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Guitar Chords Chart – Diminished 7 Chords

Guitar chords chart can sometimes be confusing, especially when you are looking for diminished chords chart. Whilst other basic guitar chords are relatively easy to figure out and memorized, diminished 7 chords can be named with 4 different names for a single chord shape. A beginning guitarist may find it difficult to determine what the root note of that particular chord as well as placing the diminished chords in the chords progression. Unlike the power chords that can be played safely because they don’t have minor or major indicator note (missing the third note), a diminished chord is most of the time used for the 7th note on the scale only. If you are playing in C for example than the diminished chord can be applied on the B, being the 7th note on the C major scale.

OK, enough frightening words. Let us see some examples below:

Dim7Chords Guitar Chords Chart   Diminished 7 Chords

Why does one guitar fretboard chart have four different names? To answer this question we first have to understand the concept of the natural chords or major chords:

C Major Scale: C – D – E – F – G – A – B – C
F# Major Scale: F# – G# – Bb – B – C# – D# – F – F#
A Major Scale: A – B – C# – D – E – F# – G# – A
Eb Major Scale: Eb – F – G – Ab(= G#) – Bb – C – D – Eb

The major chord normally consists of triad notes which are the first or root note, the third and the fifth notes. C major chord for example has a triad of C, E and G.

C Major Chord: C – E – G
F# Major Chord: F# – Bb – C#
A Major Chord: A – C# – E
Eb Major Chord: Eb – G – Bb

If you don’t understand why some of them have #(sharp) and b(flat) signs don’t worry. You can find how they work in the links below:

Guitar Chord Progression
Guitar Chords Progression with Minor Chords
Guitar Chord Progression with Dominant 7

A true diminished chord (hence different from diminished 7 chord) has only three notes like the triad of the major chords above, however the third and fifth notes are flat notes (lowered by a half step or one fret on your guitar fretboard). See this picture for better idea:

dim vs maj Guitar Chords Chart   Diminished 7 Chords

dim vs maj chords

Based on the formula above here are the triad of diminished chords above:

C Dim Chord: C – Eb – Gb(F#)
F# Dim Chord: F# – A – C
A Dim Chord: A – C – Eb(D#)
Eb Dim: Eb – Gb(F#) – A

To form a diminished 7 chord the 6th note is added so there will be 4 notes in the chord now. Go find out the 6th note of each chord in the major chord section again:

C Major Scale: C – D – E – F – G – A – B – C
F# Major Scale: F# – G# – Bb – B – C# – D#(Eb) – F – F#
A Major Scale: A – B – C# – D – E – F#(Gb) – G# – A
Eb Major Scale: Eb – F – G – Ab(G#) – Bb – C – D – Eb

Now we can add these notes to make dim7 chords from dim chords we made earlier:

C Dim7 Chord: C – Eb – Gb(F#) – A
F# Dim7 Chord: F# – A – C – D#(Eb)
A Dim7 Chord: A – C – Eb(D#) – F#(Gb)
Eb Dim7 Chord: Eb – Gb(F#) – A – C

Can you see that actually all these 4 different Dim7 chords share the same notes? Let’s go back to the guitar chords chart above:

ACFEbdim7 Guitar Chords Chart   Diminished 7 Chords

Let’s say I name it Adim7. We know that we can transpose a chord to another one by shifting the shape across the fretboard. If for example I want to make a Cdim7 chord and I don’t believe all the theories above I can just shift it by 3 frets higher because A to C distance is one and a half steps which is 3 frets on my fretboard. This is the result:

Cdim7Big Guitar Chords Chart   Diminished 7 Chords

As you can see from the chart above the chord is still representing the same notes but in different voicing. Move up again another 3 frets and you will have another new voicing from the same notes.

Diminished chords are not played as often as the basic guitar chords but if you know how to use them they can really enhance your guitar playing. If you just start learning basic guitar scales like the pentatonic scales boxes – commonly used for blues guitar chords – you probably don’t need these dim chords, unless you are interested in other genre like jazz.

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2 Responses to “Guitar Chords Chart – Diminished 7 Chords”

  1. Olin Haye says:

    I have been playing the guitar for over 25 years and your article has been the most informative and inspiring that I have read on playing my favorite instrument. You can be sure that I am saving your blog for future reference.

  2. I followed your instructions and it worked great! thanks!