Diminished Arpeggios Guitar Lesson

Diminished arpeggios create a tense sound and make interesting patterns when played on your guitar.

Ultimate Guitar
Diminished chords and arpeggios consist of only 4 different notes that are each a minor 3rd distance apart. On guitar a minor 3rd is a 3 fret distance. This video lesson from aceguitarlessons.com teaches diminished arpeggios in the key of E.
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The notes are the root (E), minor 3rd (G), diminished 5th (A#) and the major 6th (C#). Notice that each note is 3 frets away (minor 3rd) from the next note. In the first example we play the arpeggio on the e string. Diminished Arpeggio Pattern on e String:

The next thing we learn is sweep picked diminished arpeggios on the E B and G strings. A good picking pattern for this is Up on e, Up on B, Down on G, Down on B, Down on e - UP UP DOWN DOWN DOWN, as shown in the video. Sweep Picked Diminished Arpeggios:

When we get to the 12th fret position we play a cool descending diminished pattern often seen in neo-classical metal by artists suchs as Yngwie Malmsteen. Remember that the notes here are played in groups of three. Descending Diminished Arpeggios:

To finish off we play the diminished scale ascending then descending from low E to high E and back again across all six strings. This makes an interesting pattern on your fretboard as you will see! Ascending E Diminished Scale:

Descending E Diminished Scale:

Thanks for checking out this guitar lesson, other video lessons are also available on my Youtube channel.

31 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Yeah, cool scale but how would you use that in a song?
    Check out the solo to The River Dragon Has Come by Nevermore, nearly the entire thing is nothing but diminished arpeggios.
    It would work well over an E power chord riff, its just a soloing strategy, you probably don't want to play diminished arpeggios for your whole solo but they work well when combined with minor scale ideas as a good way to make the sound interesting
    Just figure out what chords fit it. Then you make up a progression with those chords and you use that scale to solo over it hitting the correct pitches
    k3v1n shr3dz
    What you refer to as the "Diminished Scale" is actually just a Diminished 7th arpeggio. To figure out the actual Diminished Scales, one simply needs to assemble the notes from 2 dim7 arps either one half-step or one whole-step apart. Stacking the Edim7 and Fdim7 arps results in the E Half-Whole (or Dominant) Diminished scale. E, G, Bb, C# + F, Ab, B, D = E, F, G, Ab, Bb, B, C#, D This one is Very useful over Dominant7 type chords as it yields several of the common tensions (b9, #9, b5, 13), as well as the chord tones (3rd, 5, dom7) Stacking the Edim7 and F#dim7 arps results in the E Half-Whole Diminished scale. E, G, Bb, C# + F#, A, C, D# = E, F#, G, A, Bb, C, C#, D# More importantly, you don't give any indication of HOW TO USE these arpeggios. I will. The most common way is to play them over a Dominant 7th chord down a half-step. Eg: Use the E,G,Bb,C# arp over an F#7 resolving to B or Bm. Over the F#7, the arp would yield the 3rd (Bb/A#), 5th (C#), 7th (E), and b9 (G). You would then switch to a minor or major scale when resolving. As any note from the chord/arp could be the root, this arp would also be useful over C7 to F(m), Eb7 to Ab(m), and A7 to D(m). Also of note is the fact that these arps also exist within the Harmonic Minor Scale. When used in that context as described above (over the V7 resolving to the Minor I) these arps SCREAM Neo-Classical. Use A Harmonic Minor (or its 5th mode, E Phrygian Dominant), and the Fdim7 arps over an E7. Then resolve to Am. Boom! You're now Yngwie.
    Great follow up dude. A few things I think should be pointed out as well. An E Diminished arpeggio should be spelled E (Root) G (minor 3rd) Bb (Diminished 5th) and Db (Diminished 7th). The author refers to the the Diminished 5th as an A# which is actually an augmented 4th and refers to the Diminished 7th as a major 6th. This may seem like knit-picking but it technically there is a difference.
    k3v1n shr3dz
    "Stacking the Edim7 and F#dim7 arps results in the E Half-Whole Diminished scale. E, G, Bb, C# + F#, A, C, D# = E, F#, G, A, Bb, C, C#, D#" This should read E WHOLE-HALF Diminished scale .
    Isn't the diminished scale in key of e supposed to have a few more notes u know before each third there's supposed to be a note I understand its a soloing lesson but still some ppl don't know the actual scale and might get confused when they hear the scale
    Diminished arpeggios contain less notes than diminished scales because a diminished chord only contains the 4 notes mentioned above (root, min 3rd, dim 5th, maj 6th)
    this is the first time i saw on how to read and play the guiter tab,thank you very much,,i will practice that lesson,keep up the goodwork..great
    I love how you put the different technical pieces separately below your video in tabs. Very, very helpful. Thank you.
    Perhaps giving a lesson on the application into a real situation might help, very good though.
    There's a really cool diminshed arpeggio in Opeth - The Leper Affinity at the end of the first solo, easy to learn, cool to play!
    Thats actually not the diminished scale but a full diminished arpeggio in e. The diminished scale follows a repeating pattern of tone, semitone and has 9 notes to an octave (8 different notes). It therefore has only 2 'modes', similar to how there are only three truly different full diminished chords (or arpeggios) as the intervals of a diminished chord have minor 3rds (3 semitones) between all of them.
    i hate these lessons. what did we ever do before the internet came along... ohhhh yea!!! we played the guitar instead!
    The internet makes us all better guitar players with lessons
    If you read the lesson but didn't play any of it on the guitar, I doubt you learned anything.
    Nice to see someone who demonstrates the fingering effectively. Thanks for a good lesson.
    hey , I know this things but I wish I saw this before I learned them because I learned them the hard way through out songs. beginners who want to learn neo-classical I suggest them to learn this first and find out other patterns from other songs
    The guitar aspect is great BUT THE THEORY IS JUST F***D Up Diminished scale??? wtf???? In the key of e minor the only diminished chord is at the 7th deegree(dont know the english term, i hope i got it right) and it goes like this: D#, F#, A, C when it appers with alterations (non scale tones, chromatics, dont know the exact eng. term) its never on the TONIC (the first deegree, the root) because it doesnt have sense in theory (its not a secondary dominant of any function in the key of any kind) Get your facts right before posting something