Iconic guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen compared his playing style with Brian May and Ritchie Blackmore and reflected on their differences in a previous interview with the Japanese magazine Young Guitar.

Yngwie Malmsteen became known as a talented guitarist back in the 1980s for his neoclassical playing style in heavy metal. Throughout a music career spanning over four decades, Malmsteen has has released 22 studio albums.

When he was young, Malmsteen was heavily influenced by classical music, especially the 19th-century virtuoso violinist and composer Niccolò Paganini and Johann Sebastian Bach. Besides, Ritchie Blackmore was also one of his greatest guitar influences.

Ritchie Blackmore is another guitarist inspired by classical music. In his soloing, he combines rock and blues sound with elements of European classical music. On the other hand, Brian May is a classically trained musician who has often noted that Queen found inspiration in classical music.

On January 26, Yngwie Malmsteen shared an interview he had given to the Japanese magazine Young Guitar on his YouTube channel. In the interview, which took place in 2021, Malmsteen had said that his classical influences come from Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, Nicolai Paganini, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, not from other guitar players.

Moreover, the guitarist also said he loves and respects Uli Jon Roth, Ritchie Blackmore, Billy Gibbons, Angus Young, and Brian May. However, he made it clear that his playing style originates directly from classical violin and Bach, not from somebody who is influenced by Bach. So, it seems like Malmsteen thinks he differs from the other guitarists due to this aspect.

During the interview, Yngwie Malmsteen said the following:

“My classical influence is 100 percent from Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, Nicolai Paganini, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, and so on. My classical influence does not come from other guitar players; let’s make that perfectly clear.

Having said that, I love Uli Jon Roth, I love Ritchie Blackmore, I love Billy Gibbons, I love Angus Young, I love Brian May… I think they’re all amazing guitar players. I have a lot of respect for them.

I’m not knocking them one way or the other, I’m saying my style is originating from classical violin; Vivaldi, Paganini. And the structuring of my music is very influenced by Johann Sebastian Bach. Not by somebody who is influenced by Johann Sebastian Bach, no, but Johann Sebastian Bach. And it’s a very, very big difference.”

You can watch the rest of the interview below.