Yngwie Malmsteen Blames Eddie Van Halen For Some Reputation Issues

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Guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen has claimed on Rockin’ Metal Revival that Eddie Van Halen made Fender Stratocasters out-of-fashion.

Malmsteen has enjoyed using Fender Stratocasters for a long time and created his signature guitar, Fender Yngwie Malmsteen Signature Stratocaster, in 1986. His most known Stratocaster is his 1972 blonde Stratocaster which is called ‘The Duck,’ due to the Donald Duck stickers on its headstock. Moreover, Malmsteen often customizes his Stratocasters by adding new features or removing parts from them.

Eddie Van Halen also customized his pieces of equipment like Malmsteen and built his iconic Frankenstrat guitar by himself. With his Frankenstrat, Eddie wanted to combine a Fender Stratocaster’s appearance and tremolo system with the sound of a Gibson guitar. The Frankenstrat was the first black and had white stripes, but later Eddie painted it red. The Metropolitan Museum of Art also displayed the iconic guitar in an exhibit in April 2019.

Speaking to the Rockin’ Metal Revival podcast, Yngwie Malmsteen has talked about his association with Fender Stratocasters. He revealed that Strat was always his ‘weapon of choice’ and he got his first Strat when he was young. Malmsteen then claimed Strats weren’t very cool in those days thanks to Eddie Van Halen, as everyone wanted humbuckers and whammies. He then noted that he refused every guitar company’s request to make custom guitars for him except Fender. According to him, he was the first to get a free Fender guitar.

Yngwie Malmsteen told Rockin’ Metal Revival that:

“I got my first Strat when I was very young, it was like a copy one, but it’s exactly the same. I’ve always had different guitars as well but Strat has always been my weapon of choice. So when I came to the States, the Stratocaster was really out of fashion thanks to Eddie Van Halen, god bless him- it just wasn’t fashionable at all. Everybody wanted humbuckers and whammies and shit.

So what happened was – I was so dedicated to this instrument, and when I became hot, so to speak, on the scene there at the beginning of the ’80s, every guitar company in the world basically came to me and said, ‘We’ll build anything you want, do whatever you want, whatever you want.’ I said, ‘Thanks but no thanks.’

And then, lo and behold, Fender came to me and what needs to be known is that Fender never even gave a guitar for free to artists. Hendrix, Beck, and Blackmore – they had to buy their guitars. Fender never gave one for free, ever. So I was the first one to have one for free.”

Recently, Malmsteen added another album to his catalog titled ‘Parabellum.’ He released ‘Parabellum’ on July 23, 2021, and worked on writing and recording it for over a year.

You can watch the interview below.