The "Japanese Effect" On Guitar: How To Imitate A Koto

Tommaso Zillio

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exotic Japanese guitar

Let's take a rest from the usual rock/blues/jazz/metal lesson. Today we try to make your guitar NOT sound like a guitar. The inspiration for this lesson comes from instruments like the Japanese Koto or the Chinese Guzheng.

In the following video I use the E Hirajoshi scale (E F A B C) and some choice phrasing to create an exotic "Japanese" effect.

It's super-simple to do and you can use it in many different ways:

  • You can use it in your next song for a slow or breakdown part

  • You can pull this off at the next jam session: guaranteed to make heads turn!

  • It's just plain fun to do :-)

As you can see, that's super simple to do once you get the phrasing down, and you can also personalize it at will by changing the phrasing (for instance, using a slide ). If you do something creative with it, contact me here: I want to hear about it!


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