Following in a long line of rock and roll greats, Yngwie Malmsteen has been smashing guitars for almost as long as he's been playing the instrument.
The Swedish guitar virtuoso estimates that he's smashed around 100 guitars in his 35-plus-year career. So when Swedish tech company Sandvik decided to engineer an all-metal, unbreakable guitar, there was one person they had in mind to literally crash test the instrument.
"When I was seven, I saw Jimi Hendrix smash a guitar on TV," Malmsteen recalls. "So I started playing guitar so I could smash it."
Sandvik gathered a team of experts to devise how they could use sustainable, cutting-edge techniques to make a guitar that is both useable and incredibly durable. They built the guitar and issued a challenge to Malmsteen.
You can watch Malmsteen put the Sandvik guitar to the test in the player above.
The team determined the most crucial element of their design would be the joint between the neck and the body of the guitar. So the neck and fretboard were milled in one machine from solid bars of recycled stainless steel, a material never before used in guitar construction. The neck and fretboard were then extended into a rectangular shape to rest deep in the guitar's titanium body. \
But engineers also had to figure out how to make the guitar lightweight enough that it would be practical for Malmsteen to play onstage.
The body was 3D printed, using lasers to fuse hair-thin layers of titanium into the body shape. Sandvik says the process is ideal because there is almost no wasted material.
Malmsteen received the guitar at a club in Florida.
After playing several songs with it, it was clobberin' time.
The guitar hero first swung the instrument at an amplifier cabinet, shattering the speaker housing. He then tried busting the guitar over a wedge monitor at the front of the stage.
When that didn't work, he launched it across the stage. After retrieving it, he tried to bust the thing on a monitor, headstock first. Then he swung the guitar like an axe at the drum riser, punching a hole through the platform. Running out of ideas, Malmsteen flung the guitar straight up into the air only for it to crash into the ground ... all in one piece, and perhaps most impressively, still in tune!
"To break it is impossible, but you can break other things with it," the guitarist conceded. "Yeah, it's a beast."
Photo: Getty Images