Charlie Griifiths is at the end of his alphabetical odyssey. Here he brings you the symbols X and Y, the Yo scale, Zortzico rhythm and Ziltoidian tuning.
Charlie Griffiths winds up his A-Z with X, Y and Z for X symbol, Yo scale and Ziltoidian tuning!
The sound can be applied to either a single string or multiple strings and is most commonly utilised in funk music as it lends itself to the syncopated rhythms of players like Nile Rodgers or Jimmy Nolen. The technique is reliant on placing the fretting hand fingers lightly on the strings so as to stop them from resonating. Placing more than one finger on the string prevents any natural harmonics from sounding
Yo Scale The Yo scale is a pentatonic scale originating from traditional Japanese Koto and Shamisen music. The intervals of the scale are 1 2 4 5 6, which translates to the key of C as follows: C D F G A. This is essentially the same as the C major scale with the 3rd and 7th notes (the E and B notes) missing. That means that there are no semitones present, only tones and minor 3rds; giving the scale an open sound. Another way to look at the scale is as a mode of the guitarist’s best friend the minor pentatonic scale. For example if you play the D minor pentatonic scale, D F G A C, but start from the 5th note, you will get C Yo scale. This scale is also known as ‘suspended pentatonic’ and ‘Egyptian pentatonic’.
Z Symbol The buzz roll symbol is usually associated with drum notation and is seen as a small italicised letter Z placed on top of the note stem. We can re appropriate the technique on the guitar using similar ‘outside the box’ thinking used by creative guitarists such as Mattias IA Eklundh, Tom Morello and Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal. All of these guitarists have expanded upon what is considered ‘normal’ technique by hitting, tapping and strumming their guitars with such items as thimbles, Allen keys and hair combs to produce new experimental sounds. A drummer creates a buzz roll by dropping the stick onto the drum head and allows it to repeatedly bounce at high speed. On the guitar we can use the same technique using the whammy bar and a string.
Ziltoidian Tuning Ok we admit it, Ziltoidian tuning isn’t common terminology on this planet, but this tenuous link gives us a chance to talk about the open C tuning used by Ziltoid’s main earthly champion Devin Townsend. Devin was inspired to use the tuning after hearing Jimmy Page’s playing on the Led Zeppelin track, Friends. Open tunings are a great way to discover new avenues of creativity and will make you play things you might not have thought of in standard tuning. The idea is that the open strings are tuned to the notes of a chord which means all of those notes can be incorporated and allowed to ring out to create a rich, open sound. Devin’s (and therefore Ziltoid’s) approach is based on the open C tuning which is essentially the notes of a C chord, C G C G C E from low to high. One cool side effect of this tuning is that scale shapes use the same fingering on each string; experiment and see what you come up with.
Zortzico is a traditional dance rhythm originating from Basque which is in a 5/8 meter. The simplest way to count 5/8 is a bit like a bar of 3/4, but with an 8th note removed. 3/4 time is counted: ‘one and - two and - three and’, so 5/8 would be: ‘one and - two and - three’ and so on. This way it is easy to see that 5/8 is essentially a truncated 3/4 bar. The notes can be divided up into smaller sub groups to create accents. The Zortzico rhythm is typically divided into ‘1, 2, 2’, but can also be reversed ‘2, 2, 1’.
Mattias Eklundh uses a comb to create buzz rolls
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