What's The Least Amount Of Time Needed To Develop Yngwie Like Technique?

@Troy I sem to remember you stating somewhere on this forum that most of the greats developed their ability to play as fast and clean as Yngwie or Paul Gilbert in only two years of practice. Is that true? So if the started playing guitar seriously at 10 years old, by the time they were 12, they ha basically developed all or at least 90% of their technique?

I find this hard to believe. Yngwie started at 7 years old and I doubt he would have bene able to play the beginning of The I Am A Viking Solo by age 9.

Realistically how long do think it took a guy like Yngwie or Michael Angelo Batio from the time they started playing guitar until they had the speed and cleanliness in there fastest alternate picking that they have now? I would imagine it took more like 7 or 8 years to develop the alternate picking chops they had on the albums like The Steeler album or the First Nitro album.

Does this mean that whether it took 2 years or 8 years to build their alternate picking technique that after that, their sped and cleanliness improved very little over the next 10 or 20 years?

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Basically from when these guitarists became aware of Yngwie level technique it took them two years to develop that style into their repertoire. They were already playing guitar for some years previous. That’s my understanding of it anyway.
The best example I can think of is Mark Tremonti’s playing in Creed vs Alter Bridge he gets a lot more technical in Alter Bridge after having lessons from MAB.
Another good example is Tipton and Downing in Priest towards the late 80s as their style got more shred oriented on Painkiller and Ram it Down vs stuff like Sin After Sin or Stained Class


I’ve personally seen this from a guy who was a complete prodigy I knew in high school. He knew I played a little bit and wanted to learn so I showed him some chords and gave him some scale photocopies. We would jam every other week or so. In 2 months he was better than me after 2 years. At 6 months he was playing along with the Rising Force record with a little slop. His playing was all cleaned up in a few more months.

His practice routine was almost 100% playing along with records a few hours every day. He said he sort of looked at the chords and scales I gave him but really learned by figuring out what sounded good over songs. Just a complete natural, he couldn’t name chords except for the root and barely knew the names of the notes on the guitar, that stuff just wasn’t important to him. His relative pitch was insane.


I we learn skills better when we are younger.

I used to hang around the Bumblefoot forum and there was another member there called Ben. This was long before the GnR gig came up.

Ben was 15 IIRC, and he had incredible skills on guitar and had only been playing for two years. He got some lessons from Bumblefoot himself and was playing as Bumblefoot’s second guitarist and doubling his lines note for note, including the intro the Guitars Suck. I believe he had only been playing a little over 2 years at this time.


Howl old was he when you started him playing guitar? Did he go on to make a living as a guitarist?

He was a junior in high school so 16 or 17. At the time he just liked to play, wasn’t really interested in joining a band or writing songs. I lost touch with him when I went to college. Tried some search-fu on the interwebnetz but nothing came up.

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That’s a shame. He seems like a guy who had phenomenal natural ability. Too bad his passion wasn’t equal to his ability. Yngwie’s was which is why “Relentless” is such a perfect name for his autobiography.

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I watched a Rick Graham video where he talked about his early years as a player. He says that he started playing in his mid-late teens and that he was basically had developed as a “standard shred” player within two years. He even shows a clip of him playing at around the age of 18 or 19 and he’s just ripping shit.

Found it:

Michael Romeo says on his DVD that he didn’t get into the “real heavy practicing stuff” until he was about 18 when he discovered Malmsteen and Al D Meola. The first Symphony X album would have come out when he was in his mid-20s.

Finnish guitarist Mika Tyyskä (interviewed by CtC but not available yet) said once in an interview that his biggest sprint of development in his technique took place over a summer as a teenager when he locked himself into a 5 hr/day practice program.


I’ve got a theory about guitarists. There are three kinds:

  1. Those with an innate ability to cop anything they hear.
  2. Those with an innate ability to create anything they conceive.
  3. Those who can do both.

The coppers are amazing, but not as amazing as the coppers who can also create.

I am like a low level creator, copping is the toughest for me. It doesn’t come naturally at all, and I usually resist bothering to do the work required. And if I don’t keep it sharp, I lose whatever I figured out how to cop.

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He really wears his influences on his sleeve, but he’s fantastic. I love how melodic and thoughtful his soloing is. It isn’t just pure shred for shred’s sake.

Also, he’s right about being able to get your left hand to stretch. After playing bass for the last couple years if I stretch both hands as much as I can and line them up palm to palm, my right hand pinky now lines up with my left hand ring finger. My left hand pinky can stretch almost 2 inches beyond my right hand pinky now.

You should never force this, though, and if you’re getting pain you should stop. It will develop naturally as you push yourself little by little over time.

I’m not sure whether this question has an answer as everyone is so different, but here goes.
I think it is a case of amount of practice Vs bad habits present - here are a few different scenarios that I can imagine to be common place

  • A completely new player can get technichally proficient in a very short space of time if they learn correctly (either naturally or taught) where no bad habits exist.
  • An experience player can struggle to make massive growth technically as they may have many years of bad habits to unpack/unlearn
  • An experienced player can make very good progress if they have many years of good playing and only need to adjust slightly in order to improve. The years of playing have given them a good foundation ans feel on the instrument.

I think I am in the 3rd camp. My technique has always been quite good, but I couldnt take it to the next level. Now with golden nuggets of CTC knowledge, I am making some great improvements. All in all, I truly believe that we can all reach our goals through effort, time and knowledge.

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I love Mr Fastfingers! I used to watch the videos daily. Now that I’m a member of CTC, I have solely been working on technique. In fact, my beginner students are being taught what I learn here. I believe that technique and mechanics are essential for today’s guitarists. I don’t know if I will ever reach Yngwie style levels, but I still endeavor to have great technique and mechanics. I believe one day very soon I will wake up and things will be different in my playing. More ease, speed and accuracy. When that happens, I will move into a more creative mode of playing. I think what I did was go back to the drawing board in my playing. I’m not really doing anything about playing in bands or live right now. I’m more in a woodshedding mode. In a way, the passion I used to have has long since gone. Not that I don’t love playing guitar anymore. I’m more into building strength, stamina, knowledge, etc. It’s hard to feel excited about exercises. Kinda like working out at the gym. You hate it, but you know in the end it will pay off. I already know how to record songs from my computer. I’ve played in front of thousands. But I’m in a season of going to the next level in so many ways. And not just on the guitar. I’m researching about financial independence, mental well being, being at peace and being grateful for what I have and not worrying about what I don’t have, repairing relationships and make the ones I do have even stronger. So many things! I’m keeping my mind focused on becoming stronger and better. Guitar has always been important to me, but my reason for being a guitar player was self-serving. I’ve changed that train of thought. I’ve always wanted people to like my guitar playing, but it was so my ego would be fed. Now, I want people to receive enjoyment from my guitar playing because this world is so full of evil. I want people to leave a show feeling good and that they were a part of something special. For example, I once went to a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert and Paul Rogers came out and sang a few tunes with them. I was shocked and so in awe. His voice was so incredible that I began to weep. That is how I want people to feel. It was such a powerful moment in my life. I have never forgotten the chills, the tears and the awesome power that came out of him. There is a responsibility that one would have in that kind of power. I heard him once say that he had long since given up drinking and partying in order to maintain that kind of voice. It was more important for him to serve his audience and deliver a great performance than to indulge in self-gratification. Much respect for him!

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I don’t find it hard to believe. :grin: There’s a difference between developing the technique required to play guitar well and developing your voice as guitarist/musician/anything. So Ygnwie probably wouldn’t have come up with “I am the Viking” at age 9, but playing it? You see kids playing really tough stuff on YouTube everyday! CtC mentioned it in the Li-Sa-X YouTube video.

For technique, we now know pretty much what is required to move the pick quickly around the strings and music overall with loads and loads of material accessible. So if you’re willing to put in the hours it’s rather straightforward. Is it tough? Sure; after all you need not only to build the technique, but also the discipline and resilience to practice day in day out for hours on end and challenge yourself to push your limits every single time. But it is straightforward.

The cool thing about technique is that once acquired, it stays and requires less time to maintain it than to acquire it. Obviously to sustain your best level you still need to practice tons of hours, but less hours to maintain a base level of technical fluidity.

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Here’s results in my case. 4 years of 2-3 hours of practice a day. It sounds like this.

I realize there are mistakes, some sloppiness but I’m not stopping.

It will probably take me another 4 years to sound like YJM.

Hope this answers your question, in practical terms.



Ohh necrobump thread.

Well I can say, this me after a couple years of playing at maybe 17-18

I wish I had more from then, this is just a random messing around with some multitracking I found a few years later and saved to a SoundCloud account.

Then some improv from the other day - a year and a few months after getting really into serious practice again after over a decade with only minimal messing around here and there

One other data point j can provide is - although I lost a lot of picking and fluency from lapsing in practice for so long, I never really lost tapping/legato or the sweeping motion I had originally, I’ve refined my sweeping a lot this year but I could always do fast five string shapes even way out of practice just noodling around (circa 2019)


Is the 10,000 hour thing true, or just a meme? If its true, I am definitely not willing to put in the time to get good. I don’t enjoy guitar that much, and I already wasted a huge chunk of my life learning bad technique and getting a chronic RSI which took an absurd length of time to heal. If I could get there with 1000 hours of practice, that’d be enticing. But definitely not 10,000.

honestly i am pretty certain most of us have played close to that in our lives. so yes i would say it probably is a meme. you have to find the right method. the only thing i can ever find where the best players/composers came from was having been taught italian solfeggio, and i think the improv thing also has a method it is called partimenti.

I think talent comes in at that point, in terms of how fast you’re going to get there both with physical skill and the mental/ear training aspects.

If you really just want to play a handful Yngwie covers for fun, I know that’s possible for a lot of people, and if you look at 1000 hours as 2 hours a day on weekdays only that would be about 100 weeks, so about 2 years. Maybe you’d get there with 2 hours a day of perfectly consistent practice for 2 years. Maybe it won’t be 100% but I’d bet you could get pretty close on some of it.

If you want to be as good an overall guitar player as Yngwie - there’s no way you could do it without vastly more time. I’ve never met anyone that was like pro level at something they’re passionate about that was anything but obsessed with it, guitar or whatever it is.

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Can I ask what is it you don’t enjoy? Guitar in general? Or the frustration from having learnt some bad habits?

Basically all of the wasted hours from practicing ineffectively, combined with chronic pain from an RSI. When I was a teenager, I practiced 3 hours per day during a summer, and got nowhere with because I was string hopping. Also I was just practing non-musical exercises because I mistakenly assumed it would lead to me being able to play anything w/ minimal practice once I put in the hours. I just didn’t know how to practice or what to practice.

So basically, I practiced a lot and got nowhere and injured myself.