Uli Jon Roth calls Yngwie Malmsteen “one of the alltime greats”, but says he’s not impressed by speed


By Steve Newton

When Uli Jon Roth called me up the other day to promote his upcoming Ultimate Guitar Experience show in Vancouver, we ended up chatting about some of the other guitar tours he’s been on, like the G3 European Tour back in 1998, when he shared the stage with Joe Satriani and Michael Schenker, who didn’t get along so well.

I also asked him about the Guitar Gods tour that took place last year, without realizing that he never actually played any gigs on that tour due to visa problems. That tour would have seen him in the company of Yngwie Malmsteen–as well as Gary Hoey and Bumblefoot–so I asked him what he would have thought of touring with Yngwie, and also how he ranked him as a guitarist.

As you can hear in this excerpt, Roth raved about Yngwie, calling him “one of the alltime greats.” That led me to wonder how impressed Roth is by a guitar player’s speed, and he chuckled at the query before explaining that playing fast is not one of his main goals.


To hear my full 21-minute interview with Uli, become a patron of the Newt on Patreon.

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7 responses to “Uli Jon Roth calls Yngwie Malmsteen “one of the alltime greats”, but says he’s not impressed by speed

  1. My now deceased best friend Don Rawlings played a club back in the 1980’s in which there were 2 stages. As he exclaimed to me that night Yngwie got really jealous and angry because the majority of the people in attendance were at Don’s stage watching him play and few at Yngwie’s stage to hear him. My friend Don was a way better guitarist than Yngwie and Yngwie couldn’t handle that fact. As my friend Don, whom taught me was a brilliant, gifted, genius guitarist. One of the best in the world. Although I’m sure you’ve never heard of him. He was a very humble, down to earth person whom is missed greatly. Yngwie, in my opinion, is a self righteous, spoiled, jealous, brat. Whom, in my opinion, has a terrible tone and his speed is played without feeling not emotion. I care not for him as a guitarist and think he doesn’t deserve the recognition that he has. Have a great day everybody! 😊

    Thank you for your time,
    – Timothy

  2. R.I.P. to your friend, I’m sorry to hear that he passed away. But your opinion is very flawed, in MY opinion. You’re commenting on a thread in which ULI JON ROTH stated unequivocally that Yngwie is EASILY one of the TOP TEN ALL-TIME GREATS! He then says that he is not impressed by speed. So it must be OTHER aspects of Yngwie’s playing that impressed him so much as to make a statement like this. I’ve been playing guitar for 43 years now, about 35 years professionally, and play rock, jazz, classical and other styles with a good degree of proficiency. When I assess a guitarist’s playing ability, and whether I like his or her playing, the ONLY factors I take into account are that person’s actual playing – NOT popularity, whether other people agree with me, what others say about him/her, the guitarist’s PERSONALITY and any defects thereof, whether the guitarist has humility or not. NONE of that matters one bit, only their playing and sound they produce. I’ll take my own opinion, and that of ULI JON ROTH, Guthrie Govan, Vai, Satriani, Gus G., Zakk Wylde, and many, many others, all of whom say that Yngwie is one of the best in the world, over your opinion any day! Good day, sir.

    • Not me, I evaulate everyone’s opinion equally, but ultimately I rely on my own thoughts.
      And I agree with Tim on many of his comments, especially in reference to Malmsteen’s “Ego”.

  3. Malmsteen is one of my all time favourites, not because of his speed but because he plays with passion and really makes the instrument sing. I don’t know him personally so can’t really comment on his character but he’s one hell of a great guitarist. I’m also a professional guitarist who is mainly classical but I also play rock and funk too since 1978. I understand where Uli is coming from.

  4. I saw that tour, Bumbkefoot STOLE the show by a “Long Shot”, Gary Hoey was, OK, but I actually LEFT halfway through Yngwie Malmsteen’s set. I didn’t hear any “compositions”, just one long sloppy solo after another, and too much “Bass” in the mix, Sloppy Sloppy Sloppy.
    I was very disappointed that You Jon Roth was not there.

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