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Yngwie Malmsteen’s Two-String Sweeps by David Escobar


David Escobar can do something very few of us mere mortal guitarists can do and that is to absolutely nail an Yngwie Malmsteen solo, just check out David’s video above! One of the secrets to being able to play in the style of Malmsteen is his two-string sweep licks, so David has written a tutorial to get you all up to speed.

If you’re new to sweep picking there’s no better way to start working on it than with simple ideas, like these two string patterns. Or if you consider yourself a “master sweeper” only good things can come from analyzing the way great players like Yngwie use the technique.

Before we start, Malmsteen tunes down to Eb, (low to high Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb), so that’s the tuning we will be using in case you want to play along with the song. And another thing, here we are going to focus in the mechanics and technique for executing these passages, for a complete transcription of the solo please check out the YouTube video.

Ok, now let’s take a look at his first solo in the song Rising Force, one of his most famous songs featuring vocals.

Fig 1. (0:09) the solo begins with this pattern that moves through different arpeggios (Em, C and D), it starts with an upstroke and a pull off, then you pick down the first two strings in a single downward motion. The right hand pattern repeats itself every 4 notes, so your first goal should be to be able to play this before moving on to different positions.
The note on the second string (12th fret) has a bit of palm muting from the right hand to prevent it from ringing together with the notes played on the first string and have a cleaner sound. It’s important to be relaxed and start at a low tempo slowly building the speed.

Fig 2. (0:15) The key here is accuracy when changing octaves, and in order to do that your eyes have actually to look where your fingers go before your hand changes positions, in other words, as soon as you start playing the first arpeggio your eyes are looking down the other way to find the next position so that when you start sliding down or up the fretboard you can be certain where to land.

Fig 3. (0:31) uses the same picking pattern as Ex. 1 But in this case you will be playing a series of diminished arpeggios, that repeat themselves every three frets.

To check out more of David Escobar’s solo transcriptions head over to his YouTube channel:

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