Free Online Lessons

Lesson 20: Diminished Scale Patterns

The interval structure of a diminished scale is as follows: whole-step, half-step, whole-step, half-step, whole-step, etc. Or it can be half-step, whole-step, half-step, whole-step, etc. It just depends on the situation. Use your ear to determine which way sounds best to you.

Take a look at the A diminished scale below and notice that because the interval pattern is so repetitive, this could also be a C diminished scale, a E diminished scale, or a G diminished scale.

This fact makes it easy to move a diminished scale around the fretboard.

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - G - A

The following patterns show different fingerings for an A diminished scale (or C, or E, or G diminished scale).

Form 1

Form 2

Form 3

Form 4

Practice Exercises

Play through each finger pattern ascending and descending using a slow even tempo.

Move the forms around the fretboard.

Staying with the same root, and at a slow tempo, play continually in and out of the different forms with no breaks.

With a friend, or using a tape recorder, play these scales against full-diminished chords. The sound will quickly become easy to recognize.

Copyright 2001 T.A. Vieira, Jr.
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