Diminished Guitar Chords
dim or º
There are a variety of diminished guitar chords. These include, diminished (dim or º), diminished 7th (dim 7 or о7), half diminished 7th (ø7 or m7b5), 7th diminished 5th (7 -5 or 7b5), 9th diminished 5th (9 -5 or 9b5)...
In this session, we will be looking at the 3-note diminished chord or triad. Many guitarists prefer to play a diminished 7th chord (4-note chord) instead of a diminished chord... the choice is yours, but they are handy to know.
The diminished chord is a dissonant or unstable chord and generally needs resolution, however, if used cleverly the tension can sound awesome.
- A dim chord is a diminished triad consisting of 2 minor thirds above the root or tonic, therefore having a root, minor third & diminished 5th.
- The chord formula for a diminished (dim) chord is 1 - ♭3 - ♭5
- The symbol for a diminished chord is dim, º , or m♭5
- Diminished Chords consist of the 1st, ♭3rd, and ♭5th notes of a Major Scale
- Remember that a minor third is equal to 3 half steps or 3 semitones. If we move a minor third upwards from C, we get E♭... (C - C# - D - E♭). If we move another minor 3rd upwards from E♭, we get G♭... (E♭- E - F - G♭)
- 'C' chords, are based on the C major Scale which consists of no sharps or flats.
- The C scale reads as follows: C - D - E - F - G - A - B - C
- Chord formula for a diminished chord = 1 - ♭3 - ♭5
- Substitute the notes of the scale into the formula: 1=C, ♭3=♭E, ♭5=♭G
- C dim reads as follows: C - ♭E - ♭G
Diminished Guitar Chords - Right Handers
Chord Chart Legend
Diminished Guitar Chords - Left Handers
Chord Chart Legend
If you know the basic shape of a diminished chord and know where the root note is located on the guitar fretboard, you can play diminished chords all over the fretboard. This is very handy if you have a favorite shape you like to play. You can play 1 shape and play all 12 keys by just moving up or down the fretboard... very handy!