Diminished Triad Chords (dim) | Open and Closed Voicings with Guitar Shapes

What's a Triad Chord in Guitar?

A triad is a chord built with three notes stacked in thirds. These notes correspond to the first (1), third (3) and  fifth (5) degree of a scale.

How Many Types of Triads Are There?

There are 4 types of triads :

  • Major : Interval pattern is 1 3 5
  • Minor : Interval pattern is 1 b3 5
  • Diminished : Interval pattern is 1 b3 b5
  • Augmented : Interval pattern is 1 3 #5

How to Build a Diminished Triad?

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

 

How to Play a Diminished Triad On Guitar?

In this lesson, we will see how to play diminished triad chords on the guitar using several neck diagrams in close and open positions.

What is The Difference Between a Closed Chord and an Open Chord?

The tones of a closed chord are close together as they can be whereas the notes of an open chord are spread out.

Diminished Triad Chords in Close Positions

Root Positions and Inversions

Before starting to learn and play the 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.

The chart below shows you the diminished triad voicings.

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

How to Play Diminished Triads in Close Position?

Closed guitar chords are those where the positions, fit within the space of one octave. The 4 diagrams below contains 12 triad chord shapes in close position divided into 4 categories :

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

Open Voiced Diminished Triads

Now you know how to play diminished triads in close position on the guitar 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 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

 

  • 101 Dominant Arpeggio Patterns

    This printable PDF guitar lesson provides 101 dominant arpeggio exercises with tab, theory and standard notation for the jazz, blues and rock guitarist.
  • 40 Major Jazz Guitar Licks

    Printable PDF eBook containing 40 major jazz guitar licks with tab, standard notation and audio files for beginners and intermediates.
  • 49 Essential Jazz Lines

    This printable eBook in PDF format provides 49 jazz solo transcriptions of the greatest jazz musicians of all times with TABS, standard notation, audio files and analysis both for guitar teachers and students.
  • Mastering Pentatonic Scales

    This jazz guitar method is an eBook available as a PDF with standard notation, guitar tabs, diagrams, analysis, audio files and backing tracks. You will find in this booklet 25 easy jazz guitar lines with theory using common and rare pentatonic scales.
  • 20 II-V-I jazz guitar licks

    This method is a printable PDF eBook containing 20 II-V-I jazz guitar lines with tabs and audio files both in major and minor keys
  • 50 II-V-I voicings

    Jazz guitar comping. How to play II-V-I chord progressions on guitar with drop 2, drop 3 chords, rootless and inverted voicings. This method is a printable PDF eBook containing 50 exercises with audio files, analysis, tab & standard notation.
  • 11 blues jazz studies

    This PDF method contains 11 guitar lessons with chord studies, tabs, standard notation, analysis & audio files about the main blues progressions used in jazz music.
  • Mastering the altered scale

    This PDF eBook method contains 25 altered jazz guitar licks with tabs, patterns, scale charts and audio files to master, apply and develop the altered scale.
  • 40 Blues Dominant patterns

    This printable method is available as a PDF file containing 40 easy dominant jazz-blues guitar lines with tabs, standard notation, analysis, audio files and scale charts.
  • 25 Soul Jazz Guitar Licks

    You will find here an eBook available in PDF containing 25 soul jazz and hard bop guitar licks in the style of Grant Green, Melvin Sparks, George Benson. These jazz lines come with tabs, standard notation, guitar neck diagrams, backing track for practice and 25 audio files for each riff.
  • 25 Diminished Patterns

    This eBook PDF with audio files contains 25 dominant diminished jazz guitar patterns using the half-whole diminished scale and diminished 7th arpeggios.
  • 6 Tritone substitution licks

    The tritone substitution is explained through 6 jazz guitar licks with tabs/notation, youtube video links. Printable PDF eBook.

Last edited: 06/12/2019