Uli Jon Roth invented the Sky guitar because 24 frets weren’t enough


By Steve Newton

German guitar legend Uli Jon Roth plays Vancouver this Saturday (March 19) on a bill with fellow six-string sensations Jennifer Batten and Andy Timmons. The show is part of Uli Jon Roth’s Ultimate Guitar Experience, a tour that promises to be a perfect warmup for the Generation Axe show in April, which features Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Zakk Wylde, Nuno Bettencourt, and Tosin Abasi.

While Roth first shot to fame as the lead-guitarist for Scorpions in the ’70s, performing mainly on a Stratocaster–emulating his idol Jimi Hendrix–you don’t seem him ripping up the frets on a Fender any more. Now he only plays Sky Guitars, a model he conceived of in the early ’80s because–hey, 24 frets just weren’t doin’ it for him.

Roth talked about the Sky guitar when he called me up from a tour stop in Ventura, California, last Thursday:


To hear my full 21-minute interview with Uli, become a patron of the Newt on Patreon, where you can also hear my interviews with such guitar greats as Guthrie Govan, Carlos Santana, Walter Trout, Jennifer Batten, Link Wray, Buddy Guy, Tosin Abasi, Jeff Beck, Albert King, Johnny Ramone, Steve Howe, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Roy Buchanan, Gary Moore, Ronnie Montrose, Danny Gatton, Allan Holdsworth, Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes, Tony Iommi, Albert Collins, B.B. King, Yngwie Malmsteen, Alex Lifeson, Joe Satriani, and Dickey Betts.

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