Diminished 7th chords

ed lespaul

Well-Known Member
I decided to dive into Diminished 7th chords, since it was the only chord that I was a little cloudy on the fingering in any scale progression. (M-m-m-M-M-m-dim7)

I opened the tool I wrote to help me: ( https://lespauled.com/FindNotesOnFretboard )

I chose a C diminished 7th chord. I immediately noticed the fingering I was using on the 8th fret, EADG strings . But noticed that the pattern seemed to be repeating. After looking further, I noticed another pattern, on the DGBe strings.

Cdim7_1.jpg Cdim7_2.jpg Cdim7_3.jpg

These patterns show that you can use any of them, in any listed location for that chord. They are inversions of the same chord.

The incredible part is that not only are these a Cdim7 chord (C-F#-A-D#). They are also the Diminished 7th chords for each note in the Cdim7 chord.

For example, the same notes are used in a F#dim7 is (F#-A-C-D#). Adim7 is (A-C-D#-F#). D#dim7 is (D#-F#-A-C).

One chord is really 4 chords. So, based on these patterns, since they repeat, and there are only 12 notes, you can move these patterns up or down 1 or 2 frets to get the diminished 7th for ALL chords. If you know these patterns, and know the location of one note in the diminished 7th (maybe only the root note on the low E or D string), you can use the pattern and you will have the diminished 7th chord.

If I hadn't taken the time, to use MY OWN TOOL that I wrote, I wouldn't have seen this pattern, and still would have been foggy about diminished 7th chords. No longer. Once you see the pattern, you have it.

Hope this helps you, like it helped me.


Sessions, Lessons & Shred
Absolutely, this is utilised heavily in 80s style sweeping. Also notice, whilst playing through the arpeggio, you simply move a minor 3rd between each note... Magic! ;)
I think it’s a bit of a shame this thread didn’t get more responses so I thought I’d chip in. It’s fundamental.

This is true of augmented chords, for one thing. the principle applies for chord substitutions.

An augmented chord is symmetrical.

Now that this concept is clear it’s important to understand inversions. What hear in the bass determines the sound. Our ear gravitates to the bass. Inverted triads in 1st inversion (root in the bass); 2nd inversion (3rd in the bass); 3rd inversion (5th in the bass). 7th chords have a 4th inversion. You’ll also note: a minor 7th chord - intervals m3-M3-m3 - contains a major triad. Vice Versa for a M7. When playing with a bass player playing a C triad works over an Am7.

Increasing possibilities and more interesting enharmonic equivalents follow.

For example: a Gm6 (once you throw in 6 chords all sorts of wrench’s get thrown into the works) is the same as an Em7b5. Each contain G- Bb -D- E. So if you see either, the opposite is an inversion. You can substitute one chord for the other.

In jazz, this is how smooth voice leading is created.

Even more fun - and essential Jazz -is the Tri-tone substitution. Though it’s common in blues as well. The 3rd and 7th are the most important notes in any chord. Because of the overtone series you don’t need to play the root because the 5th sounds so prominent in that root. But, moving through the cycle of 5ths with tri-tone substitutes creates chromatic movement in the bass. This is because a G7 chord - G B D F - shares in common the 3rd and 7th of a C#7 - C# F G# Bb- (although a C#7 would be spelled with an E#). Edit: I should have spelled that as a Db for the Tritone sub. I accidentally think in #’s sometimes. Db7 = Db F Ab B) It’s still a perfect cadence in that it’s essentially a 5-1 resolution. Make a Dominant chords, lets say rooted of the 10th fret. Move that same shape of the Dom7 moving down a half step. That’s moving through the cycle of 4th’s chromatically. It’s still tonal music. Classical music uses the principle of a Neapolitan chord ( a b2 chord resolving to the root).

All that is under the same principle as the symmetrical movement of a dim7, conceptually.

In Jazz the common 32 bar progression is a 3-6-2-5-1. Play those all as dominates and Tritone sub. Once you improvise over this using diminished scales adds a lot of color. You can also use a Bebop scale (8 tone scale with alternating whole step and half step movement or vice versa).

What you’ll now look into is the common tones. You’ll spend the rest of your life finding new patterns across the board. That’s the good news.
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