By: Rich Roger
Welcome to a segment on the Hirajoshi Scale. Written by Rich Roger. The meaning of the word Hirajoshi is; (Hira = even, level, tranquil, standard or regular) (Joshi = tuning). The Hirajoshi scale is a 5 note scale and is commonly referred to as the Japanese Pentatonic For all of you “Kamikaze” theory buffs out there; the intervallic formula for the Hirajoshi scale is 1(Root), 2, b3, 5, b6. . The wide intervallic leap from the b3 to the 5th degree (no 4th is present in the scale) and the b6th to the upper tonic (no 7th is present) of the scale is what gives it that japanese sound, and with the right phrasing you can make notes sing, cry or feel as though you are turning Japanese!
How To Read The Tablature:
I have added the root notes and fingering to the scale patterns. This will make playing them easier.
Work on one scale pattern at a time, and make sure each note sounds clean and precise. Memorize the notes and fingering for each pattern, and with patience and practice you will be able to execute these with speed and precision. Use a metronome religiously, play them in various note groupings such as 8th Notes, Triples, 16th Notes, etc. Don’t just rush through the patterns, listen to the notes.
B Hirajosji Full Neck View
Here is a diagram showing the B Hirajoshi scale across the fretboard. The B Hirajoshi scale is made up of the 5 notes B, C#, D, F#, and G. Think of a minor scale with no 4th and no flat7th degree. The degrees of the scale are 1(B), 2(C#), flat3(D), 5(F#), flat6 (D). Next I’ll make some sense out of this muddle of notes and break it down into 5 “box” pattern scale shapes for you to shred. Your end result should be to visalize the notes across the neck as in this diagram, this will open pathways to succesfully nailing the phrasing the asian within yourself has yet to unleash!!
The Five Hirajoshi Scale “Box” Patterns
Now we’ll dive into the 5 Hirajoshi scale patterns. These examples like the full neck diagram before are in the key of B Hirajoshi. I have not only given you tab examples but I also graphed out fretboard diagrams showing you the notes and the fingerings for each pattern. Be sure to check out Part II for phrasing, arpeggios and other Hirajoshi frenzy.