Deconstructing Diminished Chords - Music Theory for Guitar

WTF is a diminished chord? That all depends...


Please note, this transcription was computer generated and has not been checked for errors. However, I do hope you find it helpful. Be sure to check out The Ultimate Modal Poster!

Music theory is not an exact science. It's just a system that humans invented to help us label and interpret the things that we're hearing and because it's not a hard concrete science things can get kind of slippery and confusing there can be lots of terminologies that kind of work both ways. And you know, all your definitions are not clear-cut a big example is that is diminished chords. I had a huge problem understanding really what diminished chords were because there's so much language involved with what a diminished chord is versus what a diminished Triad is Diminished 7th and a half diminish all that kind of stuff. So we're going to clear all that up today. Today. We're learning about diminished chords how to build them the differences between them and how they apply to our guitar. All right.

So let's start off a diminished Triad is the first thing that we need to know and a diminished Triad is just three notes. That's what a Triad means just three notes and a diminished Triad is very easy to build. We'll do it here in the key of A. I'm going to start on a which is my fifth fret on the low string and from there. All I have to do is travel three Frets to find the next note of my diminished Triad.

That'll be a c and then I have to travel another three Frets to help me find the next note of my diminished Triad which will be an E flat. So those three notes right there see a c and e flat those three notes compose an a diminished Triad now that a diminished Triad is just the Triad when somebody says Hey play me an a diminished chord.

They most likely are not talking about just playing those three notes when people talk about diminished chords. They're usually referring to Either one of two things either a diminished 7th chord or a half diminished chord. So let's talk about both of those a diminished 7th chord is also called a full diminished chord. All right, and basically what it is is it's another minor third stacked on top of that so we had three Frets to our next Note 3 fret store next note and if we go three Frets to our next note that note would give us a diminished 7th chord and we also call this a full diminished chord. All right. Now, this is a really interesting cord since every note is only three Frets away or three notes away.

There's really no no distinct root here. Alright any one of these notes can be the root? So if I play all those notes at the same time that a that see that E flat and that F sharp. All right or a g flat if I play all those together I can do it with this shape right here and that just sounds lovely right now. Like I said any one of those notes can be the root. So right now I'm playing a diminish. I'm also playing C diminished. I'm also playing E-flat diminished and also playing G flat diminished. This could be any one of those four chords and it's the exact same shape that Is pretty interesting and depending on what the bass note is I mean really the context here is my lowest note is a so, I think the appropriate thing would be to call this an a diminished even though it could be many other things. All right, since every note in this court is three Frets away from the next note if I take this whole shape and lift it up three Frets all of a sudden I have the exact same notes in a different order and I can do that again lifting it up three Frets here.

You can hear that's the exact same four notes. All right, so that is a diminished 7th chord or a full diminished. And just to show you there's also another shape. I enjoy using this big shape. I showed you you can break that down into tiny shapes. Like if you just play the four middle strings you'll have this and that's still a diminished or if you look at just the high strings like this.

That's a diminished shape too. So that's an easy shape. I like that one because you can break it down into different strings and get different diminish shapes out of it, but the other diminish shape, I like to use is this little guy right here.

All right, in this case, you can hear I'm doing a different diminish, but I like that shape. It's very convenient little way to play these stacked minor third. All right. So the other kind of diminished chord we here is the half diminished. All right, and this one you often hear referred to as a minor 7 flat 5 chord so a half diminished once again starts with are diminished Triad one our flat 3 and our flat at five. All right, but then from there we're not going to add we're going to add a flatted 7. Alright.

Alright that note right there would be a g. And before what we did is we added a double flatted 7. All right, and that's actually the terminology that they use which I think is kind of Of silly, but you get the idea. We took a seventh we flattered and we flattered again. That's a double flatted 7. That was the note. We used in full diminished. Now. We're just using a regular flatted 7, and if you don't know what a flatted 7 is check out the video on scale degrees. This is really easy concept here.

So I've got a 1 a flat 3 flat 5 and the flatted 7 and that cord is a half diminished. All right, those notes give me a half diminished or a minor 7 flat 5.

Yes. I know that is a mouthful of a coordinating but that's what we call it. So to play that here's what I would do.

I would put my middle finger on the route and I would skip a few strings I play this shape as well.

The other shape I enjoy playing is I can do the same thing here on let's go eat. All right, and I can use this little shape to play A Minor 7 flat 5.

Now the Minor 7 flat 5 or the half diminished is the diminished chord that most people are talking about when they say, hey play me in a diminished. Like if you look through your your diatonic chords in the key of A, for example, all right. My first chord is a major. My full record is you know D major my five for dizzy major my six chord IS F sharp minor but my seven chord if you look at that diatonic formula at seven chord is always called a diminished chord and really what you can't do there is you're not allowed to play in this case G sharp. You're not allowed to play G sharp full diminished 7 that is not diatonic. That's not actually the key. There's some notes in here that are not in the key of A. What is completely in the key of A and what only uses this this half diminished chord really only uses notes from Major key.

So when somebody's talking about the seven chord in the key of major, they're talking about that seven chord being diminished. If you really want to play a full diminished chord.

Let me rephrase that if you really want to play a complete diminished chord, you're going to have to play the half diminished or the minor 7th flat 5 to State. All right, the full diminished is cool, but it's not in key anymore. And there's obviously uses for that. It's not like you can't play it.

But I remember being very confused with that let that seven coordinating thing. Wait a second. What's the deal with the diminished chord? Is it the three notes? Is it a full diminishes at a half diminished? So hopefully this clears it up you have a diminished Triad and that is the foundation of all of your diminished chord types. All right. And from there, we really only have two types of diminished chords. We have the full diminished aka the diminished seventh and that is the ambiguous one with multiple routes and is symmetrical. It's only three Frets that you know stacked minor thirds and we also have its cousin the half diminished which is also called the Minor 7 flat 5. All right, so using these is a whole different lesson, so maybe it will do something like that here in the not so distant future. I just wanted to clear this up because I know for me it was a huge source of confusion when I started. So. If you have any questions, please let me know. Leave a comment down below, and if you enjoy this video, please subscribe. I will be doing more videos on Theory and guitar lesson as the week's go by.



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