Yngwie style descending fours

Hi everyone

Here is my Yngwie descending fours lick. It is a version of the Hot On Your Heels lick from Steeler (see video included below).
It is slightly modified to turn it into a classic circular style repeating lick. Here is the tab:

The speed is approx 195-198 bpm and it includes a LOT of string changes! (There are 23 string changes in 5 seconds)

Thanks to @Troy for assisting me in trouble shooting what I was doing wrong to help me get it. In short he encouraged me to focus on FORM rather than the individual notes I was missing.
This advice enabled me to put it all together. I massively experimented with different technique options until I discovered what worked. If you slow down the video you will see I am now hitting all the notes whereas previously I was consistently missing certain notes in the sequence. The challenge I faced was if you want to sound like
early Yngwie you have to hit all the notes cleanly at high speed. Because he does.

The MAJOR difference in my version to Yngwie’s is that I am alternate picking everything as economy still is beyond me at this point. I hope it still sounds Yngwie though - let me know what you think!

Steeler - Hot On Your Heels:


Great job!

If I can point out one last improvement you can make, I can sometimes hear the open B string ringing. This may be because your index is not muting it when you are fretting the high E string?

In any case it’s a minor detail and this is great playing!

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FWIW, I only heard this after Tommo mentioned it lol! Due to the key you’re in it actually sounds pretty awesome though!! Like this cool little syncopated pedal tone.

Great playing though, you’re ‘there’ :slight_smile: Code cracked!


I can hear it too, although it’s hard for me to tell what’s causing it. It sounds and kind of looks like you are using swiping, but aren’t quite muting the swipe during your left hand transition. Other wise pretty killer man!


One thing I should add (because I know how much you care about fine details @Interestedoz, and don’t want you to go down a rabbit hole for 6 months):

these things are easily lost in a mix, the ear / brain is pretty forgiving and happy to pay more attention to the intended notes than the accidentals.

Just because I became very attentive to these things, I can hear the occasional unwanted open string in published records of shred masters like Yngwie, Vinnie Moore & co. I can still enjoy these records the same way though :slight_smile:

In live performances, I hear these things even more.

We can do our best to reduce the accidentals, but I came to the conclusion that the guitar is just a fairly dirty instrument, and we have to accept it and enjoy it for what it is :slight_smile:


Great job ! This is weird but I’ve been playing that exact same lick to develop my USX Dsweep YJM method. You’re way better than me though so I’ve got some work to do still.

I normally play it in all the different modes though going up and down the E and B strings so I develop my fretboard knowledge and fingering at the same time. Maybe I should focus on one position like you to get the picking motions right before moving it about.

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Thanks everyone for the positive feedback!

haha thanks tommo! You know me quite well now - and I won’t go down this rabbit hole. Not sure I could correct it as I have trouble hearing the accidentals . I remember when Anton Oparin was pointing out the swipey noises Paul Gilbert makes - I couldn’t hear it! I know others can hear it though but my hearing struggles with it. Thanks for the awesome feedback as always.

Thanks @joebegly!

thanks Fossegrim - I had to change my left hand technique to able to play the lick consistently and get the Yngwie "roll"going on the turnaround on the high E - that may be resulting in less muting. I think you are correct. But as I have a lot of trouble with my hearing picking up the swipey sounds - even with Paul Gilbert - I will just accept it I think lol thanks again for the encouragement!

thanks SlyVai - I took the approach that I needed to get one thing right. I wanted to be able to play and sound like early Yngwie and so I decided to really focus on getting one lick right. This lick funnily enough was NOT the lick I chose! I actually spent a year working on a phrase from an Alcatrazz solo. And got it quite close but was getting a bit stuck on certain points.

Troy and tommo have encouraged to play other licks other than just the one you are trying to crack. This ended up being incredibly helpful - even if the lick is just a different early Yngwie lick (like this Steeler one I chose) it gives you a different angle to learn from - and you pick up things that you can then take back to your main lick. I solved things on this Steeler lick that I wasn’t solving on the Alcatrazz one that apply to both.

So if I could offer anything to you form my journey it would be to really focus on what you want to learn but to also take breaks from it to try other things to give yourself a break and as way to solve problems that may not be apparent to you while working on the main lick.

I heard your playing on the thread you posted and you are clearly very good - so really no reason why you can’t get the Ygnwie fours happening.

I’m really glad you are trying to get this lick too. I think it is a brilliant lick to help with alternate picking.

It contains so many elements:

  • rapid multiple string changes
  • an inside Gilbert on the way back to the top
  • the need for high level hand sync to get it to sound fluid
  • speed - to help one challenge their speed (though this lick doesn’t need to be played at Yngwie speed to sound good)

I still have a way to go with what I want to achieve. I want to extrapolate what I have leant so far and be able to play it across a wider range of licks now. I really don’t have any plans to try and get faster. There are plenty of players here a lot faster than me. I just want to improve on what I have learnt so far! Thanks for the feedback :slight_smile:

^This. The guitar is just a noisy instrument. Even tremolo springs will generate unwanted noise and harmonics that your pickups will then sense unless you dampen them. That drove me nuts for years.

As a side note, I would be willing to bet also that the NS-2 Yngwie uses, also does quite a bit to hide a lot of the accidental finger and string noise he actually does generate. I take that back, you may not even hear it over the insane amount of noise his gear generates on its own. You can really hear how much reduction he uses on the initial attack of the first note he hits if of any phrase

Okay I just tried the lick and I got the same exact noise in it you did, and solved it by making sure the very tip of my index was always lightly pushed up against the b string until I absolutely had to finger the d note on the 15th fret. At that point made sure it was lightly draped over the E string, so that one doesn’t ring. That took care of it for me at least.

I also had to play it using UPS and DSX or else it was a no go. (See I’m learning the lingo).


Same here. I cannot play this lick up to speed but my best attempt was DSX, start on an upstroke and swipe everything that didn’t workout lol! Pretty sure it’s all outside string changes so that is a solution. But yeah @Interestedoz , well done, that is a tough pattern the way you’re playing it.

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I love that lick!
If I’m not mistaken Jeff Watson also does exactly that at the end of his solo in Night Ranger’s “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me”.
I’ve been “working on” that one for like 35 years.

Pre-CtC, I mostly played it with a lot of pull-offs.
More recently I was able to get some satisfaction out of playing it on a single string (until it ended and I had to repeat).
Now, when I try to alternate pick it, I definitely feel like I have to start it on an upstroke. I can’t tell from the video…is that what you’re doing also?

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Yep he sure does - just listened to it. Great player.

I start on a downstroke - and it is all down up down up. But the great thing about these fours licks as you say is you can start them on an upstroke, use pull offs, go upwards, downwards, etc and they sound great! At least to me. I’m working on single string variations and all kinds of things with them at the moment.

A huge part of why I like the early Yngwie stuff so much is his playing had a huge amount of these licks in there. He then moved away from using them so much post Alcatrazz, but I thought they gave a real structure to his solos. All personal preference I suppose!

Thanks for response :slight_smile:

Thanks for the advice and encouragement @Interestedoz. My problem is that I get distracted too easily and when I do seem to concentrate and make progress I come back the next day and it seems like I’m back to square one again.
Although I seem to be getting better at the down sweep Yngwie motion, it’s slowly getting faster but analysing my picking again last night I think I need to change the motions I am using because I can’t seem to speed them up easily.

@SlyVai are you sure it’s because of your picking hand, and not because of the left hand and syncing? I ask because It just may be a rabbit hole your slinking down and your picking hand may just be fine.

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Well funny you should say that @Fossegrim because I had the same thought this week when trying to play a fast Vai lick from Erotic Nightmares.

This 4s pattern in particular is out of my comfort zone as it’s not ‘sequential’, as in its got that jump when you start the second 4 which is unnatural to my fingers which are so used to playing scales sequentially.
Also, you may of seen in my other post that I do have left hand finger joint problems and although once I warm up its not restricting my finger movement it does hurt while playing especially the index finger and pinky. It’s better than it was but it’s still a problem.
That aside the only way i know of improving sync is to play the lick slowly and speed up gradually over time.

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Great playing! This is almost the same lick he does at the intro of “Hiroshima mon amour” but connects it with a lower position - he’s economypicking with some legato I presume?

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Also don’t forget to think of your overall form as something that may need tweaking. As @Fossegrim suggests this includes your left hand - as I had to make corrections with this too.

Also try to find a way to have fun with the challenge! I basically recorded all my serious takes and continued to play them back against Yngwie’s take to see if I was getting closer. Seems like a punishing thing to do I know - but it was actually fun to see if I was making progress. So see if there is a way to make the challenge fun so you don’t get distracted.

Also on the sync - I had to do a LOT of work to get my sync better. This included a lot of really slow and fast work. Just had to really focus on it because it wasn’t where it needed to be. But look after your hand first! If slow is all your hand allows at the time then do the slow stuff well!

One of the things I learnt out of this is there is so much more to this stuff than just speed. I was getting the speed and yet there where people playing it slower but BETTER than me. And it was frustrating! And then I would listen to Yngwie live playing it so much better than me AND faster than me! LOL

Thanks Johan. Yep he plays these licks all through the Alcatrazz stuff. And he does use economy and legato pulloffs to do it. I am alternate picking all of it. Economy picking at Yngwie’s level is beyond my skills at the moment. And to be honest I don’t think I will pursue that as I am really into alternate picking and really like it. I like the sound of it and the challenge of trying to play things using it. It seems to suit my style better :slight_smile:

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I think he likely plays it down, up, pull off, down, down, up, down, pull off, up, down, up, down, up, hammer on, down, up, cycle through again.

There’s only likely one instance of economy or a sweep in there, but if I’m completely honest I would have a hard time playing it the way yngwie does too, and I feel pretty comfortable with economy picking so it’s not that so much. For me, because I’m also used to alternate picking sequences like that, I don’t have to think of a picking pattern as well, it’s just down, up - my picking hand can be autonomous. Picking it like yngwie would on the other hand, because has this system worked out (which is autonomous to him I’m sure) takes too much thinking about where your placing pick strokes pull offs, and sweeps.

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Exactly! You have provided a much more articulate explanation of what I too have struggled with in terms of the economy approach.

Also my version of the lick is slightly simpler than Yngwie’s actual version which carries an extra note:

When I try to apply the economy rules to the full version of the lick I cant work out how the rules would even work. Cesario Filho approaches the start of the lick exactly as you do ( D U p D D), but then after the extra note (blue circle) he swaps to the high E with an upstroke. But I am not sure that is how Yngwie does it - but he might. I just don’t know. So hence I just use alternate! Not to mention I can’t get my push through swipe to work anyway :rofl:

@Interestedoz Ah! There Yngwie would likely do a Down, up, pull off, up. Or down, pull off, pull off, up.

When you break things up with a pull off you can use either pick stroke after. But I would have to play around with the lick to see.

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