Diminished Scale Patterns | Hub Guitar

Diminished Scale Patterns

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Hi, This is Hub Guitar. We are going to talk about two diminished scale patterns that have whole and whole half. Actually they are basically the same scale, but depending on which one you intend to play. You might start at different points. So we are going to do both of them as they are separated scales.

The first one is G diminished half whole scale. Notice how I am starting that scale on my third finger because it's going to be a position shift going up, so I need to be prepared for that shift.

The next scale is going to be the G diminished whole half.

Learning these scales is one thing, but applying them is a whole different story. These scales will generally go on top of some kind of diminished seventh chord. The decision of whether a diminished seventh chord calls for a whole half diminished scale or a half whole diminished scale is a topic for another discussion. For now, just practise these scales, patterns, and get them under your fingers.


The diminished scale is a symmetrical scale. Its construction limits the possible number of diminished scales to 3. Because the scale is symmetrical, a diminished scale will contain the notes of any diminished scale built from any of its tones.

Although there are only three diminished scales, and although the scales are symmetrical, every one of the 12 notes in the chromatic scale is a member of two out of three of those scales. That means that before you run off and try to play a “G diminished scale”, you want to be sure of whether the scale is a half-whole diminished, or whole-half diminished.

The diminished scale is useful for diminished chords, and also sometimes dominant chords.

Notice that these scales are very nearly the same scale. It is not practical to learn two different fingerings for the scale; just focus on how to link what you’re playing to one of these patterns as required.

Both scales will use position shifts.

Gdim7 (half-whole)

Start the pattern on the third finger to prepare for the position shift.

a sharp, b flat
fret tile
e natural
b natural
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g natural
d natural
a sharp, b flat
f natural
g natural
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g sharp, a flat
b natural
c sharp, d flat
g sharp, a flat
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e natural
g natural
d natural
fret tile
a sharp, b flat
f natural
c sharp, d flat
g sharp, a flat
fret tile
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Gdim7 (whole-half)

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

  • Learn, memorize, and apply the scales.
  • Create a chord progression that uses diminished seventh chords.
  • Use the scale to improvise along the progresion diminished chords.

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