The Yngwie Malmsteen Strat


#1

Anyone who’s owns this guitar I would appreciate your advice…

I’m seriously considering getting one in the new year…

I play 10g… never played a scalloped neck…
Are the pickups powerful enough for a lifelong HB user…

Let me know your thoughts.


#2

I love them. Scalloped necks makes very easy to grab the strings for bendings.

On the other hand, mine is an old one with Dimarzio HS3 pickups. Very low output, but they sound really great.

I haven´t tried Seymour Duncan Fury pickups.


#3

dont own one but id love to.

I know he used to use Dimarzio HS3 pickups and that was his classic sound. He says they were very quiet pickups but very weak

The newer Seymour Duncan YJM fury pickups are probably considerably hotter

most people seem to be able to make the guitar sound really good lol


#4

our boy. This was 2011 so these are probably the older Dimarzio pickups?


#5

I have one and love it, it’s my go-to guitar really since I bought it (I have several others which are as good or better technically but there’s just something about it, really fits my hand well).

A couple of caveats - I’ve long used jumbo frets so adjusting to scalloped neck (and HUGE frets :slight_smile: )
wasn’t a big change for me although it did feel weird at first. Now I can jump between the YJM and a guitar with small frets like a Gibson Explorer (or a Cello which has none :slight_smile: ) without issues.

One thing I didn’t like though - the high E is -really- close to the edge of the neck. It bugged me so much I ended up replacing the bridge with a Callaham one, not a cheap fix but it made the string spacing similar to most of my other guitars and mostly resolved that issue. Seems silly to me to have a modern width neck with a vintage spacing bridge but that’s how it came. I really couldn’t deal with pulling the high e off the edge of the neck all the time unless I was super careful with it.

I love the pickups by the way, are they 100% the ‘classic Yngwie tone’ ? I honestly don’t know, but they are quiet, have decent output and still sound pretty ‘stratty’ to me. I’ve tried loads of variations of ‘noiseless single coils’ over the years and to me they are the best compromise I’ve heard. They don’t have the harshness of active EMGs, the woolliness of Lace Sensors or the blandness of the Fender Noiseless IMO :slight_smile:


#6

I would REALLY recommend playing a guitar with a scalloped neck before you buy one, especially as the YJM isn’t exactly a cheap strat. It’s a very different feeling guitar, if you’ve never played a scalloped neck - you feel like your fingers are kind of floating on the strings, even if you’re used to jumbo frets. Chording feels weird, and I guess even scale runs feel kinda weird when push comes to shove, though not really all that bad. You can definitely tell where Yngwie gets his wide vibrato, lol. You may very well like it, but I wouldn’t buy one sight unseen.

As far a singlecoils, I’m not familiar with the YJM ones, but reasonably hot singlecoils just distort differently than humbuckers. You may need to nudge the gain up a hair (though honestly I’ve found on my Strat, with a reasonably hot Suhr ML Standard singlecoil set in them, it actually has a sweet spot lower than some of my humbucker guitars), but they tend to have a much less compressed response than humbuckers, so you get this great explosive attack under gain. Again, the best way to find out is to take your amp with you to a shop (or plug into something very similar) and compare your main guitar to either a YJM strat or something else with hot singlecoils in it, and see what you think.

Both of these are pretty major changes, singlecoils vs humbuckers and scalloped vs standard, so I’d find a way to try one, even if that involves a long drive. I’ll say this - my “main” guitar is a H-H Suhr seven string… But my favorite guitar, the one I’ll take to the grave with me, is a Strat with heavy frets. A really good Strat is a thing of beauty, for lead lines - it’s an incredibly vocal sounding guitar.

(Another thing you might want to try - Warmoth offers scalloping as an option, so if you already have a superstrat of sorts you could put a Fender or Fender-compatible neck on, you could order a Fender-headstock scalloped Warmoth neck for a couple hundred, and if you like it, just grab a body and the rest of the parts you’d need, and build your own. Or, just sell the neck and take a modest loss on just the neck in return for knowing you’ll like scallops)


#7

My brother used to have one but that was when I stopped playing the guitar. Now I have an american stratocaster special loaded with Seymour Duncan YGMs which I rotate between my Ibanez, LP, Schecters and Charvels. The top end on the YGMs is very very bright and sharp but not shrill so I guess that’s a good point. Now that I’m playing it through a BOSS Katana 100W Head, the top end is even more prominent and really cuts through the mix. Definitely needs some eq’ing.

I love the YGM Strat too, which brings me to a question, is it possible to replace those frets on a scalloped neck with Stainless Steel jumbo frets?


#8

Yes… but replacing frets on a scalloped neck is pretty delicate work, and you’ll need to find a tech willing to work with stainless (mine doesn’t, unfortunately, but is good enough - and uses a high enough grade nickel steel - that I don’t mind). It also won’t be cheap.


#9

I tried the YJM set on a strat the sound very clean and articulate, but lack punch. I didn’t liked them for palm muting too much. It was my brother’s pickups set, he liked them but wanted to sell them later.
I prefer Duncan Distortion, 59/Custom, Jason Becker Model, Nazgul, DiMarzios ( Evolutions, Deactivators, Steve’s Special)

Malmsteen said on interview he like his pickups not having too much output because, well he has stacks of Marshalls behind him so gain is not an issue


#10

Singlecoils don’t really chug or punch in the same way as a humbucker, though, you know? they’re not supposed to.


#11

I couldn’t deal with the high e hanging right at the edge of the neck, I had that with a Kramer pacer and it was really annoying.

I wonder if that is standard on all ym strats, because that is insane to have to drop $1500 and have the bridge reworked


#12

Seems to be a long standing issue with this model and a few other Fenders https://www.harmonycentral.com/forum/forum/guitar/acapella-28/1498772-/page2

Honestly though I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a guitar that was ‘perfect’ out of the box. Pickups, or re-fretting etc are often needed IMO, so I don’t care too much that I had to replace the bridge. I knew about it before getting it so was prepared for it. For me now with the Callaham bridge it’s a monster guitar and I play it more than any other I own (including a PRS and Ibanez Universe etc) so totally worth it. Oh - and it stays in tune like crazy when using the trem. Must be a combination of the Callaham and brass nut I guess… great stability for a non-locking system.


#13

brand new the guitar is near $1800, no way I’m dropping more $$ to replace the bridge that’s bs, imo. I’ve upgrades many of my guitars, but on my new Ibanez rg premium the guitar was perfect, outside of my standard 10g setup.

Thanks for the info everyone. I’ll pass on the malmsteen strat…


#14

All of my guitars have scalloped necks, and they come (with one exception) from Warmoth, where you can get such necks for your existing guitar.

A scalloped neck is a mixed blessing: You can bend strings very easily (no friction against the fretboard, because you can’t reach it), but the downside is that complex chords will go out of tune, because your fingers aren’t able to touch the fretboard to stay in place. So, depending on what you want to play, they might be good or evil.


#15

Warmoth also has a half-scallop (I don’t have that), and the theory there is that chords will happen on the lower half of the neck where your fingers can get friction, but not on the upper half, where you would presumably bend the strings more, I’m not sure.


#16

Of course you can, but why bother? If the frets ever wear out, replace them with whatever you want; but until then, what’s the hurry?


#17

also buying an American strat or a made in Mexico one and customizing it can be a great option. Changing pickguards and pickups on a Strat is real fun.
It can be YOUR Strat. Like no one else’s.
For way less money


#18

It all started with my first guitar, a 1989 Sammick Stratocaster. It’s frets wear off before I really learned how to play because I was bending on it so much.

I have fret wear phobia since then… never seems to go away.


#19

Regarding the dimarzio pickups in there, you can wire them in split operation which in this case gives them a higher output but still some added benefits of the hum cancelling design.

It’s how EJ did it with the hs-2 in his vintage maple strats.


#20

Interesting reading about the high E string falling off the neck. I’d love to know how long people stuck with it before they decided it needed a remedy.

When I got mine, the first few days the high E would sometimes slip off the board, but I got used to it within two weeks to the point where it never happens, it helped fix a technique flaw to the point where I don’t think about it ever, and it doesn’t happen at all anymore. No bridge change required I don’t think people gave it an honest chance. Fender wouldn’t release this guitar and keep this aspect as is over the many iterations. Also, this may be one of the earliest if not first fender signature models out there.

Don’t let these stories about the E string put you off. Another thing to consider is fender necks have a bit of play ( yaw ), it’s a no-brainer to adjust the neck alignment.

This guitar has got a few things that make it very unique, most related to the neck.

One feature often overlooked on the YJM are the machine bolts, there are stainless steel dead nuts in the neck that make for the best possible join using machine screws ala Tom Anderson. This is an expensive mod and unique to the YJM in the fender range, it requires very high precision. The result is better resonance transfer and higher acoustic energy.

The neck is nitro finished, something I relish on my guitars. The brass nut doesn’t hurt, looks cool even. The bullet truss rod adjustment is as accessible as it gets. The vintage F tuners are excellent too.

Scalloped fretboards are not very well understood, and took me a while to figure out why YJM insists on them. I’ve been playing this latest edition for a little over a year, two to four hours a day, everyday.

But before I talk about the scalloped neck, the setup of the guitar is critical to get the best from it. My guitar is currently set up to have about 2.5 mm between the bottom of the stings and top of the 12th fret, for the first month I had it lower. Bridge floating, The “A” string pulls back on the bar to a raised minor third. And I’m using YJM Fender strings 8-11-14-22-32-46 hex core nickel plated steels, tuned to E flat. Enough relief in the neck profile to slip a visiting card under the low E string at the 7th fret while fretting the string at the 1st and 17th fret.

It took me a month or two to settle on this setup. My initial impression of the scalloped besides the easy bending was thinking it’s just a novelty. The big frets were indeed very functional and them not being SS has a softer attack. I didn’t like the last guitar I had with SS, the light ash body and hard maple neck had an undesirable attack with diminished dynamics on the note attack.

I kept digging around for YJMs setup details, the one thing that struck me was the high action, by then I was well into a month of learning his material with long hours of playing. On raising the action a couple o things happened, the notes rang louder, sustained longer with added clarity and body. My fretting got more accurate without any added fatigue, this last point I think is not common knowledge, to me, this is the main advantage of a scalloped guitar, higher action doesn’t feel like higher action, and higher action has tonal benefits especially with extra light gauge strings tuned down. It took me a month of playing to figure this one out, the notes started to really scream on the high E string like never before under high gain.

The pickups, magnificent, going to ignore the middle pup for high gain tones. SD Fury here.

The neck pickup under high gain and high SPLs is reactive, has superb clarity and body, legato and picked lines are very smooth and balanced sounding, superb harmonics and pack some serious orgasmic molten mayhem for leads. Middle control handles tone shaping duties, it’s a no-load pot, I leave it open all the way.

The bridge pickup under high gain is superb for rhythm and muted staccato picking. A lower SPLs I use it for a lot of lead playing as well. The thing about “single” coil pickups are the added precision and dynamics, I much prefer the razor accuracy of a single coil over HB pickups, they’re hard to master but once done’ hard to ignore. This pickup does everything well, the bridge pup has a dedicated high friction no-load tone pot with a notch indent in the open position. I mostly keep mine at 7.

The pickups are bloody delightful as to how it captures your dynamics. The low friction no-load volume pot make easy going with echotude type baroque shenanigans.

Cleans the guitar is most definitely a proper strat with a warm glint. The three-way switch wedges nicely for those in between strat quack, agreed they’re no LF vingate hots but that’s not what this guitar is about. On a side note a perfect companion to this guitar would be another YJM with Frailin vintage hots, my perfect strat strat if I may.

The other cool feature on these YJMs are the recessed straplocs, just super elegant and another brilliant mod by Malmsteen.

This is a damn near perfect stratocaster if you ask me, the only thing better would be a nitro finished body in more colours perhaps.

The neck pickup is in the right place for those beautiful tones. I’d love me some 24 fret action but not at the cost of tone.

So many great shred guitars out there but for me, this one is the bee’s knees. Low action shred guitars with HB’s often sound like old video game music without dynamics, nothing else comes close, it’s perhaps comes down to the kind of shred I like. I’ve owned a fancy Lentz Crodyden carvetop with HB, Grosh EJVT, Vigiers and other fenders, in the end, this is the only guitar type I’d buy again.

One of the only things I did to this guitar is install Raw Vintage saddles and springs. The was pleasantly surprised, increased acoustic volume, clarity and body, I did this using the same set of strings changing saddles one at a time, no bullshit here, the product is legit. The guitar started to feedback sitting in its stand at high gain and low SPL which is never did before, very lively on all fronts. The springs add some air on the clean tones and the ability to use all 5 strings feels nice on the bar, double stops seem to stay more in tune.

My apologies for the long post but I think this guitar deserves a better chance. I genuinely love this model.

short clip from two months into YJM