Yngwie Malmsteen Says Eric Clapton And Jimi Hendrix Didn’t Have Techniques In Playing Guitar

Iconic guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen recently uploaded a Q&A video on his official YouTube channel and replied to his fans’ questions. While answering a question about his fingerpicking technique, Malmsteen stated that even Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix didn’t use any techniques back in the 1960s.

The music industry constantly adapts to technological developments. However, musicians from the past are still considered legends even though they didn’t have today’s technology at their disposal. Nowadays, it is easier learning to play an instrument and practice it using the internet. However, most legendary guitarists based their success on their skills and ears only.

Yngwie Malmsteen addressed this topic in his recent video and stated that he would do anything to make the sound in his head sound the same on his guitar. He then revealed that he doesn’t think about the techniques while playing. According to the guitarist, playing the electric guitar is more different than other classical instruments such as the violin because they evolved with techniques.

Following that, Malmsteen also referred to the iconic guitarists of the 1960s including Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. He stated that they never played the same style and never followed the same techniques or rules. Moreover, the guitarist added that he also has his own way of playing the guitar.

Malmsteen revealed that he had no technique by stating:

“I heard something in my head that wasn’t from someone else, I just heard it, and I wanted to play it. Whatever it took for me to get that sound, I adjusted my hands to that. I didn’t think about, ‘Oh, should I hold like this?’ Even alternate picking and everything like that was a natural thing.

There was no internet, there was no books, no scales, there’s nothing that you could do, like nowadays, to get information. And it’s so funny because I remember like it was yesterday, I was in Japan in 1983, and they asked me, ‘Oh, how do you hold your pick?’ For the first time, I’m looking down at my hand, and I go, ‘Oh, like this.’

I never thought about it. It’s just whatever is necessary to get the sound I heard in my head, that’s what I did. Same thing with everything else. So it’s good to have pointers, it’s good to have a given direction, it’s good. For instance, if you learn to play classical violin or classical instruments, it’s hundreds of years of technique that’s brought down.”

He continued by saying that even Clapton and Hendrix didn’t have a technique:

“You don’t do it any other way, that’s one way. With the electric guitar playing, it is so new. You could say Hank Marvin, Clapton, Hendrix, and then Page and all these people in the ’60s, they never played the same, there was no set rule, and there were really no techniques per se. It’s evolving now basically. I just found my way of doing it. That doesn’t mean you’re gonna do that.”

You can watch the entire Q&A below.