5 Rock Lead Guitar Licks From The Hirajoshi Scale

by Tom Hess


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If you want your guitar licks & solos to stand out from other guitar players...
 
...you’ve got to know the Hirajoshi scale.

What is the Hirajoshi scale?

It’s a 5-note (i.e. pentatonic) scale from Japan.

And just like the standard pentatonic (blues) scale everyone knows, it also has 5 box shapes.

(Shapes anyone can easily learn.)

But unlike the standard pentatonic scale...

...it has a very exotic sound you don’t hear very often.

(Unless you are fan of guitar players like Marty Friedman.)

And that means...

...when you start using it – you’ll get an avalanche of new ideas to spice up your guitar licks and solos.

(Ideas that help you build your own unique musical style.)

To begin, check out the video below to see & hear the Hirajoshi scale shapes in action:
 


Now that you know the basics, here are the best ways to apply the Hirajoshi scale into your guitar playing:
 

Hirajoshi Scale Tip #1: Connect the Shapes


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In the video, I showed you 5 shapes of the Hirajoshi scale. These patterns snap together like puzzle pieces to map out ONE SCALE that covers the entire guitar neck.

Here is your assignment:

Practice the 5 shapes until you can play them one after the other without thinking.

This is key to soloing all over the guitar without getting lost.

Watch this video to get more tips on how to learn any scale all over the guitar:
 


Hirajoshi Scale Tip #2:Use Rubato

One of my personal lead guitar pet peeves is lack of rhythmic variety.

Meaning: guitar licks that only use strict divisions of the beat (8th notes, 16th notes ,or triplets) and never use rubato.

What is rubato?

It means suddenly speeding up (or slowing down) your playing without being in strict time.

Note: there is a BIG difference between playing rubato (deliberately stretching the rhythm) and playing out of time due to lack of skill.

Watch this video to see and hear many rubato examples and start using this technique in your guitar playing (rubato sounds especially great with the Hirajoshi scale and its licks):
 


Hirajoshi Scale Tip #3: End Your Guitar Licks With Dramatic Vibrato

Vibrato, in my opinion, is the single most important lead guitar technique.

I often tell my guitar students: “if you do nothing else but improve your vibrato, your entire guitar playing will sound way better… even if you never play faster or cleaner than you can right now”.

The secret to playing a wide and controlled vibrato is… your fretting hand thumb.

See the photo below:
 

Guitar vibrato technique


After you get your vibrato technique dialed in, the next step is keeping you vibrato in tune. (This vibrato guitar lesson shows you how.)


Hirajoshi Scale Tip #4: Master Dramatic String Bends

You can make any guitar lick more exotic by milking it using string bends.

How do you do that?

The secret is in the release of the bend.

This video shows how to inject more emotion into any guitar lick, simply by releasing basic string bends in dramatic ways:
 


Use these tips as you practice the Hirajoshi scale and you’ll love the sound that comes out of your amp.

The next step to making your guitar solos sound better is to quickly boost your guitar picking speed. I show you how in my new free eGuide: “How To Build Lighting Fast Guitar Picking Speed”. Download it today and discover speed picking secrets most guitarists never know.


Tom HessAbout Tom Hess: Tom Hess is a guitar teacher, music career mentor and guitar teacher trainer. He teaches rock guitar lessons online to students from all over the world and conducts instructional live guitar training events attended by musicians from over 50 countries.

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