Diminished Scale Guitar

Diminished scale guitar fretboard diagrams, tab and information. Learn how to play diminished scales on guitar.

The diminished scale has a rather ambiguous sound when played without accompaniment. However, in the right circumstances diminished scales can liven up melodies and guitar solos.

Diminished scales are commonly used to improvise over diminished chords (from which they are formed), and are also used to create tensions over dominant chords.

Diminished Scale Guitar Fretboard Diagrams

Two common ways of playing diminished chords on the guitar are shown below:

Diminished Scale Guitar
Diminished Scale Guitar Diagram 1. Tonic notes are shown as white circles.

Diminished Scale Guitar Fretboard Diagram
Diminished Scale Guitar Diagram 2

In these diminished scale diagrams, any of the white circles can be considered to be the root / tonic note of the scale.

This means that (for example) an A diminished scale contains the same notes as a C diminished scale, an E flat diminished scale, and a G flat diminished scale.

Why Does Each Diminished Scale Contain The Same Notes As Three Other Diminished Scales?

If you look closely at the spacing of the notes in a diminished scale, you'll see why this occurs.

The notes rise in a continuous tone / semitone pattern throughout the octave.

Some examples:

  • C Diminished Scale contains the notes: C, D, Eb, F, Gb, Ab, A, B, C
  • Eb Diminished Scale contains the notes: Eb, F, Gb, Ab, A, B, C, D, Eb
  • Gb Diminished Scale contains the notes: Gb, Ab, A, B, C, D, Eb, F, Gb
  • A Diminished Scale contains the notes: A, B, C, D, Eb, F, Gb, Ab, A

Diminished Scale Tab

Study the C diminished scale notation below. See how it contains the same notes as E flat, G flat and A diminished scales.

Diminished Scale Tab
C Diminished scale tab: click to enlarge

Two more ways of playing diminished scales on the guitar are shown below:

Diminished Scale Guitar Finger Positions
Diminished Scales For Guitar.

Diminished Scale Conclusion

We hope that you've enjoyed learning how to play this strange-sounding, but useful, scale on your guitar.

For a lesson on improvising with diminished scales, including example guitar solos and a backing track allowing  you to play your own solo, see this page: How To Use Diminished Scales.

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