Diminished Scale Picking Patterns

Workout both fretting and picking hands with these diminished scale picking patterns. Lesson includes the two basic shapes and three custom ones.

Diminished Scale Picking Patterns
The diminished scale is another very interesting scale. It's a neverending repeating pattern of whole tone, half tone, whole tone, half tone etc.

For this reason there are only two main scale positions, as opposed to the 5 positions of the pentatonic scale or the 7 positions of the major scale. It also sounds terrifying in a heavy metal solo and is great for working all 4 fretting fingers as you will see.

I will now take you through the 2 main scale positions, and then I will show you 3 of my favorite diagonal shapes.

Whole-Half Diminished Scale

Starting on the 7th fret, try out the whole-half diminished scale. It's called this because from the root note, in this case B, we play a whole step ahead (2 frets) followed by a half step (1 fret) after that. This pattern repeats endlessly.

Half-Whole Diminished Scale

This is the second position and therefore starts on the second note of the first scale shape, the C#. This is the same idea as before but flipped around so that we begin with the root note, followed by a half step, followed by a whole step, and so on.

Whole-Half Diagonal

Because of the repetitive nature of the diminished scale, you can arrange your fingerings into really interesting diagonal shapes like this. This one is exclusively the "whole-half" fingering.

Half-Whole Diagonal

This one is exactly the same as before except instead of using the "whole-half" fingering on the B (7th fret), we will be using the "half-whole" fingering on the C# (9th fret).

Wide 2-Note-Per-String Custom Diagonal

Here is a custom, wide, diagonal position which is a favorite of mine. It begins on the B (7th fret), skips the whole step and the half step to land on the fourth note. I then shift this pattern up and across diagonally. Wow what a sound!

Be sure to bust out these evil scales next time you encounter a heavy open E riffing breakdown!

Check out the video lesson below for the playthrough:

By Alfred Potter www.AlfredPotter.com

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    Octane Twisted
    As a diminished scale lover I already knew most of these, but dude, the last pattern is really great. It has a really dramatic feel to it. I think I heard it used in some Symphony X songs actually !
    Cool! Yes I love them, mostly their old stuff though when they were operatic and classical. I must have subconsciously nicked the dim scale pattern from them :p
    Awesome lesson! This one and the one on Japanese scales have lead to a lot of fun improv! Alfred's backing tracks are also def worth checking out on his youtube channel!
    Thank you, so kind! I am glad you enjoyed the Japanese lesson too. I think it will be the next article I submit to UG.com.
    Didn't understand diminished scale before I read this. And its so easy! Paganini uses half step-whole step several times in capriccio no. 24. And in cappriccio no. 5. Love your diagonal custom shape, it sounds like something out of a horror movie.
    Made me laugh! Out of a horror movie, I know just what you mean. Yes that custom shape certainly stands out. The scale is easy isn't it? I love using it for exercises too as is exercises all 4 fingers. Thanks for the comment.
    Thanks for the no frills low chat lesson. Will watch your other videos now, cheers!
    Dude that is what I am about! Practice time is precious and I haaate it when people talk and talk. Thanks very much for checking out my stuff.
    As with previous articles I feel you're barely skimming the surface here. It's clear that you can do more, so let's dive in a bit deeper next time.
    I love this, checked out a few more of your vids and subscribed, this is the kind of stuff I love to expand my playing in unique and fun ways.
    Thanks man. Glad to have you aboard. I'm happy that you appreciate my style of videos! I always try to keep them interesting and short yet full of info.