Does anyone have a box shape for a diminished scale so I can find it quicker on the fretboard?

  • My tip for visualizing the half-whole diminished scale starting on the fifth of a scale, i.e. how you might use it over a dominant-seventh chord: it "forks" the tonic (i.e. the note where the dominant would lead to) from both sides, but skipping over it. For example the G half-whole diminished scale, the frets are on the E string: 3, 4, 6, but on the A string: 2, 4, 5, ... so it skips over the 3rd fret on the A string, which would be a C, i.e. the target for a G dominant in a V - I motion. The same principle of skipping over the "target tonic" applies everywhere on the fretboard, of course. Aug 15, 2021 at 21:03
  • 2
    There are two diminished scales - the whole/half and the half/whole. Add to that the diminished seventh arpeggio.
    – Tim
    Aug 15, 2021 at 21:36
  • @Tim Really, there is one diminished scale, but two modes.
    – user3235
    Aug 17, 2021 at 18:28

1 Answer 1


My shape for diminished scales is a parallelogram, not a box. Box shapes are awkward for diminished scales because of the proximity of the notes. Here is a simple hand sketched diagram. This scale shows the starting notes for both whole/half and half/whole steps:

enter image description here

An easy fingering approach to this is 1-1 3 4 on each string ascending and the reverse descending. If one really wanted to do a more vertical box shaped diminished scale it would be 6 frets wide. This is easier, more practical and has a bit more range.

EDIT: Here is the more vertical box shape I mentioned earlier, just take out the yellow highlighted notes from the original and play the red ones instead. It involves playing 3 diagonal half step pairs in a row from the A to G strings and is harder to play:

enter image description here

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