Guitar Arpeggios – A♭ Hirajoshi

Welcome to MEyou’s guitar arpeggio lesson in the A♭ Hirajoshi scale!

The Hirajoshi scale is quite unique in that it consists only of 5 notes, one of which is an augmented 4th!

Let’s take a look at the intervals in this scale and the corresponding notes with the key of A♭:


Since this scale consists of only 5 notes, we consider it a pentatonic scale, and as the intervals of this scale include a Major iii and Major Vii, we can also determine it to be a Major scale.

We are assuming you have been following along with our guitar arpeggio series and have an understanding of how we formulate our patterns as well as decipher our backing chords, so we will skip the breaking down part and list our appropriate extensions/ options to the scale and the notes below:

A♭ Major 7A♭ CE♭ G
A♭ Major 7♭5 A♭CDG
C minorCE♭ G
C minor 6 add 9CE♭A♭D
C minorMajor9 (omit 7)CE♭ GD
D min9♭5 (omit 3)DA♭ CE♭
E♭ Major 7/6 E♭ GCD
E♭ Major 7sus4 E♭ GA♭ D
G minor 6/9GDE♭ A♭
G minor 6 sus 4GCDE♭

This gives us a little variety of patterns to choose from between each root note in the scale, although these are not our only limitations.

Now, let’s get straight to playing!

Example 1:

Starting the lesson off, our first example will be a good warm up as it follows a basic pattern and is quite simple over all. The intervals in this scale however do add some colourful patterns!

Example 2:

In this example, we are practicing a sweep picking motion across 5/6 strings depending on the root note that the sequence forms from. This is a short version of something which can easily be extended and performed as a running melody under a chord line or a nice “suspense building” type melody which does not overpower the composition.

Something to notice in particular is the mixed intervals within each sequence. Let us take the A♭ Major 7 in the first bar for example. The note sequence from the Low E string to the high e string follows A♭ – C – G – C – E♭ – A♭.

If we were looking at the interval sequence for each note from the root of the sequence, we would have – I – iii – Vii – iii – V – I.

This takes us away from the slight mundane act of performing an arpeggio in sequence (such as I – iii – V – Vii).

When creating an arpeggio like this, you are very unlikely to use such theory to determine which note you will decide to use next, but rather as just a knowing that you can break away from a regimented pattern and experiment with the note selection you are using.

Example 3:

This next exercise has a strong classical vibe, sounding as though it were a piece from Beethoven. This is partly due to the pattern we are playing this scale in, and also due to the time signature 5/4.

Example 4:

Next up we have a faster exercise to build speed and precision when progressing with arpeggios that invert in, on themselves as they play out. This is a really good exercise to get your fingers moving!

Example 5:

For our next exercise, we are going to add shell notes of the diatonic chords in this scale throughout our progression, turning a simple arpeggio progression into a more flavourful chord melody. This is a common method in music styles such as jazz and classical.

Example 6:

This example is going to be a shell for us to build on. Like our last exercise, we want to create another chord-melody built from an arpeggio. This example is just the arpeggio which we will practice, and then move through to a chord melody to see how we developed the progression and improved on it significantly.

This piece has the use of both an F minor add 6 sequence and the use of the B note within a couple of the bars; both not within the scale but add extra colour into the composition.

F is the Major Vi interval away from A♭, allowing it to fit nicely in this Major based scale. The Vi interval in a Major scale is generally performed as a minor variation, as implemented in our example below.

Example 7:

To end this lesson we have an awesome challenge for you to leave with. Below is a fun chord – melody exercise, designed using the previous exercise as a guide to build over.

This is a challenging piece that will take some time to learn and even more time to develop it further if you so wish. You may want to practice each bar individually before piecing it all together!

This exercise also gives you a great opportunity to work on your finger picking skills as well!

We hope you have enjoyed this lesson and learning with MeYou 🙂

To view our other available guitar arpeggios lessons, click here!