What Are Whole Half Diminished Scales, Learn to build and play whole half diminished scales on guitar
Jun 18 2013, 04:41 PM
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Whole Half Diminished Scales

In this lesson, our second look at Symmetrical Scales, we will be exploring one of the most commonly used non-modal scales, the Whole-Half Diminished Scale.

This scale is named quite literal, as it is built by alternating whole-tones and half-tones, one after the other, producing eight unique tones that form the scale as a whole.

If you were to build this scale from the root C, you would get:

C D Eb F Gb Ab A B C

or

R 2 b3 4 b5 b6 bb7 7 R

I use the interval bb7 here, rather than 6, as the dim7 chord is built R b3 b5 bb7, though it is worth noting that the bb7 and 6 are the same notes on the fretboard, just serve different functions within the scale.

Here is how a Whole-Half Diminished Scale looks like on paper in both Tab and Notation from the root-note C.

Whole-Half Diminished Scale Fingerings

To help you get started in your exploration of this scale, here are two common fingerings for a C Whole-Half Diminished Scale, one with a 6th-string root and one with a 5th-string root note.

After you have learned these two shapes, try expanding them to all 12 keys across the fretboard, and begin to apply them to your soloing ideas either over a dim7th chord, as that is the chord that fits with the Whole-Half Diminished Scale.

Write out all 12 keys of the Whole-Half Diminished Scale in the comments section below, using the "spoiler" tab on the left side of this screen, and I will be happy to go over your work to see how you are doing with writing out this fun and important scale.

Do you have any questions about the Whole-Half Diminished Scale? Post any questions or comments below and I will be happy to answer them for you.

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Mar 25 2014, 02:48 AM
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Joined: 7-May 10
Really useful, man. Thank you!

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Mar 26 2014, 10:23 AM
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Great stuff Matt! I've been exploring some of it thorugh the dominant7 chords or of the regular Minor (starting from the 7th degree = half/whole). It brings some cool "harmonic-minor-like" flavour to the track

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May 1 2014, 03:03 PM
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QUOTE (The Professor @ Jun 18 2013, 05:41 PM)
Whole Half Diminished Scales

In this lesson, our second look at Symmetrical Scales, we will be exploring one of the most commonly used non-modal scales, the Whole-Half Diminished Scale.

This scale is named quite literal, as it is built by alternating whole-tones and half-tones, one after the other, producing eight unique tones that form the scale as a whole.

If you were to build this scale from the root C, you would get:

C D Eb F Gb Ab A B C

or

R 2 b3 4 b5 b6 bb7 7 R

I use the interval bb7 here, rather than 6, as the dim7 chord is built R b3 b5 bb7, though it is worth noting that the bb7 and 6 are the same notes on the fretboard, just serve different functions within the scale.

Here is how a Whole-Half Diminished Scale looks like on paper in both Tab and Notation from the root-note C.

Whole-Half Diminished Scale Fingerings

To help you get started in your exploration of this scale, here are two common fingerings for a C Whole-Half Diminished Scale, one with a 6th-string root and one with a 5th-string root note.

After you have learned these two shapes, try expanding them to all 12 keys across the fretboard, and begin to apply them to your soloing ideas either over a dim7th chord, as that is the chord that fits with the Whole-Half Diminished Scale.

Write out all 12 keys of the Whole-Half Diminished Scale in the comments section below, using the "spoiler" tab on the left side of this screen, and I will be happy to go over your work to see how you are doing with writing out this fun and important scale.

Do you have any questions about the Whole-Half Diminished Scale? Post any questions or comments below and I will be happy to answer them for you.

Could someone perhaps give me a couple of chord progression examples and maybe explain where to put the licks? I understand over the dim7th chord, but it's not like I come across that in every day music. Also i think i've read that robben Ford used this scale a bit in blues playing. Any input would be appreciated

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May 2 2014, 07:59 AM
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From: Los Angeles, CA
Technically RF uses the half-whole dim scale and while in some ways it's the same as the whole-half it's application can be very different. He uses it a lot 'getting to' the IV chord.

I'd rather let the Professor handle this as he's probably got a specific lesson for it.

*Here's RF doing it in an vid ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozwyZvZitU4
He hits the half/whole thing at about 1:00. G7 getting to C7 (I to IV).

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This post has been edited by klasaine: May 2 2014, 05:50 PM
May 2 2014, 01:49 PM
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QUOTE (Capasso2300 @ May 1 2014, 05:03 PM)
Could someone perhaps give me a couple of chord progression examples and maybe explain where to put the licks? I understand over the dim7th chord, but it's not like I come across that in every day music. Also i think i've read that robben Ford used this scale a bit in blues playing. Any input would be appreciated

I'll give you here a short example of 2 chords | Am7 | E7/#9 |
Basically over Am7 I'm playing A dorian, and over E7/#9 I'm using the whole-half diminished scale starting from the 7-th degree of the E chord (this a good way of learning the position of the scale on the fretboard in its relation to the dominant chord), but you will realise that, if you build the scale from the root of the E chord it is actually an E half hole diminished scale (you can use the scale generator for a better visual of the given scale).

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Jul 8 2014, 03:37 AM
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QUOTE (Marius Pop @ May 2 2014, 08:49 AM)
I'll give you here a short example of 2 chords | Am7 | E7/#9 |
Basically over Am7 I'm playing A dorian, and over E7/#9 I'm using the whole-half diminished scale starting from the 7-th degree of the E chord (this a good way of learning the position of the scale on the fretboard in its relation to the dominant chord), but you will realise that, if you build the scale from the root of the E chord it is actually an E half hole diminished scale (you can use the scale generator for a better visual of the given scale).

Great playing I loved that! I'd hope soon to practice and learn some jazz.

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