Turning Japanese With Pentatonics

*Editors Note* After posting this I saw that the graphics are dark. I am working on this but in the mean time in order to view the tabs for the exercises click on them and and you will be able to clearly see them.

(Level: Beginner -Intermediate)
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.
Before you start:

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.

Pattern 1

Pattern 2

Pattern 3
Pattern 4
Pattern 5
For more guitar lessons you can search this blog or you can check out the Rock House Method at http://www.rockhousemethod.com/
You can checvk out more on Rich Roger at http://www.richroger.com/ or you can hit hit him up on My Space at www.myspace.com/richroger


fatb0t said...

Hm, totally forgot about this scale.
Didn't Friedman use it extensively?
I gotta tinker around with that one a bit, might add a little spice to my playing.
Thanks for the diagrams too :)

sarge1875 said...

I think it has a very cool sound to it, I'm trying to work it into some sessions and see what happens