Yngwie Malmsteen, You've lost your way...

You know…I am older and play a little guitar myself. I absolutely went ga-ga over Yngwie’s debut recording “Rising Force”, particularly because in 1984, nobody was playing that fast but yet he had a sense of melody, especially on songs like “Far Beyond The Sun”, “Icarus Dream Suite” and “Evil Eye”.

Now he’s something of a fat arrogant joke and it makes me sad. He helped pioneer a movement in the neo-classical genre…and now not only is that movement in guitar playing been there done that to shreds (natch), but he can’t even be bothered with melody anymore.

I present the tune “Far Beyond The Sun” in it’s original format, and while it does in fact have fretboard masturbation factor eleven in some spaces, it also has a good sense of melody within the context of the song.

Then I look on YouTube and yup, there he is, 100lbs heavier and more masturbatory than ever to the point of just being sad and ludicrous.

Here’s the original (which I maintain is a well-composed guitar song to this day): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAsHFSrh0i8

And here is his quasi-obligatory performance with an orchestra, which would be something he could have pulled off if he wasn’t so consumed with playing guitar at ludicrous speed, all the time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vgt8jROEngw

I don’t know how many guitar fans will respond but that transition from wunderkind with a classical melodic bent to complete shredding joke fest is sad to me.

Ah well. Thoughts?

Actual song in the second video to match the first starts at 2:57, if anyone cares. It’s so indulgent and far from the original recording as to be laughable, especially since he obviously considers himself a serious musician when accompanied by orchestral players. It really, really makes me sad.

I beg to respectfully disagree that nobody was playing that fast in 1984. Here is Al Di Meola in 1977. :wink:

Malmsteen never had a way to lose. He’s a terrible songwriter/composer, with almost no feel at all for groove or rhythm. His sense of melody is limited to playing scales really, really fast. He’s a technically gifted guitarist who sadly lacks any musicality at all. YMMV.

Yngwie Malmsteen, Yngwie Malmsteen,
What a beautiful name…

Usually credited on his album covers as Yngwie ***J. ***Malmsteen–as Flo & Eddie observed, to distinguish himself from all the other Yngwie Malmsteens in the music business.

Every single guitarist I know shares this sentiment - he’s got mad technical skills, but no soul or heart for what he is playing.

Agreed. Nobody outside of fans of guitar wanking have ever given a shit about the guy, because he has no songs to back up his skill. Same with people like Jeff Beck or Steve Vai. As someone who’s not a guitarist (or into masturbatory displays of technique), I’ll take the relatively “unskilled” Peter Buck or Bob Mould any day.

Well he not as limited as that. He does really fast arpeggios too.

This is far from my kind of music, but even after adjusting the wank factor for this style, you’re right: the first version is more melodic and on-point. The second one is all frenetic noodling and it seems even more pompous with the orchestra. I think this is one of those things that can happen if a musician plays a song a million times. They want to find some way to keep it interesting, and they end up “embellishing” by adding as many notes as they possibly can.

Let’s go to the quarry and throw stuff down there!

Ouch for Jeff Beck. I will be the first to say that his songs can be hit or miss, but to me, that is because he takes risks on material. I don’t sense that he is only a wanker-guitarist’s guitarist - he has a broad fanbase, near as I can tell. But he is purely a gunslinger, with only a few songs to his credit, vs. Clapton, Page, Eddie Van Halen, etc. who write as well.

I also prefer folks like Peter Buck, Johnny Ramone, etc. over shredders…

As for Yngwie - technique for days, but I usually last about 1 minute on the videos.

FoisGrasIsEvil, I think part of his appeal at the beginning was his novelty. What’s he done that’s been much different than what he started out with? Otherwise, yeah, he appears to be a cover-version of himself; like a classic Oldie’s tour. That’s always hard to see. But it was interesting to see the close-ups in the newer clip, showing the scalloped fingerboard on his Strat. A big part of his technique…

You may be right - from what I’ve heard of Jeff Beck’s solo stuff, it’s certainly no more boring than Eric Clapton’s solo stuff, but from my point of view, that’s damning with faint praise. I know Beck’s respected, and I liked him in the Yardbirds, but most people I’ve met who were into him were either guitar noodlers or guys (always guys) who thought Iron Butterfly and Vanilla Fudge were great bands. He recently played a fairly big venue here with Brian Wilson, but I assumed Wilson was the main draw.

When he’s at his worst, almost nothing is more boring than Clapton’s solo stuff.

No argument there!

Yeah, that’s a fair assessment. I still love a few of his instrumentals, but they are limited to basically the three tunes off his solo debut album that I mentioned in the OP. I just can’t help but wonder why someone with so much obvious talent has turned into such a caricature of himself. The song “Icarus Dream Suite Op 4” I mentioned in the OP is a really melodic song with (gasp!) a lot of slow parts to it as it was originally recorded. But then I watch the video of him playing the same song with his pompous orchestra and it’s literally painful and embarrassing to watch.

There’s no doubt that novelty was a factor. In 1984 he was arguably the first hugely exposed guitarist in rock music playing that way or that fast. My point was just that many of his songs on the debut album were in fact melodic and weren’t solely vehicles for a technique-fest. That isn’t the case anymore, and hasn’t been for years.

And I really like his Strat and would love to own one. I’ve never played with a scalloped fretboard (he also uses those stacked dual coil pickups as well, IIRC) and I wonder how much it alters the “feel” of the instrument.

I firmly believe that a popular musician ‘collaborating’ with an orchestra is always a sure sign of bloated egoism and never results in anything worth listening too. Malmsteen is clearly no exception.

I had a roommate in college who had a guitar with a scalloped fretboard. It was… weird. Your fingers never actually touch the fretboard, it’s all fret, so you get some strange dynamics. It takes a light touch; if you’re a heavy-handed player like me, you end up sounding out of tune because it’s easy to bend up to a slightly higher pitch if you push too hard. I really didn’t care for it.

Clearly you may not be familiar with Mike Keneally.

ETA: Mr. Keneally is a guitarist, singer and piano/keyboard player. The Metropole Orchestra asked him to collaborate, not the other way around. And the results have been fantastic.

Dang short edit window!

However, my point was only that exceptions to the rule do occur. In general, tho, yeah, orchestra projects are bloated, pretentious wanking.