The Duck Guitar was originally a 1972 Fender Stratocaster finished in Olympic White. Throughout the years, the paint has been faded to a cream-colored Aged Vintage White finish. Duck has been featured in several of Malmsteen's album covers as well as various interviews in magazines. The standard pickups have been replaced by DiMarzio pickups. The fingerboard is made of maple and is scalloped. The frets are jumbo sized Jim Dunlop 6000 frets. The guitar currently features a mint-green pickguard. The Duck guitar has various stickers pasted all over its body—a Donald Duck sticker at the headstock, a sticker with the words "Play Loud" in front, and Ferrari prancing horse logo stickers in the back. The guitar has numerous paint chips missing due to wear and tear over the years and also features several cigarette burns around the headstock.
Fender now makes a Yngwie Malmsteen Stratocaster signature series, which are replicas of the original Duck guitar, minus the stickers and burn marks.
History Behind "The Duck" Edit
This guitar was originally purchased by Malmsteen in Sweden, back in 1978, while he was still a teenager. Around 1980, Malmsteen was apprenticed to a luthier's shop named Tord's Guitar Verkstad and encountered a 17th-century lute that a customer had brought to repair. This lute featured a scalloped neck and intrigued Malmsteen enough to try scalloping the neck of an old guitar in similar fashion. The results were impressive enough to convince him to try the same operation out on some of his better guitars.
Around this time, he also replaced the standard frets on the fingerboard with jumbo frets. The guitar was refretted at least once in 1987 when an over-enthusiastic fan threw a half-empty bottle on stage in Anchorage, Alaska, striking the guitar so hard that it caused the 17th fret to pop out of the wood.
Originally, Malmsteen had replaced the bridge and neck pickups with DiMarzio HS-3 pickups, leaving the middle pickup as the original Fender pickup. In recent years, the neck and middle are DiMarzio YJM models and the bridge is a DiMarzio HS-3.
The various stickers on the guitar's body were applied over the years, with the Donald Duck sticker on the headstock being one of the first ones, as seen in some of his earliest photographs with that guitar. The guitar has also gradually accumulated its share of missing paint chips, cigarette burns and grime due to wear and tear on the road.
In a 1994 interview, the guitarist mentioned that the instrument had suffered damage due to him throwing it in the air and occasionally failing to catch it on the way back down. He also said that the headstock had been broken and replaced at least six times and that he put out cigarettes on it several times.
Malmsteen considered retiring the guitar at one point due to all the abuse it had taken, but he has since used it on several album tracks, as mentioned in a 2001 interview with Guitar World Magazine.
Malmsteen has shown a preference for cream colored guitars and owns several models (including many Strats, one of which has gut strings like a classical guitar and another one which is a 6/12-string double-neck). He has also mentioned that the "Duck" Strat is actually not his favorite Stratocaster guitar, but for some reason is one of the best-sounding ones that he owns.+