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Break Through Consciousness with Brandon Reihana – Harmonic Minor Chaos Order

Break Through Consciousness with Brandon Reihana – Harmonic Minor Chaos Order

Apr 5, 2013

2011 Profile Pic Brandon Reihana is an Ibanez endorsed guitarist who is perhaps best known for his contribution to the band Blindspott, as part of the line-up that produced the certified Platinum album End The Silence. He has toured and played alongside internationally acclaimed acts such as Metallica, Linkin Park, Tool and Deftones. Since then, he has been a member of the metal band New Way Home, who were recently signed by Warner Music. Brandon recently left New Way Home to focus on his true passion – instrumental guitar rock, following in the footsteps of his influences like Joe Satriani,  Steve Vai and Jason Becker. He is currently working on his solo debut, a five track EP called Break Through Consciousness which will be released in early 2013. Brandon has also recently joined the Heavy Metal Ninjas, an instrumental rock/metal band like no other.

Brandon is back with the latest Break Through Consciousness column! Sorry it’s a few days late, but I’ve been moving house (and cities! Hello Auckland) and just got the internet connected last night so it’s totally my fault! Anyway – last month Brandon talked about interesting arpeggio construction. Read on to find out what’s in store this time! ~thesamurai

First up, I’d like to say a big thank you to all that have been following the column here – the support has been awesome, and I have had some really enthusiastic feedback thus far. Don’t forget to spread the word to all your friends! Now, onto the cool stuff…

TRCM – Origins

The origins of this song go back to when I left Blindspott at the end of 2007 – well, back then it was just the intro and the verse that were floating around. This song has heavier elements to it compared to the other songs on the EP, and the song is really a journey through a range of influences, which you will hopefully notice when you hear it in its entirety – not too far away now!!!

TRCM rose from the ashes of an accidental deletion of one of my archives – a really unfortunate incident where I lost lots of old song ideas. The idea for the song spawned from some arpeggios I had written on my 7 string, using the bottom 3 strings. Fortunately for you six-string slingers, the lower arpeggios I loved so dearly no longer feature in this track… however, they do make an appearance all flashed up and two octaves higher AND harmonized. \m/

Main melody

So, in this section we will be learning the main melody for the verses in the song. This part of the song is in the key of D minor/F Major. The D minor scale is used in the verse with the appearance of an  C#augmented arpeggio which can be derived from the D Harmonic minor scale or just randomly chucked in there because it sounds cool, that’s what I did, hahaha! (my brain just melted ~thesamurai)

TRCM - Verse

Slow Burn

So for the Slow Burn section, we’ll be going through some of the scales I used in TRCM, to help you break it down a little further into manageable building blocks. In all of these examples I use alternate picking, starting with a downstroke. Above the tab are the fretting hand fingers used to execute the scale – use this as a guide, though if a different fingering feels more comfortable for you then feel free to go for it. There are no rules!! Once you have mastered this try experimenting with note groupings and order – you never know when you might stumble upon a killer riff or lick.

For the verse, we used D Minor first of all:

D Minor ScaleI

D minor Scale – Slow

D minor Scale – Fast


Here we have the Harmonic Minor scale which is almost identical to the Minor scale – the difference being that the 7th note of the scale is sharpened (raised up 1 fret). That one note makes a huge difference to how it sounds and what chords can be built. This scale has history with Gypsy and Indian music, and lends a very exotic sound to your playing.  Players who make great use of this scale include Yngwie Malmsteen, Jeff Loomis, and many others… and of course, me, haha!

Harmonic minor


D Harmonic Minor Scale – Slow

D Harmonic Minor Scale – Fast

Using sequences

Using sequences is another way of making a simple scale sound interesting and cool. This can help with developing killer guitar solos, and is a method often used by players like Paul Gilbert for constructing interesting repeating licks across the fretboard.  For example let’s take 6 notes from a scale and simply play 3 notes. Then, we go down one fret and play another 3 notes. Rinse and repeat until the scale is finished – really simple concept, right? But when you string it together, it can be come a monstrous lick from hell! Here is a better example:

Below each number will replace the note of a scale

Normal Scale played from start to finish (Boring!)

6  5  4  3  2  1

Normal Scale using 3 note sequences (Much cooler!)

6  5  4     –   5  4  3  –  4  3  2  –  3  2  1

Sequencing - 8th not triplets


Sequencing Extended

Thank you for checking the column everyone! If there are any questions you need answered please leave a comment. I might not reply instantly – but I will definitely reply! Have a killer month, see you all at the end of the month!

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