View Full Version : Strictly Hirajoshi

04-14-2005, 10:18 PM
Since I liked Russī "Strictly..."-threads so much, I wanted to keep his idea going. Yes, weīve been through all the modes ( sans locrian... now wouldnīt THAT be fun ?!? ), I figured that we still could keep this thing going, since there are many more interesting scales.
Maybe creating "Strictly"-threads on those might help some to get into using those scales... after all, it can be quite an interesting experience to try playing on a scale you havenīt tried before.
So, to keep the ball rollinī, I picked one of my favorite scales... the Hirajoshi scale. Jorge mentioned it in one of his articles, and I have talked about it before. And if you have listened to Jason Becker or Marty Friedman ( or both of them, in Cacophony ), you most likely have heard them use it quite a bit.

So I harmonized the scale and got some very cool chords ( quite mysterious-sounding ). I simpyl stacked the "thirds" ( this scale is actually a pentatonic, so I got some quite unusual harmonies out of it... )

Here is the scale, in E:
Youīll prolly notice that this is very similar to the E minor scale / E min pentatonic. Basically, itīs an Emin-scale minus D and B... so after all, Hirajoshi isnīt quite that strange... prolly a good first scale to explore after going through the modes.
I programmed a jam-track for it, which has 2 different chord progressions. Itīs not the most creative piece of music, but then again, I think that wasnīt the intention of the strictly-threads anyway.
So without further ado, hereīs the jamītrack for you to jam on ( donīt be afraid, give it a try, itīs fun ). And also, thereīs my first take:

I did two takes, one with the main ( distorted ) lead guitar, the other with a clean sound, adding little fills. As usual, the lead guitar was a first take. I noticed afterwards that some of the lower notes are a tidbit sharp, I guess I need to fix the intonation of the guitar.
But anyway, looking forward to hear your takes on it

PS: For some fun, try emulating a Koto-Sound, the Friedman-way: Right after you pick the note, add a very quick small bend ( about a half-step ). Release it again immediately... it has to be quick. With a clean sound, you can get that japanese-type sound.

04-14-2005, 10:59 PM
An interesting scale choice... I'll have to give it a go when I get time to record...

...and thanks for spelling "strictly" correct. :D

Los Boleros
04-14-2005, 11:12 PM
Cool Solo Eric. There were times where I thought maybe it needed to venture into harmonic minor but you did a nice job of keeping it stricktly.

04-14-2005, 11:24 PM
Well, I did borrow the occasional D and A from the natural minor scale, but other than that, I tried to stick to the scale, simply because I was disqualified for using the F# in the "strickly pentatonic" thread =)
Thanks a lot, man

04-15-2005, 09:36 AM
wow THIS is gonna be hard ....

awesome take Eric!!! loved it!!

04-15-2005, 09:49 AM
Thanks a bunch, Robert, glad you liked it.
But man, it does not need to be hard. I mean, I was hoping people would enjoy trying to play over this one... I mean, you donīt have to shred all over the fretboard. Why not just limit yourself to a small segment of the fretboard and try to play some slower stuff... I think itīs gonna be fun.
The interesting thing is that, as I mentioned before, the scale can be interpreted basically as a minor scale minus 2 notes. So itīs not gonna sound all THAT weird, but it might be interesting to see what kind of melodies and runs you get out of this scale. If you stick to just the scale notes, it can be a good lesson to see how many different sounds you can get out of the regular minor scale if you try to leave some notes out.
Anyway, looking forward to hear you and the others play on it !

04-15-2005, 10:02 AM
I donīt know whether thisīll be useful, but I figured maybe I should try to show you how I think pattern-wise when I play on a scale like Hirajoshi.
Check the ptb in this post ( or the pdf if you use a Mac )
First, there are the chords I got out of the scale, the chords that are used in the backing track ( talk about chords made up from stacking fourths, huh =) )
Next, there is a small pattern of the scale.
I then take this small pattern and just repeat it once I reach the next E. So you basically just have to remember that little pattern, and visualize it from any E you wanna start from.
Hope this helps

04-15-2005, 10:21 AM
thanks a lot for taking time to write down that stuff!!

I sat down and worked out the scaled on the fretboard and thats basically how i'm looking at it too, "find the root and work from there".

cool chords too!!
thanks again

04-15-2005, 10:40 AM
Cool! A five note scale with 2 semitone steps in it! Can't resist doing a bad solo over this...

In addition to Eric's info I printed a fretboard diagram from "looknohands" (it's Friday!) and the E hirajoshi has a nice "shape" between the 7th and 12th frets (my personal favourite part of the neck) with some nice stretch options on the top two strings.

By the way, I think Russ was actually going to do a "Strickly Locrian"??

04-15-2005, 10:42 AM
Nice one Eric, and thanks for all the info!!!
Love the sound of that scale!
I will definately be giving this one a go, I'll deliver it along with my Lyd, Mixo and Aeol/mixo/harm (hopefully have everything done this weekend!) ones to Russ, and hopefully take advantage of his 'fine upstanding upload services' again!!!:D

04-15-2005, 10:46 AM
here it is ... 2nd take in opposition to usual. was fun, turned out less painful than i thought. Maybe coz its noon not 4am lol.

well basically i tried to stick to the scale, i didn't leave much breathing space, thats a minus ... i took it as a learn the hirajoshi scale than do a structured solo, so things may sound like a bunch of licks stuck together. Apologese for that.

A couple of out notes escaped me at some points or mistakes like dreaded dead notes, lol sorry about that. Also, solo gets quit boring after a while.

Thanks eric this was instructive, i learned the hirajoshi scale today. Go figure, yesterday i actually decided to nail down some new scales today.

Well any advice are welcome!

questions, what do you use for your backing tracks? I know russ uses a drum machine then places guitar over them digitally. Trying to gather info together and see whats a good piece of equip to get hands on.

04-15-2005, 10:53 AM
Very nice, it's very similar to the way I was imagining using it after hearing Erics take!!! Great stuff!!!!

04-15-2005, 10:55 AM
Robert, listening to your take right now, and I like it a lot ! Great job on it. I especially like that little melody at about 0:35-0:38, that interval skip sounds great, kinda dramatic.
I also like the use of dynamics here... you start out kinda careful, and then emphasize certain notes, which makes them stand out more.
The part between 1:50 and 2:00 is really nice, too... kinda building tension. Even though itīs an improvisation, you put some sequences or themes in there, and that I really dig.
Ainīt it cool that you created this so short after learning the scale itself ?
Good job, man !

04-15-2005, 10:59 AM
Cool :) definately will try something out over this backing.

Some arpeggio ideas:

E G B -> Em
F# B E G C -> F# B C E G -> F#7sus4(b5,b9)
G C F# B E -> G B F# C E -> Gmaj7(11,13)
B E G C F# -> B E F# C G -> Bsus4(b9, b13)
C F# B E G -> C E G B F# -> Cmaj7(#11)

04-15-2005, 10:59 AM
...and regarding the creation of the backing track, I of course used my trusty old Yamaha QY 300 hardware sequencer for it, as always. I was having technical problems though, there is somethign wrong with it, it seems. ( No wonder, considering how much I used it )... it kept skipping bars, or randomly jumping around when playing back the song.
So it took me 8 takes to get the backing track onto the PC... and one take to do the lead guitar ( I am skipping less... =) )
Anyway, I just threw that track together in about 10 minutes, using a Koto sound and some synth-pad-sound. I know the drums donīt sound a lot like ancient japanese music, but I wanted them in there to keep the beat going.

04-15-2005, 11:10 AM
thanks a lot guys :o
too kind!!

i need this after the aeolian mess lmao!

good idea to get out the arps factor, that would indeed be cool to put them to good use!!

thanks again, keep them coming!

04-15-2005, 11:12 AM
BTW, I mentioned Jorgeīs articles about exotic scales, and in Part 2, he mentioned Hirajoshi as well. Here is a link to it, in case you havenīt read it yet:

04-15-2005, 11:45 AM
Sounds cool! Is it applicable/usable over changes other than chords derived from the scale? I guess it could work pretty well over some chords if used fairly sparingly.

04-15-2005, 11:48 AM
It sure can be used over different chord progressions, too. You can i.e. use "E Hirajoshi" over any chord progression in E minor, or even in place of the regular E min scale ( whatever you use that over ) since itīs basically an Emin scale with 2 notes missing.
Hope this helps

04-15-2005, 12:30 PM
Whooaaaa! Missed this one, been sleeping.

Wait til I get home!

Great job Eric, I'm looking forward to having a pop!

Thanks for keeping the "stricklys" alive .

Poparad, tsk, you should know better by now how we spell "strictly" here at Ibreathe...I guess Eric just forgot in the title;)

04-15-2005, 03:13 PM
Well, here's my first take on this. It's very sloppy... it sounds like I'm still trying to listen but hey, I see this as training for jamming and getting phrases out in one try (a.k.a. improvisation :p). So here it is, not much development there is one thing I like and is that little idea I seem to repeat over and over, based off of a CMaj7#11 arpeggio... asides from that just regular noodling. I'll probably post a better take later on, I just wanted to post my first before I get so disgusted with it that I decide that I want to retake.

04-16-2005, 12:23 PM
Tasty stuff Bobby/Jorge!

Here's my effort. unfortunately, it's a disqualification as I dipped into minor scale and harmonic minor...couldn't help myself really.

I'd like to argue it was something to do with Los B's suggestion of melodic variation but ni reality i think it was just fingers taking over with pre-programmed licks from the brain!

But anyway, the result was kinda cool and I like it.

04-16-2005, 12:51 PM
Good stuff. Heard some arps/sweep?nice! Cooooool pedal points there too.

Russ - its a good one. cool use of bends and vibrato. nice stuff. Liked that part around 2:17 especially!

nice work guys!

04-16-2005, 04:29 PM
Thanks for the kind words guys. I've always felt that my improvisation is the weakest of my skills (the articles I wrote are actually the result of countless hours of me thinking how to tackle that problem)... I'm working hard on it though. I'm glad you guys think some progress is showing.

Thanks again and I'll be posting some more soon.


04-16-2005, 07:08 PM
I'm always suprised when I remember when you said you started playing how much knowledge you've accrued on the theory front. But rest assured there's some tasty playing to go along with it!:D

04-16-2005, 10:36 PM
Okay this is totally screwed up. I started playing with the effects in Audacity and things got WAAAY out of control, and when I tried to fix it things only got worse. Also there are obvious breaks in the consistency in the mix, and I'm too lazy to redo it. I mercifully cut this short to 1 and 1/2 minutes.

04-16-2005, 10:53 PM
It sure can be used over different chord progressions, too. You can i.e. use "E Hirajoshi" over any chord progression in E minor, or even in place of the regular E min scale ( whatever you use that over ) since itīs basically an Emin scale with 2 notes missing.
Hope this helps
Haha, of course! I can't believe I didn't make that connection :eek:

04-17-2005, 12:32 AM
wow! so far all the takes have been great. I like those bends Russ, where they quarter bends or halfbends or what. i got a band competition today but when i come home i must tackle this new exotic scale.

04-17-2005, 08:40 AM
I think I tried to hit halves...but quick to get that japanese sound going, as eric was suggesting.

I kind a liked the way when i mixed it up with the harmonic minor i got this real eclectic japanese/spanish/arab flavour going on.


04-17-2005, 12:06 PM
There's a lesson on guitar9, by Dan Keller...


He says that "Hira" is a tuning and "Yoka Nuki" the real scale that consists of the same intervals as Hira. Has anyone heard this guy's album?!?

04-21-2005, 01:45 PM
Hmm. I don't know the name.

I shall check that out.

So where does "Joshi" come from?
Does he say?...I'll check out the link.

04-21-2005, 03:50 PM
So where does "Joshi" come from?

Well, Friedman's fascination with Japan had to start somewhere...


yoshi, joshi... it's all the same:D ...

04-21-2005, 08:35 PM
Great track EricV ... very interesting to solo over. I treated it as an electric slide Flamenco piece, so there you go! Thanks for posting it.

Don't ask which scales I used ... I have no idea. I was thinking chords, not scales.

Hmmmm .... I can't get this to upload the file. I'll do it this way:

http://www.thatllteachyou.com/mp3s/Kirks_hirajoshi.m3u | Stream it

http://www.thatllteachyou.com/mp3s/Kirks_hirajoshi.mp3 | Download it


04-22-2005, 06:13 AM
Again, tasteful playing Kirk and a different interpretation!

Marko, I see your point. "Hero Yoshi" ..."Hira Joshi"...easy mistake to make.

04-22-2005, 08:15 AM
I've been struggling with this one... Firstly the scale shape (even though it's only Em with two notes missing) didnt exactly fall under the fingers, I just couldnt come up with any interesting on guitar. Secondly as soon as I heard Eric's backing I couldn't get Ryuichi Sakamato's Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence theme tune out of my head. So long story short, I had the synth out of the cupboard for the neo-classical thingy and I came up with this.

This thing is 25 yrs old and had been powered on for about 5 hours when I got round to this and for some reason (thermal stability) it's pitch tracking was starting to wobble - adds to the exotic sounds.. sorry about the bum notes especially the massive one just before the fade...

04-25-2005, 02:21 PM
Hi guys!

Sloppy take here...
This scale was new to me, and I made this take only a few minutes after learning 1 pattern, so i was playing around only that one. Sometimes I accidentally hit notes that weren't in the hirajoshi but were in the minor scale (cause my fingers are used to minor vvery much)

Anyway, here it is:

04-25-2005, 06:48 PM
tell you what, i had the same problem. ol fingaz kept doing the ol minor patterns.

But it came out kind of like a wierd mix of different flavours becasue of it, so I liked it.

04-27-2005, 06:47 AM
bande, not bad, to much distortion overriding the backing.

04-27-2005, 07:28 AM
heres my contribution, love the ending bit. bit emotional, my dads going to lebanon for 3 weeks, im gonna miss him, :( and if your wondering its for terrorist business.:D just pullin ur leg:eek: . peace out guys.

04-27-2005, 07:36 AM
:D That's really sweet you're gonna miss your dad.

I shall check your hirajoshi take this evening!

05-10-2005, 05:11 PM
First sound file post. Go easy on me.

11-01-2005, 05:04 PM
I just started going back through some of the stricklies and realised how few I'd actually partici-ma-pated in, so to get on the Road to Strickly recovery I thought I'd better start playing catch-up!!!!

So here we go!!!!

11-01-2005, 06:29 PM
Great mattblack850. Liked the opning riff a lot (hammer on's and pull off's with open string in the bottom?). You're also getting the strange Hirajoshi sound in the following improv. I guess you still can work on becomming familiar with the Hirajoshi scale, though (you're a lot more familiar with it than I am, but still :D ).

11-01-2005, 06:34 PM
First sound file post. Go easy on me.
Good take Keith. The guitar is a little loud compared to the backing, but the playing is good. A few tapping things going on?

11-01-2005, 08:06 PM
Great mattblack850. Liked the opning riff a lot (hammer on's and pull off's with open string in the bottom?). You're also getting the strange Hirajoshi sound in the following improv. I guess you still can work on becomming familiar with the Hirajoshi scale, though (you're a lot more familiar with it than I am, but still :D ).

Cheers G-man!!!!!
That opening bit is a harmonised thing using a repeating G-E-B-E-C-E pedal tone on the top E and similar G-B-B(octave)-B-C-B using the B string as a pedal tone, I think that makes sense!!!!

Keith, great first post buddy!!!!!

11-03-2005, 07:47 PM
That's real nice Neil, real nice. I like it a lot!! love the HO/PO stuff and the sliding in and out of notes in the main section.

Changes of tone in the guitars used, top quality.

11-04-2005, 08:44 PM
Cheers buddy!!:D
I'm thinking of doing it with a Bass repeating the opening as well!!!

11-13-2005, 06:46 PM
Here's the bass version!:D

01-02-2006, 02:11 AM
Here's a short go at soloing over this. Fun stuff. :)

01-02-2006, 04:13 AM
Nice one Kjellen, your harmonic soloing inspired me. Here's my take on it. Funny it made me realize lately I've been working on cramming extra notes into my improv, restricting it to less was really hard to do. This was maybe my 12th try, and the first time I made it through without an A or a D. Whew. Thanks for the exercise.


01-02-2006, 02:29 PM
Nice takes guys

01-03-2006, 04:41 PM
Kjellen: Great. Fantastic atmosphere, much better than the Pentatonic attempt in my opinion. I also liked the guitar tone better in this one. I look forward to listening to the pitch-axis recording you made.

bnazz: Original intro. Playful. You, just as Kjellen, emphasizes an interesting atmosphere. I'm 1 and half a minute into the track now, and you have definately not over-played yet - you've 'spent the notes' in a very good way. Nice ending.

01-03-2006, 05:44 PM
Thanks Joe! Very inspiring to get feedback on things like this. Was a bitt more of work with this one, so there are more thought-out phrases and ideas here, and it's probably the one of my strictly's i like the best so far (even though it was the first). Agreed on the guitar tone, the overdrive on the penta-take is bad. Due to not having a microphone available at the moment, I use an ancient Digitech Roland RP1-guitar processor to connect my axe with the PC, and the overdrives are incredibly hard to tweak to my tastes.

I'm also not a stranger to playing with a clean tone, due to having been a classical player for 4-5 years and a jazz player for (ca.) the last two.

01-03-2006, 08:15 PM
Agreed with Kjellen, it's a huge motivator and inspiration to hear such encouraging response. Personally I find it especially helpful in realizing the development of my improvisational voice, since it's easy to forget through all the technical work that I'm actually looking to craft a personality, and acheive a unique sound that accurately represents something about me. Hearing others reactions helps me to stop thinking as the practicing musician for a second, and listen to whats coming from it, which I think is important if I'm going to have any input in what direction it goes from here. Thank you for helping me keep some control over myself when it's oh so tempting to just surrender and go the purely academic route of regurgitation.


Joe Pass Jr
02-13-2006, 02:45 AM
All i could think about whilst recording this was standing on a hill looking down on hundreds of slain soldiers. The only men alive were two ranking Samurai from opposing clans, taunting eachother, preparing for the final showdown.

Because of this I couldnt help but borrow a few tones from the harmonic minor scale( a scale that screams battle to me ), but all in all i kept relatively within the bound's of this strictly.
This is a new scale to me so i stuck to one basic pattern(as not to get lost).. So the tone doesnt vary that much.
Using the neck pickups and adding a touch of chorus/verb gave the overall tone a feel somewhere between a Flute and a Sitar IMO. Which also felt appropriate, since were talking ancient warriors.

Great choice Eric !!!

Edit; After posting this and listening to a few other peoples takes. I noticed that i kind of exhausted the sound. I'm still happy with my take more or less. Rm-SamuraiChant was lovely though. Well said Cat!

02-13-2006, 02:41 PM
Gonna listen soon. Looking forward to it - Hirajoshi is interesting.

EDIT: Very moody and atmospheric. Made me want to listen to artists who use such scales. Any suggestions? I could always throw all of the Strictly Hirajoshi entries in my playlist, but I have done and probably will soon too, but it will get repetitive after some time. Any ideas on artists with a slightly alternative approach on scales and melody?

08-23-2006, 01:00 PM
Hey Eric! I'm just curious... What program(s) did you use in recording this backing track?