Diminished Scale Licks and Runs

Diminished Scale Licks and Runs

Spice up your Jazz lines by learning one of the coolest sounding Jazz scales on the planet...

One of the most common Jazz scales (applied in nearly all styles of jazz music), is the Diminished scale.

Often referred to as the "Octatonic Scale," its structure is very unique due to its 8-tone layout, (the 9th tone is the octave). A scale having this many scale tones is a rare occurrence in a music world of abundant with "5-tone" pentatonic and, "7-tone" scales and modes.

The Diminished scale is derived out of two interlocking 4-tone diminished seventh chords giving us those unique "eight separate tones." This rather strange symmetry of recurring whole and half-steps produces some important altered degrees in the Diminished scales structure. The associated altered tones are an augmented "9th and 5th," as well as, a diminished 5th.

In this lesson, we will explore the Diminished scale structure by studying a collection of popular scale patterns on the neck. The fun part will come in working out some Diminished scale licks

PART ONE: The first example begins by breaking down the fret-board layout of a 5th-string tonic, Pattern #2, "E Diminished Scale." Then, we will work our way through a guitar lick that will function over the "E7" chord. The lick will be targeting the "Major 6th" and "Minor 3rd" of the E7 chord's tones.

Example two studies the 6th and 4th-string layout of a combined Pattern #4 and Pattern #5 "C Diminished Scale." In the example lick we perform lines over the "C7" chord and practice targeting the sounds of altered 5th's. Our study will include both a diminished and and augmented 5th.

PART TWO: Example three introduces a 6th-string tonic Pattern #4 "B Diminished Scale" fingerboard layout. The guitar lick we'll study is organized around a run that covers the interesting sounds of a "Triad Over Bass-Note" chord type. In our case, we're making a study of an "A#/B." This chord gives us intervals of a "Major 7th" and suspended tones of a "9th and 11th." The "B Diminished" works fantastic in covering this dissonant sound of this chord.

Example four uses a 5th and 3rd string tonic combined pattern "D Diminished Scale." This layout combines both Pattern #2 and Pattern #3 scale layouts. The guitar lick will focus on the sound of an altered dominant chord of "D7(#9)." This is a popular chord used in a number of music styles including Jazz, Blues, Jazz-Fusion and even Classic Rock. The Diminished Scale is excellent for covering this chord type since it contains the; "b7," "Major 3rd," as well as, the "raised 9th."

Diminished Scale Licks and Runs

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