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Play Like Yngwie Malmsteen: How to Master the "Sevens" Mechanic

(Image credit: MN Chan/Getty Images)

In this instructional video, guitarist Troy Grady investigates one of the unusual asymmetrical groupings of Yngwie Malmsteen’s scale playing: a concept known as "sevens."

"Although Malmsteen is known for launching a wave of interest in three-note-per-string scale playing, he is ironically a pioneer of unorthodox note groupings that fit better with his unique combination of downward pickslanting and sweeping," Grady says.

"In this lesson, we examine Malmsteen’s ingenious use of groups of seven as a device for moving up the fretboard. The uneven distribution of notes in this pattern—three on one string, and four on another—makes string-switching super efficient, and a blazing Malmsteen classic is born.

For more about Grady's Masters in Mechanics series, visit

Grady is also writing and producing lessons for these days. Be sure to check out two installments of "Cracking the Code with Troy Grady"—Yngwie Malmsteen's Rotational Picking Mechanic and Eric Johnson's Pickslanting Pentatonics.

Damian Fanelli

Damian is editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine. From 1998 to 2014, he was one third of Mister Neutron, an instrumental rock act that toured the universe and elsewhere and released three albums via Austin-based Deep Eddy Records. These days he performs with several New York City-area bands and can often be spotted with one of his many, many, many B-bender-equipped guitars. In past lives he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor – and he still can’t believe he got to write the liner notes for the latest SRV box set.