Diminished triad chords (dim) | Open and closed voicings | Guitar diagrams and charts

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Chord formulas chartIn music, a triad chord is a combination of three notes played all at once. It is built by stacking a root, a third (major or minor), and a fifth (perfect, diminished or augmented). Triads come in different varieties such as major, minor, augmented, and diminished. Here are the four main qualities :

  • Major triad : root (1) - major third (3) and perfect fifth (5).
  • Minor triad : root (1) - minor third (b3) and perfect fifth (5).
  • Diminished triad : root (1) - minor third (b3) and diminished fifth (b5).
  • Augmented triad : root (1) - major third (3) and augmented fifth (#5).

Triad symbols

  • Major triad : Generally, no quality symbol is added.
  • Minor triad :"m" or "min".
  • Diminished triad : "dim" or a degree sign "°".
  • Augmented triad : "aug" or a plus sign "+".

Diminished triad chords | Guitar diagrams, root positions and inversions.

In this lesson, we will see how to play diminished triad chords on the guitar. A diminished triad is made up of a root (1), a minor third (b3) and a diminished fifth (b5). That is to say that it is a minor triad with a lowered fifth. Here is a comparison with the locrian mode. By taking the first, minor third and the diminished fifth of this mode, we get a diminished triad.

B locrian scale B C D E F G A
Formula 1 b2 (b9) b3 4 (11) b5 b6 (b13) b7
B diminished triad 1 X b3 X b5 X X

 

Root positions and inversions

Before starting to learn and play the 12 diminished triad chords below, you need to know what is an inverted chord. This is simply a chord whose notes has been arranged in a different order. In other words, you will play the same notes as the root chord, but with the third or the fifth in the bass instead of the root.

Closed guitar chords are those where the positions, fit within the space of one octave. There are 12 closed guitar chords diagrams below divided into 4 categories :

  1. Triad chords with basses on the 6th string.
  2. Basses on the 5th string.
  3. Basses on the 4th string.
  4. Basses on the 3rd string.

Each category contains 1 root position and 2 inverted chords. The chart below shows you the diminished triad voicings related to the chords of each category.

Root position  R b3 b5
1st inversion (third in the bass) b3 b5 R
2nd inversion (fifth in the bass) b5 R b3

 

Diminished triad chords | Basses on 6th string | Root and inverted positions

Root position

Diminished triad chords guitar diagram 1

1st inversion (b3 in the bass)

Diminished triad chords guitar diagram 2

2nd inversion (b5 in the bass)

Diminished triad chords guitar diagram 3

Diminished triad chords | Basses on 5th string | Root and inverted positions

Root position

Diminished triad chords guitar diagram 4

1st inversion (b3 in the bass)

Diminished triad chords guitar diagram 5

2nd inversion (b5 in the bass)

Diminished triad chords guitar diagram 6

Diminished triad chords | Basses on 4th string | Root and inverted positions

Root position

Diminished triad chords guitar diagram 7

1st inversion (b3 in the bass)

Diminished triad chords guitar diagram 8

2nd inversion (b5 in the bass)

Diminished triad chords guitar diagram 9

Diminished triad chords | Basses on 3rd string | Root and inverted positions

Root position

Diminished triad chords guitar diagram 10

1st inversion (b3 in the bass)

Diminished triad chords guitar diagram 11

2nd inversion (b5 in the bass)

Diminished triad chords guitar diagram 12

Open voiced diminished triads

Now you know how to play closed diminished triads on the guitar (root positions and inversions), the time has now come to talk about open triads.

What are open triads ?

The notes of an open triad are spread over more than an the octave, unlike a closed triad, that has its notes included in one octave.

How to build open voiced triads ?

You just have to drop the middle voice (so the second voice) up on octave. That's the reason why open triads are also commonly named "drop 2 triads". For a better understanding, let's take an example with a B diminished triad. This type of triad is made up of a root (1), a minor third (b3) and a diminished fifth (b5). So we get three notes : B, D and F respectively the root, the minor third and the diminished fifth when stacked together represent a B diminished closed voicing.

Drop the minor third (which is the middle voice of the close voicing) up an octave. We now get a new voicing : B, F and D.

You can even mix these tones to get two other diminished voicings. (check out the chart and the guitar diagrams below).

Root position (root in the bass)  R b5 b3
1st inversion (minor third in the bass in the bass) b3 R b5
2nd inversion (diminished fifth in the bass) b5 b3 R

 

Diminished open voiced triads 

Diminished triads - Open voicings - Guitar shapes

Diminished triad - Open voicing - Root position

Drop 2 diminished triad guitar chord 7

Diminished triad - Open voicing - 1st inversion

Drop 2 diminished triad guitar chord 6

Diminished triad - Open voicing - 2nd inversion

Drop 2 diminished triad guitar chord 9

Diminished triad - Open voicing - Root position

Drop 2 diminished triad guitar chord 4 1

Diminished triad - Open voicing - 1st inversion

Drop 2 diminished triad guitar chord 3 1

Diminished triad - Open voicing - 2nd inversion

Drop 2 diminished triad guitar chord 5 1

Diminished triad - Open voicing - Root position

Drop 2 diminished triad guitar chord

Diminished triad - Open voicing - 1st inversion

Drop 2 diminished triad guitar chord 8

Diminished triad - Open voicing - 2nd inversion

Drop 2 diminished triad guitar chord 2 1

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Last edited: 19/10/2017

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