Lick of the Week 5: Dim7 Chords

I bet this one is a bit off the beaten path for you! Unless you’re into jazz, not too many guitar players plumb the depths of the diminished chords, but today I wanted to show you a fairly simple way to string some into a lick.

The amazing beauty of this diminished 7th chord shape is that you can move it around the fretboard, in steps of a minor third (that’s three frets), and every time you do, it becomes another inversion of itself!

Effectively, this means you can string a bunch of these together and you’re always playing the same chord, but it gives a very nice ascending or descending feel because the pitch of the chord changes each time you go up or down the neck.

Because we’re in the key of C major or A minor, we’re using a B dim7 chord. Bdim is the VII chord in the key of C major. As you can hear in the video, it resolves beautifully to the A minor.

Try playing around with this! One idea is to use only two strings from these shapes, and create a double stop style riff from them. Try all the different pairings to see how they sound!

If you liked this lesson, you can find a lot more on the Lick of the Week page!

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  1. Hey Jonathan,

    Very nice example of using the diminished chord!!!

    I’ve never had the chance to learn chords such as these when I took lessons in person, so I thank you for rhis video!!!

    Have a great weekend!!!

    Michelle N

  2. Great lesson Jonathan! Is there a “guitar teacher” reason why you didn’t play the chords as barre chords? I played them this way and it seems natural, as I’m already sorta set up for the Am barre at the end.

    I noticed in the video you played a chord that isn’t in the tab, right before finishing with the Am. Maybe Bdim7 open?

    I’m really learning a lot from these short L.O.W. lessons. Thank you again.

    Best Regards,
    Jeff Rininger

    1. Hi Jeff, no, there’s no fancy reason for why I chose that fingering. If barring works better for you, by all means, steam ahead!

      Regarding the other chords – remember that you can move this chord around by a minor third anywhere, so that means all the way up and down the fretboard. All that changes is the order in which the notes appear – for instance, in one position the D from the chord might be the lowest note, and in another position, the B might be the lowest note, but all four notes required are always present in every position. Because of this, you’re always technically dealing with the same chord, however the sound or voicing of the chord changes quite a lot, depending on the position.

  3. Just want to thank you for your innovative ideas., and your easy to follow directions.
    Much pleasure here.

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