learning diminished scales on the guitar
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Learning The Diminished Scale

The diminished scale, along with the whole tone scale, is one of two popular symmetrical scales used in modern music. A symmetric scale is a scale which can be equally divided within an octave.

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.

There are two issues with the diminished scale:

  1. Learning it due to the odd shapes it conjures up on the fretboard which can be challenging to remember.
  2. Hearing the scale as it does sound “strange” to the unfamiliar ear.
  3. Realising that the scale has two forms, half-whole and whole-half.

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.

Two Scale Forms To Learn

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.

This lesson introduces you to the scale, in other video lessons, using the scale will be demonstrated and explained.

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