Diminished scale


The diminished scale is an often misunderstood, even a disliked scalar form. This lesson will hopefully enable you to understand how the scale is formed. Also, it was aim to help you understand how through its construction it can be adapted to play in differing musical scenarios.

Along with the whole tone scale, the diminished scale is often left out in the cold. Musicians often feel that it is best employed by classical and jazz musicians. This is often the feeling with the whole tone scale. However, as we viewed in the whole tone scale lesson, even number one hits have included the whole tone scale. The same is surely true of diminished scales. Knowing how to learn and play them is no different from learning any other scale.


The lesson PDF is a great place to start if you are ready for the challenge you can download it FREE at our shop GMI Guitar Shop.

The main problem in learning to play diminished scales is that they can be viewed as awkward. They contain nine tones, not the usual major/minor modal scale eight tones. This means from a physical point of view that there is a bit of finger stretching needed. Also, they can sound odd. If you have not played a diminished scale before or heard it, you may be a little taken aback on first hearing. This leads to the next problem, how to use it.


The diminished scale can actually be played in two ways. It’s composition is entirely made from consecutive whole and half steps. This is where problems can begin. The scale can, as shown in the video, be played starting either with a whole or a half step. The way you play the scale will very much depend on how you want to apply it. This is covered in the HD video offered in this lesson.

Diminished Scale #1 – whole step, half step

A – B – C – D – D# – F – F# – G# – A

Diminished Scale #2 – half step, whole step

A – Bb – C – Db – Eb – E – F# – G – A

Make sure that you download the accompanying PDF which will help you practice the scale slowly until you get it under your fingers and in your ears.