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.

The Book That Accompanies This And Our Other Guitar Scale Lessons

Scales You Can Use - GMI Guitar & Music Institute

Pentatonic scales and hundreds of other patterns are all found in the GMI – Guitar & Music Institute publication Scales You Can Use!

This full colour book can be bought either as a printed copy directly from Amazon, or as a PDF immediate download from the GMI Guitar Store.

Both books are exactly the same apart from the printed book including blank staff and TAB along with blank chord boxes for your own guitar scale ideas. The PDF book is 105 pages in total and the printed version is 152 pages in total.

What Is In This Guitar Scale Book?

  • An easy to understand template system that enables you to learn and play major, natural, harmonic and melodic minor scales over the entire neck in seven positions.
  • Included tutorials show how you can play pentatonic scales in 10 different keys within one fret board position.
  • Learn to play in 14 keys in one position using modal scales giving complete musical control over key changes.
  • Included fret maps detail a simple to understand root based system in two key positions giving you complete understanding.
  • Theoretical explanations of pentatonic, major, melodic and harmonic minor, blues, chromatic, whole tone and diminished scales.
  • A suite of “exotic” scales are included for those that are looking to learn patterns that are on the fringe.
  • Original music examples in music and TAB provided throughout Scales You Can Use! to ensure that you really learn the patterns shown. Open string patterns cover major, minor, pentatonic and blues scales.

To purchase the printed version of Scales You Can Use directly from Amazon click the link in the product box below.


To purchase the lower cost PDF format of Scales You Can Use! from the GMI online store and receive it immediately click Essential Guitar Scales – Scales You Can Use! This link opens in a new window.

Lesson tags: diminished scale


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here