Diminished Scales

  • This scale is called the C "whole-step" diminished scale. It's called this, because, if you look at the first note you play up from the root, and it's a whole step. If you were to start playing this very same scale from the next note (not C, but D for example), we would call this the D "half-step" diminished scale, because the next note would be Eb.


  • A diminished scale is simply an alternation of whole-tones and half-tones, starting with a whole-tone. Because of this, there are only 2 possible modes of this scale, and the scale notes repeat themselves completely every 3 frets on the guitar (4 identical fingerings per octave). It's quite easy to learn because of this - because you can simply learn 1 pattern, or 2 if you want to be completely well versed in playing the scale up and down.


  • The whole-step and the half-step diminished scales have a completely different sound between each other.

  • The whole-step diminished scale is great for building tension and has a dark, mysterious sound.

  • It's an 8 note scale.

  • This scale only has 2 patterns to learn. These 2 patterns repeat 4 times in an interval of 12 frets on the guitar.

    For example: The diagram 1 and 2 show the two patterns played on the 8th fret. They can also be played on the 11th, 2nd, and 5th frets - resulting in the exact same notes of C whole-step Diminished (as well as Eb, F#, A whole-step Diminished as well, respectively)


  • Diagram 1 shows the diminished scale played in a downward direction from the root

    Diagram 2 shows the diminished scale played in an upward direction from the root





  • Practice playing these 2 exact same shapes starting on the 8th, 11th, 2nd, and 5th frets. You can see that the sound quality is exactly the same.








  • 2 patterns of the diminished scale












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