Diminished Responsibility

by Ben Higgins

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  • Welcome to my introductory lesson to the Diminished Scale. The diminished scale is made up entirely of whole tone, semitone, wholetone, semitone etc.. so the E Dimished scale would look like this: E, F#, G, A, A#, C, C#, D#.

    We're not going to be using the whole scale. Instead we're using some very popular, common arpeggio shapes constructed using notes that are within the diminished scale. Due to the nature of the intervals in the scale, we are able to ascend or descend using only minor 3thd intervals. So, the result is that you can put minor 3rd intervals together or play minor 3rd intervals one after the other and still create a diminished sound.

    Rather than bore you with theory, I want to introduce you to the sound that it creates so you can discover and use these popular patterns yourself. The diminished scale is complex and can relate to lots of exotic chords but you can still use it over a basic root + 5th power chord to great effect, which is what I've done here ! Players like Yngwie Malmsteen, Vinnie Moore & Chris Broderick have all used diminished arpeggios to great effect.

    One thing you will notice about using these shapes is that you will have to think about how you cross the neck, due to their diagonal layout.
    This will be a good exercise for your fretting hand !

    You will encounter some intermediate alternate picking in this lesson but the main result will be an acqaintance with the dark and eerie sound of the diminished.

    Marshall JVM. OD1, Red setting. Bass - 1, Mid - 9.5, Treb - 5, Gain - 3

    Tempo: 115bpm

    Key: Em.

    Chord Progression: Em, Edim

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