Rudi Schenker

Groupology

  • Scorpions

Jurassic

Watch Rudi Schenker in Action at the bottom of this page!

Famous / Infamous for

If Ma and Pa Schenker had only had one son — possessing the songwriting talent of Rudi, combined with the lead guitar talent of Michael, they would have produced the world's ultimate guitar hero. But it didn't happen that way, and Rudi Schenker is mostly famous for being Michael Schenker's older and far more level-headed brother. Rudi is yet another German, Flying V-wielding axeman. In fact it was Rudi who turned Michael on to Flying Vs. Rudi Schenker's guitar collection is huge, and features primarily Flying Vs. At last count, he had 54 Vs, including at least one from every year of production.

Influences

Rudi has listed the Beatles, the Stones, the Shadows, the Pretty Things, the Yardbirds, and Led Zeppelin among his influences.

Strengths

Songwriting. Rudi is the Scorpions' driving force and primary songwriter. He has shown remarkable consistency in creating a wide variety of tasty, melodic metal. Fast, driving riff rockers, like Don't Make No Promises, Blackout, Dynamite, Rock You like a Hurricane, and Lovedrive. Moody mid-paced classics like Fly People Fly, In Trance, The Zoo, Big City Nights, Crossfire, and Don't Believe Her. And then there's melodic power ballads like Lady Starlight, When the Smoke is Going Down, Holiday, Still Loving You, and Winds of Change — those last two were big hits. Rudi's songs features great hooks, big choruses, and are always very melodic.

Consistency. As a songwriter, Rudi's does it all, and has been doing it very well for over 30 years!

Melody. Rudi's melodic sense is similar in flavor to Michael's (though not quite as deep). You can hear it when Rudi takes a solo, but it primarily comes across in his songwriting.

Rhythm guitar. Rudi's forté along with songwriting. Rudi never had the desire to be a hot lead guitarist. He focussed primarily on songwriting. Along the way, he became one of metal's best rhythm guitarists in the tradition of AC/DC's Malcolm Young.

Weaknesses

Rudi is not a bad lead player, but he's never made lead guitar his priority. Consequently, he's not an all-around threat. He doesn't have the accomplished lead chops that most "Guitar Heroes" possess. He's neither fast, nor flashy. However, when he does take a solo, it's usually in the context of a slow ballad; and since Rudi is very melodic, he is usually quite effective. A great example is the stunningly beautiful solo in Still Loving You.

Tone

Rudi's tone is pretty simple and straight forward: A Gibson Flying V through EL34-based Marshall amps. As stated, he has many Vs and in the 80s, he took about a dozen of them on tour with him. At that time, he called a 1974 model his "main guitar." This axe was painted half black and half white — similarly to Michael Schenker's preferred paint scheme. At one stage in the late 80s, he was dabbling with Rivera amps.

Guitar Style

Rudi's rhythm style features the standard rock chords: root 6 and 5 bar chords, power chords and folk chords. But as a versatile songwriter, you also get some more interesting chord voicings — particularly on ballads where it's fairly obvious that he wrote the parts on acoustic guitar. A particular Rudi trademark is a progression of repetitive minor arpeggios featuring a moving note on the bass strings. When the Smoke is Going Down, Holiday, and Still Loving You all feature this similar stylistic approach.

Rudi typically only takes one or two solos per album, and usually they usually are on the afore-mentioned power ballads. Notable exceptions include: Animal Magnetism, You Give Me All I Need, As Soon as the Good Times Roll, and Big City Nights. In many ways, he sounds a lot like Michael — but without the chops. There's not much flash, but Rudi is an emotional soloist and his leads focus on feel, melody, and often just a touch of attitude. Rudi knows some licks, but he's more about slow, melodic, phrasing. Rudi is a great example for beginners of how much can be accomplished without having great lead chops. Scale-wise, it's Pentatonic and Aeolian minor.

Rudi doesn't have a disciplined alternate picking technique and his guitar style doesn't demand one.

Vibrato:

Rudi's vibrato is not highly developed. When you hear it at all, it's pretty quick and narrow. He will do some nice slow, controlled bends.

Rudi Schenker in Action

Recommended listening

Scorpions

Profile by Dinosaur David B. Copyright ©2002 All rights reserved.