Yngwie Malmsteen calls Ibanez guitars “a bad copy” of the Strat and says Les Pauls are “furniture”

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By Steve Newton

Had a nice little chat with Swedish guitar legend Yngwie Malmsteen the other day, in advance of his Guitar Gods show next Saturday (June 28) at the River Rock Show Theatre.

I mentioned that the last time I saw him live was on the G3 Tour at Vancouver’s Orpheum Theatre in 2003 or something. We got to talking about his G3 tourmates Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, and how neither of them are big Stratocaster fans. I asked the outspoken picker what it was about the Strat that has kept him so devoted to it all these years.

“Well, it’s kind of the original instrument,” said Yngwie. “Everything else is a copy of it, you know. All the Ibanez and stuff like that’s just a copy. It’s like a bad copy, really. It’s the same design but it’s a bad copy.

“I’m an original, very purist kinda guy,” he added, “that’s why I use Marshalls, Ferraris–whatever. I like the original stuff.”

And don’t even try mentioning Gibson’s finest around the devout Fender fanatic.

“Yeah, Les Paul’s nice bein’ a piece of furniture,” he replied. “It’s nice to look at. It wouldn’t survive five minutes with me on stage.”

To hear the full audio of my interviews with Yngwie from 1985 and 2014 subscribe to my Patreon page, where you can also eavesdrop on my uncut, one-on-one interviews with:

Trevor Rabin of Yes, 1984
Albert Lee, 1986
Robert Cray, 1996
Tony Carey, 1984
Ian Hunter, 1988
Kate Bush, 1985
Jeff Healey, 1988
Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, 1996
Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi, 1993
Colin Linden, 1993
Kenny Wayne Shepherd, 1995
Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues, 1986
Elliot Easton from the Cars, 1996
Wayne Kramer from the MC5, 2004
Bob Rock, 1992
Nick Gilder, 1985
Roy Buchanan, 1988
Klaus Meine of Scorpions, 1988
Jason Bonham, 1989
Tom Johnston of the Doobie Brothers, 1991
Joey Spampinato of NRBQ, 1985
Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers, 2003
Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash, 2003
Steve Kilbey of the Church, 1990
Edgar Winter, 2005
Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde, 1990
Randy Hansen, 2001
Dan McCafferty of Nazareth, 1984
Davy Knowles of Back Door Slam, 2007
Jimmy Barnes from Cold Chisel, 1986
Steve Stevens of Atomic Playboys, 1989
Billy Idol, 1984
Stuart Adamson of Big Country, 1993
Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, 1992
Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule, 1998
John Bell of Widespread Panic, 1992
Robben Ford, 1993
Barry Hay of Golden Earring, 1984
Jason Isbell, 2007
Brad Delp of Boston, 1988
John Sykes of Blue Murder, 1989
Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, 1998
Alice Cooper, 1986
Lars Ulrich of Metallica, 1985
Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon, 1992
Myles Goodwyn of April Wine, 2001
John Mellencamp, 1999
Mike Campbell of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, 1999
Kenny Aronoff, 1999
Jon Bon Jovi, 1986
Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, 1992
Little Steven, 1987
Stevie Salas, 1990
Joe Bonamassa, 2011
Rob Baker of the Tragically Hip, 1997
Tommy Emmanuel, 1994
John Petrucci of Dream Theater, 2010
Eric Johnson, 2001
Stu Hamm, 1991
Gene Simmons of Kiss, 1992
Ace Frehley from Kiss, 2008
David Lee Roth, 1994
Allan Holdsworth, 1983
John Mayall of the Bluesbreakers, 1988
Steve Vai, 1990
Tony Iommi of Heaven and Hell, 2007
Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, 1996
Geoff Tate of Queensryche, 1991
James Hetfield of Metallica, 1986
Stevie Ray Vaughan, 1990
Rick Richards of the Georgia Satellites, 1988
Andy McCoy and Sam Yaffa of Hanoi Rocks, 1984
Steve Morse, 1991
Slash of Guns N’ Roses, 1994
Brian May from Queen, 1993
Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, 1991
Jake E. Lee of Badlands, 1992
Rickey Medlocke of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1997
John Fogerty, 1997
Joe Perry of Aerosmith, 1987
Rick Derringer, 1999
Robin Trower, 1990
Mick Ronson, 1988
Buck Dharma of Blue Oyster Cult, 1997
Michael Schenker, 1992
Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe, 1991
Vinnie Paul of Pantera, 1992
Joan Jett, 1992
Steve Harris of Iron Maiden, 1988
Sebastian Bach of Skid Row, 1989
Rob Halford of Judas Priest, 1984
Bill Henderson of Chilliwack, 1999
Paul Rodgers, 1997
R.L. Burnside, 1999
Guthrie Govan of the Aristocrats, 2015
Mick Mars of Mötley Crüe, 1985
Carlos Santana, 2011
Walter Trout, 2003
Rudy Sarzo of Quiet Riot, 1983
Rob Hirst of Midnight Oil, 2001
Tommy Aldridge, 2001
Donald “Duck” Dunn, 1985
Mark Farner of Grand Funk, 1991
Chris Robinson of Black Crowes, 1990
Jennifer Batten, 2002
Mike Fraser, 2014
Leo Kottke, 2002
Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead, 2002
David Gogo, 1991
Booker T. Jones, 2016
Link Wray, 1997
James Reyne, 1988
Mike Rutherford of Genesis, 1983
Buddy Guy, 1991
Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers, 1990
Mike Cooley of the Drive-By Truckers, 2016
Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1986
Lindsay Mitchell of Prism, 1988
Buddy Miles, 2001
Eddie Money, 1988
Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith, 1983
Gaye Delorme, 1990
Dave Murray of Iron Maiden, 1984
Graham Bonnet of Alcatrazz, 1984
Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac, 2016
Doc Neeson of Angel City, 1985
Rik Emmett of Triumph, 1985
Sonny Landreth, 2016
Tosin Abasi of Animals as Leaders, 2016
Jeff Beck, 2001
Albert King, 1990
Johnny Ramone of the Ramones, 1992
Peter Frampton, 1987
Otis Rush, 1997
Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, 1989
Leslie West of Mountain, 2002
Steve Howe of Yes, 2017
Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, 1983
Uli Jon Roth, 2016
Poison Ivy of the Cramps, 1990
Stevie Ray Vaughan, 1985
Greg Lake of ELP, 1992
Robert Plant, 1993
Malcolm Young and Brian Johnson of AC/DC, 1983
Warren Zevon, 1992
Tal Wilkenfeld, 2016
Steve Clark of Def Leppard, 1988
Roy Buchanan, 1986
Gary Moore, 1984
Ronnie Montrose, 1994
Danny Gatton, 1993
Alex Lifeson of Rush, 1992
Ann Wilson of Heart, 1985
J.J. Cale, 1990
Chris Cornell, 2008
Long John Baldry, 1985
Allan Holdsworth, 1983
Kim Mitchell, 1984
Warren Haynes of Allman Brothers, 1994
Derek Trucks, 1998
Susan Tedeschi, 1998
Joe Satriani, 2018
B.B. King, 1984
Albert Collins, 1985
Ronnie James Dio, 1985
Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, 1984
Dick Dale, 2000
Greg Allman, 1998
Dickey Betts, 2001
…with hundreds more to come

63 thoughts on “Yngwie Malmsteen calls Ibanez guitars “a bad copy” of the Strat and says Les Pauls are “furniture”

    1. and to think I was silly enough to think he was an egotist, now I am completely convinced. Look mate you have mad skills, that there is no doubt, but you really need to learn to keep your yapper shut. Makes you look like a complete tosser, cheeky b*astard. Signed “one of your peers.”

  1. It is not a copy, good or bad, because here in this world would be to give the consumer public a second or third option, because I believe that the existence of the company Ibanez as others are necessary to offer that second or Third option for the musician in general and I know that all this started from 1946. but I only know that the best quality has several companies of guitars worldwide and it is well that that is so. That Fender lives and that Ibanez lives because by that time both are already history …

      1. Only by relative body shape. Neck, headstock and sound and wiring is totally different. I won’t argue what is better because it doesn’t even matter and I own both.

  2. This, coming from the guy who never composed a tasteful lick in his life. I like Yngwie, but all he has is speed. Jimmy Page would disagree…

    1. His fingers may run like rats over the key board but seriously his music has got no soul. He rushes with everything he has in his head.

      About Ibanez ask Joe Sat. He can melt any soul with guitars he plays.

    2. Jimmy Page stole most of his songs and raped a 14 year old girl, so I’d say Malmsteen is still the better player and human being of the two.

  3. I had an art teacher in high school that swears up and down he went to school with this guy and grew up with him in Brooklyn, and that for him to say he’s Swedish is a joke.

    1. He is from Stockholm the capitol of Sweden. Why on earth do you believe he is from Brooklyn? I am from Sweden and YJM is one of our national icons for better or worse.

    1. No, the guy entered the guitar player spotlight, sending a tape then from Sweden and was discovered by Mike Varney or Shrapnel Records. Mike then brought him over here.

  4. So Ygn-wank Malm-stink says….”Yadda, yadda, yadda”…who the Hell cares, anyway? How is this over-inflated dick even remotely relevant to the real “gods of the guitar?” (Oh, that’s right, he’s NOT!)

    He’s just a posturing Swedish ponce who needs to play at positively blistering speeds in a desperate attempt to make up for his utter and complete lack of brilliance, originality, soul or taste.

    (I may be an absolute nobody, but I could play a 30 second solo using no more than five or six carefully selected notes, and do it with more passion, fire and soul than any five or six million of his!)

  5. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion I suppose – even a dickhead like Malmsteen. For him to slag off the Les Paul actually makes a great deal of sense, considering that Malmsteen wouldn’t know a tasteful lick or a great song if it kicked him in the ass.

  6. Although I don’t agree with him….I would argue that this player offers much more than speed. He is fairly amazing…..

  7. There are different types of music as well as different types of guitars! Can not put everything under a common word (copies) or (furniture)! Can not a person listening and playing a style of music to downplay everything else !!!! “The weakest musician becomes a music critic” …. like Malmstein !!
    It’s one thing to play a kind of music, and another is to understand it when one is a dry man, he understands only one thing that best works, while the other avoids him, and that makes him develop only on the one hand! Such a man can not give an objective assessment of things because he is underdeveloped

  8. I don’t see anything wrong with other guitars or other brands for that matter. Even Fender made copies of their Electric and Bass guitar thru Squier by Fender. Its a choice and preference, it’s good there are other option beside just buying Fender strat.

  9. He is right. Fender is the best. A Start or a Tele will do the job, any job. I once watched a bar fight up in Colorado and one of the band members was beating some idiot with a Les Paul. I remember thinking that was a good use for a Les Paul.

  10. Being a “purist”, you’d think he would know that Ferrari isn’t the original maker of the first cars.

  11. Hi , a purist maybe , guitar snob very much so . What a load of shit !!! Satriani and vai, both brilliant and help design better guitars every year with ibanez . If the Swedish big Noter did the same for fender I’d think about looking at one 👍

  12. I saw Yngwie in the early or mid eighties when he was playing with Alcatraz. He was doing a big show off solo in the middle of the set and threw his guitar up in that with the goal of catching it when it came back down and reuming his masturbating but he missed and it hit the floor. Best thing ever.

  13. Fender must have paid him a lot of money, or maybe Ibanez and Gibson had refused to pay him a lot of money.

    Fender guitars are brilliant and the Stratocaster is iconic, no doubt.

    But the electric guitar I picked after trying a few and have been playing for many years is an Ibanez guitar, and I know people who are as obsessed with Gibson as he is with Fender.

  14. “Yeah, Les Paul’s nice bein’ a piece of furniture,” -yngwie malmsteen..
    that;s such a arrogant statement….every electric guitars have their own character…for example…Slash..play gibson les paul…he dont need to play fast appegios to create such melodies…but his solos..were touch people heart around the worlds..Dimebag Darrel used Dean guitars..his solos/riffs were safe entire metal worlds….am sure Slash or Dimebag..couldn’t play like Malmsteen…but can yngwie malmsteen play like ’em???…

  15. Alright, I’m not a huge fan of shwing-shway, but he does have some points to what he says. You may hate his comments because you own some of the instruments he’s ranting about. Here are the facts: Ibanez made their first 15 or so years doing NOTHING BUT ripping off guitar designs and making cheaper (or more affordable) versions of many iconic guitars (for those who are OLD like me who remember…) but they have come into their own over the years with some fine guitars of their own design… Well, the Gibson comment being “furniture” kind of struck me funny because (fine) furniture is often made of Mahogany and is generally kind of Heavy… kind of like a Les Paul! Haha!…. Look, stop hating as a reflex and open your minds a bit. All I see is a guy making sarcastic (and funny) remarks about guitars he doesn’t use. Big deal. People automatically want to “go for the throat” when somebody says something they don’t agree with, as if it weakens YOUR opinion… It doesn’t. <3

  16. It’s an opinion nothing more. I like his music, some not all. As as his opinion on Guitars. That’s his Opinion. It’s Amazes me how everyone gets so Butt Hurt because somebody expressed their opinion . I’ll make sure to keep mine to myself. Might accidentally be construed as Fact. Opinion are like assholes while we all tend to have one & think it smells like Roses. In reality they all smell the same just like shit. That’s IS a Fact. Ciao

  17. More nonsense from the great Yankme Palmcream!
    Advice: write a real song and quit drowning turkeys!!! Hahaha

  18. Everything varies from guitar to guitar PERIOD.
    I’ve played amazing and horrible examples of new and vintage strats, les Paul’s etc.
    All have pros and cons
    All are just pieces of wood with magnets and strngs.

  19. You have no respect for tradition,take up the violin? Or a LesPaul! (Your green about joes success, yes the man can play but its his songwrighting and style as well)

  20. Wow, He just lowered my respect for him. Gibson, Fender and Ibanez are all great. It maybe your opinion, but I have to say it sucks.

  21. Yngwie is a good Guitarrist but he has a lot of ego Ibanez are great guitars completely different and Las Paul ‘ s body’s has been copied until today and even Suhr has a Las Paul model ,I try Yngwie model and you have to change your technique to play and I never bought any of his CD ‘S he is play the same no for the last 30 years

  22. If you sat, blindfolded, in front of a wall of electric guitars, and were handed each guitar to play for 5 minutes, do you think your final choice for favorite instrument would be the same as the one that’s in your home? I would guess not. Given the opportunity to try out so many choices would be unusual, yet, in reality, it should be the way you pick your guitar. Brand names are, in many cases, the only way some people pick there instrument. I’m no expert, but, I have played for 60+ years. I have owned dozens of guitars, including a Les Paul and several Ibanez models. My folks bought me my first Fender (a ’59 telecaster) in 1964. The first time I played it, i knew I had found the right one. Since then, I’ve owned Squires (real and fake), Jaguars, Telecasters, Mustangs, and Strats. In all those years, and all those guitars, the custom shop, fiesta red, unmolested strat I currently play is the finest of all the instruments I’ve ever owned. Everyone will have an opinion as to what their favorite is, and their entitled to that opinion. Just remember that if you find that perfect fit for you, it may be totally wrong for some one else.

  23. Wasn’t the Tele the original? Not a damn thing original about Yngwie. But the boy can definitely play. He just has a God complex. Thinks he is the beginning and the end.

  24. If he only knew the real story behind Les Paul and fender guitars he wouldn’t talk diarrhea by the way he’s very overrated !!!!!

  25. I really appreciate how Wingwang uses the Strats original pickups and original nut and original fretboard…being such an original purist 💩

  26. Big friggin. Who cares. Sss Stratocaster has a unique sound that made it more popular by designing it with all single coil pickups only because of the way it sounded. The 1st strats were designed with humbuckers. The shape is cosmetic. The sound is what made it famous. Ibanez wiring isn’t even close to a strat sound. I love strats as well as Ibanez. He is an elite guitarist but also an arrogant asshole.

  27. Truth hurts it appears! Bunch if buthurt fan boys crying for their Ibanez and Gibsons. I’m not a hater, heck I have an old 75 Ibanez bass and wouldn’t turn down a nice Les Paul, but I know this guy is speaking the truth.

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