1. #1

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    I have always liked when people sprinkle in diminished arpeggios and sounds in solos and my ears immediately perk up. Like the triplet lick starting at around 1:20 here:




    Gypsy jazz, Charlie Christian and rockabilly also spring to mind. For some reason I have never really tried playing them myself, don't ask me why..

    I would like to get the basics of that sound in my toolbox and wanted to consult the forum.

    How would you approach this somewhat methodically to get it under control? I have been refreshing some fingerings so the mechanics are coming along. Now the application starts.

    This vid from Jim Campilongo has been a nice primer. He also discusses starting a diminished arpeggio from the third of the dominant chord to outline the 7b9 sound, that seems to be a common trope.



    Thankful for any thoughts and ideas that you might have!

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  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Squeezebox
    I have always liked when people sprinkle in diminished arpeggios and sounds in solos and my ears immediately perk up. Like the triplet lick starting at around 1:20 here:




    Gypsy jazz, Charlie Christian and rockabilly also spring to mind. For some reason I have never really tried playing them myself, don't ask me why..

    I would like to get the basics of that sound in my toolbox and wanted to consult the forum.

    How would you approach this somewhat methodically to get it under control? I have been refreshing some fingerings so the mechanics are coming along. Now the application starts.

    This vid from Jim Campilongo has been a nice primer. He also discusses starting a diminished arpeggio from the third of the dominant chord to outline the 7b9 sound, that seems to be a common trope.



    Thankful for any thoughts and ideas that you might have!
    Send me a PM and I can send you a short video


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  4. #3

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    You can substitute any normally resolving dominant chord with a Dim7 chord one half step higher. For example, instead of G7 to C, you can play G#dim7 to C. The actual notes of the G#dim7 are G# B D F so it's like playing a G7b9 chord.

    Now because the Dim7 chord is symmetrical, G#dim7 Bdim7 Ddim7 and Fdim7 have the same notes, so you can use any of them (or look at them as inversions of the G#dim7). So G7 to C becomes G#dim7 to C, Bdim7 to C, Ddim7 to C, or Fdim7 to C. So for starters you can practice voice leading these four resolutions. Next do II-V-I using the dim7 chords instead of the dominant.

    The arpeggio has two very useful positions, starting either with one or two notes on the 6th string.

  5. #4

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    there many ways to approach diminished /scales/chords...

    the very unique sound of the spacing (minor thirds) between notes if your using arpeggios of the diminished chords is one way

    if you do some reading on diminished scales / chords you may find them to be an amazing part of music and not many musicians go beyond using them in just a few ways..

    dont be intimidated by them... you may come across the term "symmetric harmony" ..its easier to understand than the scary name..(trigonometry did me in)

    hope you enjoy your discovery of this amazing part of music

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Doublea A
    Send me a PM and I can send you a short video
    Very kind of you, thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    You can substitute any normally resolving dominant chord with a Dim7 chord one half step higher. For example, instead of G7 to C, you can play G#dim7 to C. The actual notes of the G#dim7 are G# B D F so it's like playing a G7b9 chord.

    Now because the Dim7 chord is symmetrical, G#dim7 Bdim7 Ddim7 and Fdim7 have the same notes, so you can use any of them (or look at them as inversions of the G#dim7). So G7 to C becomes G#dim7 to C, Bdim7 to C, Ddim7 to C, or Fdim7 to C. So for starters you can practice voice leading these four resolutions. Next do II-V-I using the dim7 chords instead of the dominant.

    The arpeggio has two very useful positions, starting either with one or two notes on the 6th string.
    Thank you, this is very useful!

    Quote Originally Posted by wolflen
    there many ways to approach diminished /scales/chords...

    the very unique sound of the spacing (minor thirds) between notes if your using arpeggios of the diminished chords is one way

    if you do some reading on diminished scales / chords you may find them to be an amazing part of music and not many musicians go beyond using them in just a few ways..

    dont be intimidated by them... you may come across the term "symmetric harmony" ..its easier to understand than the scary name..(trigonometry did me in)

    hope you enjoy your discovery of this amazing part of music
    I think I should read up more on them. I had a really heavy prog period once and used to listen to a lot of King Crimson. Robert Fripp loves symmetrical scales, so the sounds and some harmony derived from them is somewhat familiar. Is there a specific source or book you would recommend?

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Squeezebox
    Very kind of you, thank you!

    I think I should read up more on them. I had a really heavy prog period once and used to listen to a lot of King Crimson. Robert Fripp loves symmetrical scales, so the sounds and some harmony derived from them is somewhat familiar. Is there a specific source or book you would recommend?
    Not a specific...but..guitar god Joe Diorio gave me a great insight to understand the diminished scale and the chords in it:

    There are only THREE diminished scales.... C Db D

    now I get into "arguments" with some that "insist" on the whole-half and half-whole step diminished scale thing...I find it just adds to the confusion of the scale and how to use it.

    tip: you may find using just "flat" notes easier in these scales..it may make it easier in "seeing" them

    example:
    C D Eb F Gb Ab A B .... C diminished whole-half step scale

    B C D Eb F Gb Ab A ..... B diminished half-whole step (so called)

    now if you start the C dim W--H on the B note you will discover..its the C dim W-H just starting on the B note..it is NOT a B dim scale (thus the arguments).. ..remember there are only THREE dim scales C Db D !

    and if you really get into analyzing (ripping apart) the diminished scale itself it will open a wide door to add to your improvisation journey

    short example: C Diminished scale ( I found ALOT of chords in this scale..here are a few)

    C D Eb F Gb Ab A B

    D Maj / Dmin / D7/ Dmi7/ D7b5 / D7#9/Dmi7b5

    now find some more-have fun (hint: there are at least 20 more chords)

    point of this is ..you can use "fragments" of this scale over many chord types and use its "connecting" ability to create some really hip solos..(I love its feel in a fusion context)

    hope this helps

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolflen

    example:
    C D Eb F Gb Ab A B .... C diminished whole-half step scale

    B C D Eb F Gb Ab A ..... B diminished half-whole step (so called)
    B is also Messiaen’s second mode, which can start on any note. I do not understand why the diminished scales should be limited to C Db and D.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    B is also Messiaen’s second mode, which can start on any note. I do not understand why the diminished scales should be limited to C Db and D.
    one way to see this is..all 12 tones (chromatic scale) are used within these three scales..so no matter how they are named they revolve around to the same three scales

    for me..it makes using the diminished scale less confusing...of course you can name the scale with any note you like..if you can navigate with that information ..

    but as I showed in my above post with just some of the embedded chords in the C dim scale..now if I use that information as source material in an improvised solo.. I dont have to "think" where I am or where Im going

    and again..whatever name you call a dim scale ..when you break it down ..one of the three diminished scales will appear...

    so my take is..why make the dim scale more confusing that it already is for many players..in terms of using it as source material for improvisation

    if I teach a new player basic theory/harmony..and show them the major scale..G for example...and after they get used to starting on the G note..I tell them to start on the F# note..but tell them it is still the G major scale..not the F#major scale...it may sound simple ..but to some just starting out .. digesting theory even in small amounts.."naming" things..scales/chords etc they have no reference point to grasp yet...they are not seeing it beyond "one note at a time"...and I remember being at that point in my playing.."well if I start on G and its a G major scale..so if I start on F# it should be an F# major scale...right?"
    Last edited by wolflen; 07-21-2020 at 07:01 PM.

  10. #9

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    Diminished chords seem to fall into two frequent usages. One is as a 7b9 as in Am7 D7b9 Gmaj7. Most people might not use the term diminished for that 7b9, but it's the same notes as an Eb, C, F# or A diminished.

    The other situation is more like Fmaj7 or F7 to F#dim. That was used a lot in older tunes. Usually the F to F# is in the bass. This one gets called "diminished". The notes are the same as F7b9.

    I have found the nomenclature confusing. Every dim (or Vb9) has four names as a diminished and another four as a 7b9. Even though there are only three different scales, each one can be named as a HW or a WH with four names each.

    So, just to find the chord tones, if you see a "dim7" in the chart you can play the 7b9 a half step lower. Or pick your own rule that accomplishes the same thing. A similar rule for the scales.

    But, the advanced players are using diminished sounds against other harmony. I'm not qualified, yet, to comment on what's going on there, but I'm curious about it.

    Another point, nobody objects to the idea of a m7b5 chord. What about m6b5? You never see that, but that's exactly what a dim7 chord is. I find that interesting, but I've never actually figured out how to use this bit of arcana.