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#1 2012-01-14 02:20:01

Astronomikal
Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Moderator
From: Texas
Registered: 2009-11-01
Posts: 644

Questions about diminished chords

I just want to confirm some things I think I know about diminished chords.

First:
This week my guitar teacher told me that the form of a diminished chord is 1-b3-b5.  However, on a sheet given to me a while back by a different guitar teacher it says the form is 1-b3-5-b7.  I think the first one is right and the second one is actually a m7 form, not diminished at all (a typo on the sheet).  Am I right?

Second:
Assuming 1-b3-b5 is the right answer, it seems to me that since the 3 is flat, this is a minor form to start with, so would it be accurate to say that this can be called a minor dimininshed form also (mdim)?

Third:
When I asked my guitar teacher the second question above, he said YES.  Further, he said there is a form which looks like:  1-3-b5.  He called this "half diminished".  I had never heard of that before.  Have you?

To me, a sensible convention would be to say the following:
-   1-3-b5 = diminished
-   1-b3-b5 = minor diminished
Is that legitimate?


Anyway, I'm a bit confused.  please help.

Thanks,
'Nom

Last edited by Astronomikal (2012-01-14 02:37:44)


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#2 2012-01-14 02:41:26

bluejeep
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From: Scott County, Virginia, U.S.A.
Registered: 2008-03-19
Posts: 402

Re: Questions about diminished chords

Hey 'Nom, all that learnin and you're a bit confused - imagine how I feel with no learnin.  Sorry I don't know how to help ya.


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#3 2012-01-14 02:49:04

dino48
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From: los banos,california
Registered: 2007-04-06
Posts: 4676

Re: Questions about diminished chords

That is somewhat confusing,hopefully russell or jerome will see this post and help you.


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#4 2012-01-23 23:54:49

sumadog
Junior Member
From: Salmon Arm, B.C. Canada
Registered: 2011-10-19
Posts: 22

Re: Questions about diminished chords

Astro,
OK so let's see if I can REALLY confuse you! I learned like this (self taught mind you)...
get your root, go three frets up (so that would be three half tones) and there's your next note. Go three frets up from that and there's your diminished triad. Go three frets up from that and there's your dim7. Note that when you see it written it looks like 1 b3 b5 bb7.(Now I always thought a half dim was 1 b3 b5 b7 but I am probably wrong. That actually looks like a m7b5.) Another way to say it would be a diminished is a chord where the notes are 3 half tones apart.

Augmented is a chord where the notes are 4 half tones apart.

Major triad is root, 4 half tones, 3 half tones

Minor triad is root, 3 half tones, 4 half tones

Hope that muddies the waters considerably! haha


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#5 2012-01-24 00:55:15

jerome.oneil
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From: Bellevue, WA
Registered: 2006-06-15
Posts: 3034
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Re: Questions about diminished chords

1. Yes.
2. Yes, although it would be redundant.  smile
3. Yes.  Weird jazz guys play that stuff all the time.   And also, gypsy swing players.

So, see if you can get your head around this (taught to me by a weird gypsy, no less.)

If you add the 7th and play dim7 chords, not only does it sound weirder, but each chord shape on the fret-board is a full inversion of every other note in the chord.  You effectively get four different chord voicing out of one fingering!

Check this out as an example.  Lets use the four notes that make up Edim7

Edim7:    E  G  Bb Db
Gdim7:   G Bb  Db E 
Bbdim7:  Bb Db E G
Dbdim7:  Db E G Bb

Woah.


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#6 2012-01-24 15:42:55

tubatooter1940
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From: Alabama Gulf Coast
Registered: 2008-06-24
Posts: 1816
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Re: Questions about diminished chords

I found it interesting that diminished chords repeat every fourth fret as you progress up the neck.


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#7 2012-01-24 21:40:03

jerome.oneil
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From: Bellevue, WA
Registered: 2006-06-15
Posts: 3034
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Re: Questions about diminished chords

tubatooter1940 wrote:

I found it interesting that diminished chords repeat every fourth fret as you progress up the neck.

That's' an artifact of the inversion trick I described.  Every note in the chord is a step and a half away from the others, so you'll repeat every four frets (a step and a half!)

Neat trick.  :)


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#8 2012-01-24 22:40:23

Baldguitardude
El Modarino
From: Las Vegas
Registered: 2010-12-09
Posts: 1209
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Re: Questions about diminished chords

Other fun trivia  - dominant seventh chords contain a diminished triad:

C7 = C E G Bb
E dim = E G Bb

You can use diminished chords as a substitute for the dominant chords with a root a major third below the diminished chord's root. Yowza.

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#9 2012-01-24 22:53:37

jerome.oneil
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From: Bellevue, WA
Registered: 2006-06-15
Posts: 3034
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Re: Questions about diminished chords

That's a new trick for me! 

Diminished chords: Is there anything they can't do?


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#10 2012-01-25 00:57:44

Baldguitardude
El Modarino
From: Las Vegas
Registered: 2010-12-09
Posts: 1209
Website

Re: Questions about diminished chords

You can really get crazy when you blow that dominant chord out to an altered chord...

C E G Bb Db

Now you have E/G/Bb/Db dim7 over C. Head exploooooodes.

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