Having a classical music background alongside my love for rock and metal, the influence of Yngwie Malmsteen has been significant in my development as a guitarist and composer. Not only is he one of the world’s greatest guitarists, but his sound is extremely unique. In the many genres of Metal, much of the guitar tone becomes very thin and over-compressed, even with heavy detuning. Not that there is anything “wrong” with that, but the vintage-style tone of a Fender Stratocaster allows for great dynamics and clarity.
In my quest for killer tone, I wanted something similar to the Fender Yngwie Malmsteen Stratocaster (Model : 010711), but without the hefty price tag. Here’s what I did:
I started with a stock Fender Standard Stratocaster (Model : 014460). Rather than use a generic, aftermarket body, I opted for an official Fender body to ensure that the tone wood would be up to spec. The first modification I did was to replace the stock pickups for a set of Seymour Duncan YJM Fury Pickups. Stock pickups on Strats, while having clarity, tend to be very brittle. The YJM Fury pickups maintain their clarity while offering power and warmth to the sound.
Next, I replaced the stock neck with a scalloped Fender-licensed YJM neck manufactured by Mighty Mite. It has a vintage headstock, a 9.5 inch radius, and a 22nd fret as a bonus, making that high E just a little easier to bend. A scalloped neck allows for very easy string bending and thick vibrato. Having the wood carved out between the frets completely eliminates any friction between the fingers and the fretboard. While this sounds like it would make it easier to play, it does only if you have a very light technique. Muscling notes on a scalloped neck will only push them out of tune. I play with a light touch anyway, so the transition was not awkward at all.
Connecting the neck to the body was very easy, as was transferring the tuning machines. The string tree took a little longer, but proved to be relatively simple.
The final modification was installing the brass nut. The advantage of this is that the metal has a much brighter sound than the stock nut, and it adds clarity to open strings and chords ring more clearly.
After my guitar was completed, I saved hundreds of dollars by modding a stock Stratocaster, and it plays and sounds great! \m/\m/
For my personal setup, I use Ernie Ball 9-46 Hybrid Slinky strings, detuned 1/2 step.
Parts purchased from:
Body: Fender Standard Stratocaster (Artic White) zZounds.com
Pickups: Seymour Duncan YJM Fury (Prewired w/ Pickguard) majorbrands4less (Ebay)
Neck: Fender-licensed YJM neck by Mighty Mite Shred Legacy USA (Ebay)
Brass Nut: Fender Yngwie Malmsteen Brass Nut einstein110877 (Ebay)