Welcome to the most recent installment of Chord by Chord, a series designed to construct your understanding of harmony and the fretboard. Last time I showed you how to derive numerous Adim voicings from their Am counterparts. In this lesson I’ll demonstrate how to do the same with Em and Edim chords.

How to Play E Diminished Voicings | Chord by Chord

The Work
As I discussed in the last installation, a minor triad is consisted of 3 notes– the root, the small third, and the fifth (Example 1). And keep in mind, small and reduced chords are identical, except that the fifth in a decreased chord is flatted (Example 2). To our ears, these chords sound very different.

Example 3 includes the bottom four strings of the guitar. Notification that I’m omitting the open B string– the fifth– as it’s the only note that alters between the 2 chords. Now attempt Example 4a, with the chords used strings 2– 4 (and 6, if you fingerpick). Use the fingerings shown, or try the figure with your second, first, and ring fingers on strings 5, 4, and 3, respectively, for both chords.

Example 4b is a variation on the previous figure, including the note G on string 1. Try barring the top 3 strings with your first finger; that method you only have to move one finger when you switch between the two shapes. A pretty simple one, Example 5 utilizes the leading 3 strings around the seventh fret. Just move your very first finger down one fret to change the Em chord to Edim.

Example 6 is likewise used the top three strings. Many guitar players choose to play the Em shape as composed, barring the leading 3 strings, however I find I get the cleanest noise when I utilize my very first, second, and 3rd fingers on strings 3, 2, and 1. Keep in mind that the Edim chord in this example has the very same shape as an open D7 chord– but more on seventh chords later on.

The Outcome
Ideally, you now feel comfortable making Edim chords from Em shapes. This works, as again, decreased chords are frequently used to shift in between significant and small chords in tunes. One tune that takes place to use an Edim chord (in addition to a bunch of other chords that you’ll find out in the future) is Patsy Cline’s “Crazy.” Thanks for tuning in. Next time I’ll show you a new chord type– increased.