Upward Sweeps in Yngwie's Black Star

This what I hear being played in the solo section of Black Star. Not sure how this would be picked. I don’t see how legato could solve this if I follow the USX rules.

Or this the rare case of Yngwie doubling upstrokes? I haven’t heard him play this line live.

1 Like

I know Yngwie usually has 2 upstrokes in a row when he sweeps. E and B strings are both UP, that positions him in a place where can downstroke on the G string and then do 2 more down strokes to complete the ascending portion.

I guess one thing to note is the consecutive upstrokes are interrupted by a pulloff

 U      U D  D D

That gives him a little extra time to do his second upstoke. That would indeed make the patterns you’ve supplied pretty tough to play smoothly as they’d require a quick succession of 3 upstrokes.

I wonder if he’s just a little sloppy and trying to do it his typical way but hitting mutes on what would be the ascending part?

 U         U  D  D D U       U  D

Without actually seeing video footage it is tough to know for sure. What we do know is that he, like others, is a creature of habit and all the times we can see what he’s doing on the 3 string sweeps, he plays it just like he does in the REH video I linked.

You don’t. When he does the four note desc arpeggio pattern, I think it’s U-pulloff-U-D. The D on the G string is a slightly different motion to get over the string. He doesn’t do it often, but for example the pedal tone lick is another example of this. It’s mostly / only ever a downstroke on a low string going to a higher string, from what I’ve seen.

He usually palm mutes this kind of arpeggios so the last downstroke is probably a little swipy. Do you think that he occasionally does something similar to forearm+wrist crosspicking type motions for those lines?

Yngwie sometimes breaks the rules of USX, for example he does legit descending sweeps from time to time like here:

If you watch how he plays Badinerie in this clinic there are short descending sweeps all over the place.

Probably, but that might make it sound more complicated than it is. If you watched any of that recent livestream he did, his technique really is kind of a hodge podge of motion variations. They all stem from his Gypsy-like arm position with the hand resting on the bridge, and utilize a mix of forearm, wrist, and finger joints for generating motion. With some elbow for tremolo occasionally.

For someone who can already do any kind of fast USX motion, I’d basically just to try to alternate pick this phrase fast and see what comes out. It may not be worth trying to micromanage it further than that at first. Once you find something that goes fast and smooth, that doesn’t feel jumpy or tense, that’s probably a good starting point, no matter what joint motion is being used.

1 Like

I think it’s like this. The B shown as a grace/ghost note is audible when slowed down. The following high B is immediate enough without any other noises, so I don’t think he’s swiping through the first string to play it with an upstroke.



Chris Brooks has a whole exercise about this in his 100 arpeggios book.

At first I was afraid, I was petrified, kept thinking I could never play this lick however hard I tried, but then I spent so many hours, practicing till I got it down, and I grew strong, and I learned how to skip along… :joy:

edit: CB’s method is as pointed out before, just treat it like a note to be played but mute it; this is where I think the boys get separated from the men, if you got too much gain, you’re going to have to use less.

edit2: Please disregard my previous comment… I tried it and this his how I figured it:
The key is this lick is the sequence of pull offs, those are your anchors, the rest just falls in between, just worry about landing the pull offs. When I pull these off, my picking hand does a wrist hop, this works for me personally, maybe to keep the momentum in a weird way. Hope this helps, but as Troy says, don’t stress to much about these details, though for me if I were approaching this sequence the first time ( and its a common trope of Yngwie’s ) I’d pay attention. Troy is right about the ad hoc picking Yngwie deploys now a days, he hardly moves his hand after his accident, I’d advise don’t worry about economy of span, that will come last if it must, his best playing was Alcatraz Live in Japan and his picking span is rather wide and full, a lot more energy, note separation and articulation.

1 Like

So one must actually mute the notes when sweeping? Has been a mistery I am trying to figure out.

Not necessarily. You can if you want to though. You should mute the strings you don’t intend to ring out however, and you should cut off the note you do want to sound right as you hit the next one so they don’t ring together. You do this by lifting the fretting tension off the string, but still keep the tip momentarily on to dampen it.