Welcome to the most recent installment of Chord by Chord, a series designed to construct your understanding of consistency and the fretboard. In previous lessons, you’ve found out a bunch of different shapes for significant and small chords, and how to link them. Now it’s time to tackle a new chord type– diminished.

Diminished chords have a dissonant sound and are often utilized to include stress to progressions. I’ll begin by showing you how to transform A minor shapes into A decreased (dim).

The Work

As revealed in Example 1, bear in mind that a small chord is made up of 3 notes– the root, the minor 3rd, and the 5th. In a diminished chord, the first 2 notes are the same, but the 5th is flatted (Example 2). On paper, this distinction might appear subtle, but the variance in sound is actually pretty considerable.

Example 3 uses the guitar’s middle strings, with the root note used the open A string. In Example 4, we move a little more up the neck, still using the four middle strings with the open A. Keep in mind making use of the fourth finger on the Am chord, enabling a smooth shift to the Adim. For a more conventional fingering on the Am, you could attempt utilizing your third finger rather of your 4th.

In Example 5, you’ll use only the leading three strings, but if you fingerpick, you could also include the root note on the open 5th string. Travel up to eighth position for Example 6. I suggest disallowing the leading 3 strings with your first finger, so that you do not have to move your whole hand when changing between the two shapes. Example 7, which is the greatest on the neck but possibly the easiest in this lesson, involves playing an Am chord on the leading 3 strings and sliding the first-string E down a fret, to make Adim. Again, do not hesitate to incorporate the open A.

The Result

By now you feel comfy deriving Adim chords from various Am shapes. Bear in mind that in context, diminished chords generally play transitional functions. So rather of a demonstrating a tune, I’ll just say that a classic example of the diminished noise is heard in old film soundtracks, when a villain is connecting someone, often a damsel in distress, to the railway tracks as a train techniques. That’s it for this lesson– remain tuned for next time, when we’ll repeat the process with Em and Edim chords.