Using the Diminished Scale as a Tool to Improvise over Dominant Chords | Lessonface

Using the Diminished Scale as a Tool to Improvise over Dominant Chords

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J Weckerley
Using the Diminished Scale as a Tool to Improvise over Dominant Chords

The Diminished Scale: One of the Keys to Sounding Great on Dominant Chords

Diminished scales are symmetrical scales based on diminished (minor) thirds. Generally they are constructed by alternating whole steps and half steps. The symmetrical nature of these scales makes them easy to memorize quickly. 

Throughout my career as an improviser, I was never attracted to using diminished scales in my lines. Recently, though, I have noticed I want more color when playing over dominant chords. Adding diminished scales to my improvisational bag of tricks has really helped out my playing.

Because the scales are based on fully diminished dominants (stacks of minor thirds) there are only three basic configurations broken up into groups of four.

The link below goes to a chart that lays out these scales in different keys.

http://cameronweckerley.wixsite.com/cwpianolessons/tools-links

Any other thoughts on tools to add to your bag of tricks when improvising over dominant chords?​

Ligia Silva
Instructor

On dominant chords I've been also practicing the altered scale (superlocrian) - in C7 - C, Db, D#, E, F#, G#, Bb  Notice you'd have to change the perfect 5th to a #5 or #4, or just omit it the comping. But it sound great! It's a bit harder to master and really hear it. I think the diminished is better to practice, as you said it has only 3 forms!

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