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Thread: Diminished Seventh Chords are COOL!

  1. #1
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    Default Diminished Seventh Chords are COOL!

    I know many of you already know this, but I didn't... and it's REALLY cool!

    The Diminished Seventh chord shape is a little challenging for a noob to make, or at least THIS noob. I find it slightly easier to do a partial barre with the index finger and then hit the 1st and 4th string with the middle and ring fingers. (because my pinky finger is pretty worthless at going places quickly and repeatedly)

    But, the cool thing is that each position of the dim7 represents FOUR different chords, and whichever one you want to call it... move 3 frets up or down and you've got another inversion of the SAME chord! Seems like a tidbit that could prove very useful to use for a transition if you're about to play a chord that's in a different location on the neck.

    I just picked this tidbit up here, just casually mentioned at about the 9-minute mark as if it's not the coolest thing in the world and way more interesting than the rest of the video.
    What could possibly go wrong?

  2. #2
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    some of the coolest parts of the dim7 are its transitional aspects.

    For example since each dim7 is actually four chords, you can use it to transition between keys. For example, if you're playing in E Harmonic Minor where the VII chord is D#dim7, you can re-conceptualize the D#dim7 as a Gdim7 which is the VI chord of D Melodic Minor. The Dim7 is appropriate to both keys.

    Also, I like to use the dim7 to move vertically on the fretboard by arpeggiating through two adjacent inversions of a dim7. Take, for instance, A#dim7 with its root on the 3rd fret of the G string. Now play this: on G string frets 3 and 6, on C string frets 4 and 7, on the E string frets 3 and 6, and on the A string frets 4 and 7. Notice the mathematics there and all the symmetry? But after flying through those 8 notes of the A#dim7 we are now on the E of the 7th fret

  3. #3
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    I like where you're going, but my head's not quite on that level yet!
    What could possibly go wrong?

  4. #4
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    These types of things are difficult to talk about but easy to see. I would recommend printing out a blank fret board chart and then just plot out, for example, Edim7 and all its inversions. Then you can see all the symmetries and relationships. Also, get that pinky working. It is essential in fancier chords and in picking scales. The pinky is also a secret weapon when playing rudimentary chords. Often, if you play a chord that doesn't require the pinky, but put the pinky down, you'll get a sus chord or some other interesting variation to the chord that you normally play.

  5. #5

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    As you explore a wider range of chord options, consider shelling out for Roy Sakuma's Treasury of Ukulele Chords. It is not bargain basement priced, but for me it's been really valuable.

    It's a dictionary of all of the chords used on the ukulele. The presentation is simplicity itself so all of these chords are easy to locate. All positions of a chord are on the same page, so as you begin to explore playing up the neck of the uke, there's easy access to the chord diagrams.

    This is not an instruction book. You'll be disappointed if that's the expectation. Can you find this resource for free somewhere? Perhaps. I've looked and found free resources for all of the chords in the first position, but not all the positions (If someone has a link, please share it b/c I could be stranded somewhere without Roy's book.) and as I progressed I needed to play the entire fret board. I also needed to transpose to different keys for singing. With Roy Sakuma's book at my side, that work/play is so much easier. It is one of my most used books.

    Just something to consider down the road. If you sing and find you need to re-work an arrangement, it's been a real value for the money.

    Have fun!

    Bluesy.

  6. #6
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    I saw Alice's Restaurant referred to in a few threads over American Thanksgiving. This is a common raggy chord progression that can be played without a diminished seventh chord, but sounds great with it.

    [C / B Bb | A / A7 / | D7 / G7 / | C / G7 / |C / B Bb |A / A7 / |D7 / / / |G7 / / / |
    |C / / / |C7 / / / |F / / / |Cdim / / / |C / B Bb |A / A7 / |D7 / G7 / |C / A / |D7 / G7 / |C / / / ]


    I usually play the first two beats of the Cdim as 2323 and the second two as 5656. Sometimes I'll get fancy and play one beat of 2323, then one beat of 5656, then two beats of 7878.

    This same progression works for Pink Anderson's Bring It On Home, John Hartford's Boogie, Robert Johnson's They're Red Hot, Bill Boyd & his Cowboy Ramblers' Can't Tame Wild Women, How Come You Do Me Like You Do? and a bunch of other raggy tunes.

  7. #7
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    Great input, y'all!
    What could possibly go wrong?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ubulele View Post
    Fretboard pattern magic.
    I'm slowly starting to pick up on that. I really only started studying music theory with any degree of detail within the past year. Things that musicians take for granted, I'm having to do a lot of research and look at a lot of pictures to understand! But, I'm getting there.
    What could possibly go wrong?

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