string will start on an upstroke to make sure the last note is also an upstroke. The three-string arpeggio pattern works this way. The middle string is an upstroke.

One exception is that a string can also end on a legato note, even if the note before that was a downstroke. This gives you more time lift the pick to get to the next string. This is how his version of descending fours works when played in position across the strings.


I’m glad we were able to shed some light on this stuff. But honestly 99% of EJ’s line are all picked. Pretty much everything he plays is that that fives pattern and it’s totally picked. There is sweeping in there of course and maybe this is what you’re referring to. Meaning that one sweep alters the timing a little so it’s not as regular.

This is probably one of the reasons why Bonassa’s stuff still sounds a little more shreddy than EJ’s, since he’s more of a pure alternate guy and does less or very little of the economy stuff.


Yes but that 1% that is not sounds so awesome lol!

That little pinky slide he does from the 20th to 19th fret on the high e string is so nice.

Also the monster cascading run here:

Some of that is legato…at least I think! That’s one of my favorite EJ runs. I would have loved to have seen that broken down in the EJ seminar. I guess I have enough pieces of the puzzle from the other clues you gave us to figure out what’s going on there. There are still times where I doubt what I hear though and would benefit from your expert interpretation.


Sure, both Eric and Yngwie will occasionally simply not pick notes for artistic effect, including just doing the legato version of an entire phrase that they might also do picked. But that’s not something we’ve really spent a ton of time talking about. So unfortunately I can’t really take any credit for that - you didn’t learn that from us!

Any time that sort of thing happens, it’s very hard to suss out without video. So for your Trademark thing, especially because it’s in a full mix, there’s really no way I can know which notes are picked or not.

However it should be pretty easy to do your own arrangement of that which sounds very close. Just put the YT player in 25% speed and write down all the pitches you hear in your tab program, like GP. Then just try different frettings until you get something that’s playable by the “rules”. Finally, choose to “not pick” however many notes you like, until it sounds appropriately smooth to you.

Short of video, that’s how I’d do it.


Thanks man, that’s exactly what I’d been doing. I think I’ve got it. And even in the full mix I’m pretty sure I hear slurs at certain spots. Could be my imagination of course!


This at least sounds like what I think I hear as the ‘slippery’ parts in his playing, and it lets me do all the string changes landing on a down stroke after an escaped upstroke. Albeit, there a couple of repeated downstrokes here and there, but the slurs make this not a problem and don’t seem to slow me down at all.

Anyway, I’ve said it before but I can’t thank you and your team enough for everything you’ve done. You’re providing the best guitar instruction (in the context of lead guitar technique) that I’ve seen.

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Nice work on this! It looks very Eric-y. You should Soundslice that for the greater good, I’m sure people would dig it.


Thanks! Full transparency, I don’t know the soundslice UI yet. I tried it once and got a little frustrated with the note entry lol! This is embarrassing on 2 points

  • In college my major was music theory and composition, so I’ve spent literally hundreds of hours in a music notation editor (Finale)
  • After failing at making a career in music I got into application programming so that’s my day job…figuring out an EXTREMELY well engineered application like Soundslice should really be no big deal for me haha!

So yeah, I’ll learn it one of these days and I’ll put this and some of the other licks I’ve been copping as of late in there. As you say, for the greater good. I honestly hadn’t even been playing much the past 4 years after having a kid and working tons of overtime. Joining CtC via a Masters in Mechanics membership a few months ago got me back into it. I’ve been playing every day again. The progress I’ve made has been unbelievable (for me). I’m still tying up lots of loose ends since I’m busy un-learning 25+ years of inefficient habits, but now I can tackle stuff that vexed me for decades.

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Excellent. What kind of programming do you do? They did a great job with Soundslice. Site is blazing fast, all from scratch in Python. Adrian who runs Soundslice is also the creator of the Django Python library.

You can upload Guitar Pro files right into Soundslice, no need to use the editor. We don’t. Once it’s uploaded you just click “edit” and then click the “sync” button and add syncpoints to pin the bar lines in the video to the notation until they lock up. It’s pretty cool.


I’ve been thrown around a lot in my career. I’m pretty good at picking up technologies quickly, so my bosses would shift me from web apps, to embedded systems, to desktop, to big data (hadoop), then back to web haha. My sweet spot is web apps in .Net and anything javascript (been using VueJs a lot lately and dig it) and all things SQL too. I’m decent at php, but it is not my forte. I’ve only done a little Python, thought it was cool but never got on any other projects that used it.

The bulk of my career has been integrating a ticketing system called Tessitura (they are not as big as ticketmaster, but as close a competitor as possible) into performing arts websites. People always say “oh it’s so good you can still do something with music” and I laugh because what I do has nothing to do with music haha. At least I’m helping the arts out though.

And yes about Adrian! I saw a video of you on youtube showing how to work with Soundslice when viewing all the videos you guys have. When I hear you name-drop him I was like “What???” I never knew he was guitar player. Cool stuff!

And sorry, I’m showing very bad etiquette and hijacking @Interestedoz post :frowning: sorry man! I’ll start my own thread somewhere else once I get setup to upload some decent tabs.

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You can customize shortcuts in the Soundslice editor. I recommend taking some time to review the modifiers for note subdivision (quarter/eighth/16th notes) etc.

Having a numpad on the keyboard is a big time saver! I can input tab pretty quick, it looks like I’m an accountant lol.


Ok so making some progress. Surprised once I got over the weirdness of starting the new string with a downstroke how quickly I could start to adjust. I have been alternate picking for years so not a noob. So you can adjust quickly.

I still need to polish though - particularly getting the first 3 notes before the jump to the high E.
It is very easy to play the 12-14-16 accidentally as “pick (down)-hammer-hammer” as you get ready for the down stroke on the high E (12th) as opposed to “pick (down)- pick (up)- pick (down)” then high E 12th pick (down)
Recapping this is the lick I am working on:

Then the next part is working out where Yngwie used legato through the turnarounds in this lick! Oh dear LOL. I was trying to follow what Troy was telling me about the escape strokes - but am a bit lost trying to apply it to this turn around.

Anyway thanks all for the input. Have got a lot out of this thread.

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We’ve covered the descending fours topic extensively here:

If you can’t swing a membership consider a scholarship!


Thanks for the encouragement Troy! To be honest I am actually a LOT further away from this than I had thought. LOL I am still plugging slowly away at this lick you put up:

Turns out there is a lot going on here. To change from alternate picking to economy to match what Yngwie does (and you demonstrate) is going to require changing my whole picking mechanic.

(a) The first thing is getting used to pushing through to play a downstroke on the high E.
But the much more difficult aspect is
(b) getting used to playing the accent of the first note of the second set of fours with an upstroke.

Despite what many many many transcriptions write - these turnaround licks are played as quadruplets not as triplets. People might say that is obvious - but I’m not sure it actually is given by how many people (including me) get it wrong.

You nail it. You play:

I have bolded the accent - which is of course an upstroke.
When I alternate pick I can play them as quadruplets because the accent is on a downstroke - which is of course WAY easier than playing it with an upstroke. But it doesn’t sound like Yngwie.

I believe this is why there are virtually no examples of anyone playing the turnaround Alcatrazz licks as Yngwie does (except yourself demonstrated above) because of the difficulty of the phrasing.

This is probably old news to a lot of the people here - but I am fascinated by the enormity of the challenge of playing these licks as Yngwie did in the Alcatrazz era.

It reminds me of when I first started trying to learn the Paul Gilbert lick!

I may not be following totally, but I think you may be overthinking this. The number one thing, and the very first step you need to take, to play any Yngwie phrase is to establish an upstroke escape (USX) picking motion. It doesn’t matter which joints you use to do this. Wrist and wrist-forearm are the most common. But the number one thing is that the pick must move in such a way that upstrokes escape.

Once you can do fast, fluid USX motion, everything else will click into place. Adding in pulloffs and downstroke sweeps are the other two ingredients. But again, I stress, the core step is USX motion. If you don’t have that USX motion, and you’re doing some other kind of motion, these lines won’t flow.

If you’d like to link to a clip of you’re playing, we’d be happy to take a look. Put that up in a Technique Critique thread and we’ll get on it!