I. chord

this diagram shows 3 different ways to play a diminished chord

top 4-string diminished chord

each of these chords can have 4 different names, as color-coded

advanced diminished chord embellishment

take any chord tone up a whole step to embellish the chord

ex: x3424x is a Cdim7 chord; play x3426x to Cdim7(add 11) or x3444 for B/C

II. the 3 diminished families

III. scale

uses of the diminished scale

a) #I dim – sub for VIx (ex: G G#dim Am D7 = G E7b9 Am D7)

use half-whole for E7b9

use whole-half for G#dim

b) passing chord (ex: C C#dim D7 D#dim Em)

use whole-half for each dim chord

c) #IV dim sub for IIx (ex: in key of G, C7 C#dim D7 G = C7 A7b9 D7 G7)

use whole-half for C#dim

use half-whole for A7b9

d)  bIII dim = I dim = VIIxb9 (ex: unforgettable G Bbdim Cmaj7 = G F#7b9 Cmaj7)

use whole-half for Bbdim

use half-whole for F#7b9

e)  bIII dim = I dim = IIxb9 (ex: Bye Bye Blackbird | F | % | Gm C7 | F | % | Abdim | Gm C7 | C7 | = | F | % | Gm C7 | F | % | G7b9 | Gm C7 | C7 |

use F whole-half dim for Abdim

use G half-whole dim for G7b9


common songs with diminished chords

“Every Time You Go Away” by Paul Young.


“I’ve Got Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks.


“Michelle” by the Beatles.


transpose -1 at bottom; capo fret 1

“This Love” by Maroon 5.


more advanced analysis of diminished chords

how they can be interweaved with an extended I chord and how diminished chord is a rootless dominant 7 b9 chord

altered scale vs. half-whole diminished