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Uli Jon Roth

Today we will tell you about guitarist Uli Jon Roth, best known for his membership in the classic lineup of the "Scorpions".


(Photo: Bluguitar.com)


  • He was born in Dusseldorf, Germany as Ulrich Roth, on December 18, 1954.

  • He is the brother of guitarist Zeno Roth.

  • He noted that his father, Carl-Joseph Roth, is his role model. His father instilled in him a love and knowledge of art, including painting and photography, writing poems, stories and novels.

  • He learned to play classical guitar and piano.

  • His early musical influences were "The Beatles", "Cream" and Jimi Hendrix.

  • From the moment Roth saw Jimi Hendrix perform live as a teenager, in January 1969, he connected with the music and identified with the style that shaped him later on.

  • Roth considers Jimi Hendrix to be one of the greatest artists of all time and has always stated that he was greatly influenced by him.

  • Later Roth was also influenced by guitarists David Gilmour, Ritchie Blackmore and Jeff Beck.

  • Roth discovered his love for the electric guitar in 1968 and made his first gig later that year, aged just 13, as the lead guitarist for the band "Blue Infinity".

  • While in high school, Roth played in several bands in Hanover, Germany, including "Dawn Road".

  • His influences at the time were Andrés Segovia and Julian Bream, but also the flamenco guitarist Manitas de Plata and the great violinist Yehudi Menuhin.

  • In 1973, after the release of the debut album "Lonesome Crow", Michael Schenker, who was Roth's friend, left the "Scorpions" to join "UFO". Before leaving the "Scorpions", Michael Schenker asked Roth to take his place in the band.

  • Later that year, in the summer of 1973, the two original "Scorpions" members - Rudolf Schenker and Klaus Meine - joined forces with the four members of "Dawn Road" - Uli Jon Roth's band.

  • Shortly after, the revived "Scorpions" made its debut, on a channel of German television. The two songs they played there led them to sign a 5-year recording contract with one of the biggest international record companies at the time, RCA.

  • During his five-year tenure as a member of the "Scorpions", Roth built his status as a guitar legend. He quickly established himself as one of the main songwriters in the band and gained an international reputation as one of the guitarists who revived the status of the electric guitar at the time.


  • Among other things, Roth is one of the first guitarists in the neo-classical metal genre who influenced generations of guitarists. Not for nothing he was nicknamed "father of neo-classical".

  • He recorded five albums with "Scorpions" - one in each year he was a member of the band. The first was "Fly To The Rainbow" from (1974), followed by "In Trance" (1975), "Virgin Killer" (1976) and "Taken by Force" (1977).

  • Roth's farewell album from "Scorpions", was a live album recorded in Japan in 1978 called "Tokyo Tapes". It is known as one of the greatest live albums in rock history and has influenced dozens of musicians.

  • In the spring of 1976, Roth met the German artist Monika Dannemann (who was with Jimi Hendrix in his last hours) in London. Soon the two began to develop an affair as Monica helps Roth and becomes his muse and the inspiration for his future works.

  • Despite his friendship with the other members of the "Scorpions", in the last year of his membership in the band Roth felt that he was very limited within the musical boundaries of the "Scorpions". His main ambition was to explore new areas of music and it was clear to him that the songs he wrote at that time would not fit the musical framework of the band. Therefore, in the spring of 1977, Roth felt he had to leave the band to move forward on his own.

  • After completing the recordings for "Taken By Force", Roth tendered his resignation to the band, but still remained with the band for another year due to the sense of loyalty he felt towards his bandmates.

  • Before their first tour of Japan - in April, 1978, Roth made it clear to the band that this would be his last tour as their lead guitarist.

  • Roth's solo in the song "Sails of Charon" from the album "Taken by Force", stands out with impressive speed and precision. The solo featured several classic techniques. Kirk Hammett "quoted" part of this insane solo in the song "Battery", the opening track of the masterpiece album "Master Of Puppets".


  • After leaving the "Scorpions" Roth founded "Electric Sun" - which was initially planned as a power trio in the tradition of "Cream" and "Jimi Hendrix Experience".

  • The band's first album "Earthquake" - was released in 1979. Already in this album, Roth created a unique style that was unlike anything else. A combination of Hendrix with distinct classical leanings, especially in the theme track "Earthquake" - a ten-minute instrumental epic that introduced a completely new approach to guitar playing.

  • The second "Electric Sun" album called "Fire Wind", was released in 1981 and was easier for the hard-rock-oriented listeners to digest. The standout track from it was a 4-part epic called "Enola Gay – Hiroshima Today?".

  • In 1985 the band released their third album "Beyond The Astral Skies", an album Roth considers as his best album, which includes the single "The Night The Master Comes".


  • At that time Roth started using the "Sky guitar" as his main guitar. This is a Roth designed guitar with a significantly longer fingerboard. The guitar created a buzz in the guitar industry because of its unique shape and ability to play much higher notes.

  • Roth continued to develop musically and in the second half of 1987 he began to write complex compositions with the intention of merging the classical and symphonic world with the sound and style he produced from his "Sky" guitar.

  • Unfortunately, the piece called "Sky Concerto" was never completed due to technical challenges related to the guitar, but these limitations gave Roth the idea to build the first seven-string "Sky" guitar - the Mighty "Wing".

  • In 1991, Roth published the musical piece "Aquila Suite – 12 Arpeggio Concert Etudes for Solo Piano".

  • In 1992, Roth wrote his first symphony, "Europa Ex Favilla", a work commissioned by a classical guitar festival in Belgium.

  • In 1996, Roth released "Sky of Avalon – Prologue to the Symphonic Legends (with Sky Orchestra)" - a highly melodic symphonic rock album, containing several outstanding tracks, including "Starlight", "Winds of War" and " Bridge to Heaven".

  • In April 1996, his old friend - Monica Denman passed away surprisingly. Roth immediately abandoned work on the album he was working on at the time "Soldiers of Grace" and began writing a requiem in memory of Monica. This double album is still unfinished although Roth considers the music he wrote to be some of his best and has stated that he intends to finish it at a later stage.

  • In 1998, Roth accepted Joe Satriani's invitation to join G3 on a European tour with Michael Schenker. The tour included a jam session with Brian May at London's Wembley Arena.

  • In 2000, the double album "Transcendental Sky Guitar" was released, partially recorded live in Vienna. The album included many classical pieces, including Mussorgsky's "BABA YAGA" from 1874.


  • In 2003, Roth recorded "Metamorphosis of the Seasons" containing a genius version of the work "The Four Seasons" by Antonio Vivaldi. Roth wrote a "Fifth Season" based on themes from Vivaldi's masterpiece, the piece is called "Metamorphosis Concerto" and it ends the album.

  • In 2005, Roth reunited with his old band "Scorpions". They have not appeared together on stage since the days of "Tokyo Tapes", from 1978.

  • In 2006 the "Scorpions" performed a reunion show at the world's largest heavy metal festival, "Wacken Open Air" in Germany, in front of more than 80,000 people with the participation of Roth, Michael Schenker and Herrman Rarebell. The concert led to a DVD release under the title "A Night to Remember".

  • During that year, Roth founded a music school in Los Angeles and called it "Sky Academy", intended to share his musical philosophy.

  • Over the years, Roth has gained a reputation as a gifted guitar player who can play almost anything without prior preparation. Because of this rare ability, Roth was often invited for spontaneous guest appearances with other artists, such as: "Deep Purple", "The Smashing Pumpkins", Slash, Jack Bruce, Rick Wakeman, Michael Schenker, Paul Gilbert, Doro, "Avantasia", Rachel Barton -Pine, Robbie Krieger, Leslie West, "Gamma-Ray", Richie Kotzen, "Angra", Gus G, "UFO and more.

  • One of the examples of Roth's tremendous improvisational ability occurred at the "Rock Em Ring" festival in Germany in 2007 in front of an audience of about 90,000. Roth appeared as a guest of "The Smashing Pumpkins" on a televised show. Roth played some memorable, completely improvised solos there with Billy Corgan, including a 20-minute improvisation during the song "Gossamer," which proved to be the musical highlight of the evening.

  • In the fall of 2008, Roth released the album "Under A Dark Sky" with "Sky Orchestra". A concept album that includes the monumental 18-minute epic "Tanz in die Dämmerung", the idea of ​​which was based on a novel of the same name written by Roth's father.

  • In 2015, Roth released "Scorpions Revisited", a double album consisting entirely of early "Scorpions" songs given new life and exciting new performances.

  • In the same year, Roth decided to establish his own "Sky Guitars" company called UJR-SKY-GUITARS - dedicated to the production of a new series and models of "Sky Guitars". One of the models featured an 8-string acoustic guitar with nylon strings, called the "Flamenco Sky Guitar".

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