Playing Diminished Chords Ascending | Hub Guitar

Playing Diminished Chords Ascending

FR-55 video thumbnail

Hi. This is Hub Guitar.

We're going to talk about using diminished chords to ascend through chord progressions.

One of the most common ways to use the diminished chord is to insert it between any two chords whose root is a half-step apart. This works in the ascending direction and in the descending direction.

In order to get a better sense of how this works, we're going to try a bunch of them, going through all of the chords in Bb.

You can improvise over these diminished chords using a simple diminished seventh arpaggio from any of the chord's tones, or you can get more fancy and try using a full diminished scale.

This technique is great to connect chords together, and despite having a bit of a jazzy sound it can also work great in almost any style. So learn the patterns, try them out, and apply them to your playing!


Diminished chords can be used to connect any two chords whose root is separated by two semitones.

For instance, a chord whose root is C can be connected to a chord whose root is D by using a C♯ diminished chord. This can be used ascending, to go from the C to the D chord, or descending, to go from the D to C chord.

Because we explored how to descend using substitute dominant chords, in this lesson we’ll use diminished chords to ascend through a progression.

B♭maj7

f natural
a sharp, b flat
fret tile
a natural
fret tile
d natural
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile

Bo7

f natural
g sharp, a flat
fret tile
b natural
fret tile
d natural
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile

C-7

fret tile
fret tile
g natural
a sharp, b flat
c natural
fret tile
d sharp, e flat
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile

C♯ o7

fret tile
fret tile
g natural
a sharp, b flat
fret tile
c sharp, d flat
fret tile
e natural
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile

D-7

fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
a natural
c natural
d natural
fret tile
f natural
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile

E♭maj7

fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
a sharp, b flat
d sharp, e flat
fret tile
d natural
fret tile
g natural
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile

Eo7

fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
a sharp, b flat
c sharp, d flat
fret tile
e natural
fret tile
g natural
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile

F7

fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
c natural
d sharp, e flat
f natural
fret tile
fret tile
a natural
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile

F♯o7

fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
c natural
d sharp, e flat
fret tile
f sharp, g flat
fret tile
a natural
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile

G-7

fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
d natural
f natural
g natural
fret tile
a sharp, b flat
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile

G♯ o7

fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
d natural
f natural
fret tile
g sharp, a flat
fret tile
b natural
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile

A-7♭5

fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
d sharp, e flat
fret tile
g natural
a natural
fret tile
c natural
fret tile
fret tile

The last pattern can resolve up by half-step to the starting chord-shape.

Hear It

Key Exercises

  • Learn, memorize, and apply the diminished chord patterns.
  • Repeat the progression, starting from a new chord form or new inversion. For instance, try starting from Cmaj7, drop2, root position, middle four strings.

©2016 Hub Guitar. All rights reserved.