Michael Schenker

Michael Schenker was born Michael Willy Schenker in Sarstedt, West Germany, on the 10th of January 1955.

Michael Schenker began learning the guitar at a young age playing his older brother Ruldoph’s Gibson Flying V.

Rudolph would go to work for the day and during his absence Michael would play his guitar. As soon as Ruldolph began to hear Michael’s accurate transcriptions of melodies and licks from records he began paying Michael to transcribe songs and solos for him while he was at work.

At the age of 11 Michael performed his first gig along side older brother Rudolph with “The Scorpions” at a night club. Michael would eventually join the scorpions at the age of 17 as their lead guitar player.

After The Scorpions toured Germany with English band UFO Michael was offered a position by UFO members to join the group as their lead guitarist. Michael accepted the offer replacing former UFO guitar player Bernie Marsden and passing his Scorpions lead guitar position onto Uli Jon Roth.

During the time that Michael joined UFO he barely spoke English, the members achieved most of their communication through their playing. Michael contributed most of the songs to UFO’s debut album “Phenomenon”.

After a successful run with UFO, Michael left the band in 1978, after his departure UFO released their iconic live album “Strangers In The Night”.
Michael rejoined The Scorpions briefly the same year contributing solos to three songs of the “Lovedrive” album; “Coast To Coast”, “Lovedrive” and “Another Piece Of Meat.”

Michael briefly toured with The Scorpions in support of the album “Lovedrive” but his growing alcohol problems caused several cancelled shows and he was replaced by Mathias Jabs.

In the mid 1970’s Michael Schenker was one of the many guitar players to audition for the position of lead guitarist in The Rolling Stones following the departure of Mick Taylor. In 1979 Michael also auditioned for Aerosmith after Joe Perry left the group.

Following the death of Randy Rhoads, Michael was the first person Ozzy Osbourne contacted to take Randy’s place as lead guitar player due to the fact that Michael had been one of Randy’s biggest influences, but Michael declined Ozzy’s offer. In 1979 Michael embarked on a solo career founding “The Michael Schenker Group” commonly referred to as “MSG”.


Michael Schenker is renowned for his signature Gibson and Dean Flying V guitars.

Michael played Gibson Flying V guitars for the majority of his career, later switching to Dean Flying V’s.

Michael has enjoyed an equally loyal relationship with Marshall amplifiers. He achieves his signature midrange guitar tone by playing through a partially engaged wah wah pedal.

Musical Techniques, Concepts and Approaches

Michael Schenker has one of the most unique and distinctive guitar playing styles in rock music.

He often plays with weird and wonderful mixtures of major and minor pentatonic and the dorian and mixolydian modes.

His lead guitar playing is further characterised by fast and fluent scale runs with both picking and legato, confident wide vibrato, large bends and charismatic rock phrasing.

As well as being an accomplished lead guitarists Michael Schenker is also a talented rhythm player. His full blown, rock and roll rhythm playing and riffs have been cited as an important element in the development of hard rock and heavy metal.

Influence In Rock Guitar Playing

Michael Schenker is considered to be one of the most influential rock guitar players of all time.

His distinctive lead guitar and rhythm guitar styles have influenced countless notable rock guitar players, some of which include Kirk Hammett, James Hetfield, Dave Mustaine, Slash, Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads.

Michael is cited as a prominent figure in the development of hard rock and heavy metal, he also raised the bar for guitar playing technique and inspired such advanced rock guitar players as Joe Satriani, Randy Rhoads, Steve Vai and Yngwie Malmsteen.

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