Yngwie Malmsteen Reflects On Ritchie Blackmore’s Guitar Playing


Guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen recently joined WPDH for an interview during which he revealed his thoughts about the way Ritchie Blackmore played his guitar.

Back when he was young, Malmsteen was heavily influenced by classical music. His primary influences back then were Niccolò Paganini and Johann Sebastian Bach. Later, he also discovered Ritchie Blackmore, who became one of his most prominent guitar influences.

Throughout his music career, Malmsteen reflected these influences in his guitar sound. Like Malmsteen, Blackmore was also inspired by classical music — he is a guitarist who combines the elements of European classical music with rock and blues for his guitar solos.

In an interview with WPDH, Yngwie Malmsteen talked about Ritchie Blackmore’s guitar playing style. He stated that he got his first guitar at five years old and heard Blackmore’s guitar playing when he was eight. According to Malmsteen, he was mesmerized by Blackmore’s playing at that time.

Moreover, Yngwie stated that he began listening to classical music when he was around ten or eleven years old, and he liked Johann Sebastian Bach, Vivaldi, and Paganini. The virtuoso then concluded that the classical violin mainly influences his guitar playing, but he cannot forget Blackmore’s influence on his style.

Speaking to WPDH, Yngwie Malmsteen said about Ritchie Blackmore the following:

I love Ritchie Blackmore — I always did. When I was eight years old, I had a Deep Purple album. I grew up in Sweden in the 1970s, and Sweden was a very barren place in the 1970s. They didn’t have radio, TV, or anything where you could see anything. So, if somebody gave you a record or somebody at school had a record, that’s how you heard it.

I got my first guitar when I was five years old, and I didn’t stop playing it until I was seven. When I heard him play, I was eight years old. Obviously, I thought it was amazing. So, by the time I was about 10 or 11, I listened to classical music more and more, by Johann Sebastian Bach or Vivaldi.

When I was 12 or 13, I can’t remember exactly — I got hooked on Nicola Paganini. So, my guitar playing is influenced mainly by the classical violin. Having said that, I’m not minimizing Ritchie Blackmore[‘s influence]. I love the guy, and I think he is amazing. He is probably one of the greatest guitar players ever from the 70s. No doubt about it.”

In a previous interview, Yngwie Malmsteen again addressed Blackmore’s influence over him. In February, speaking to a Japanese magazine, Malmsteen said that his classical influences originate directly from classical composers, not from other guitar players.