I play the guitar and I like throwing in diminished triads. They can be easier to finger than the full diminished seventh chord or seventh chord if you're doing country or jazzy less fully voiced styles. They also work better for tritone substitution.

I kind of have trouble figuring out how to solo over diminished triads though. And I'm not really sure how throw in bends/blue notes as well here.

I mostly like using diminished triads in place of dominants and the tonic. I usually followup with a strong cadence afterwards if I mess with the dominant too much.

So progressions like

  • VII-dim I V I
  • VII-dim/bV I V I
  • VII-dim/V V I
  • VII-dim/bII V I

Now the simplest way to do this would be to treat these as implied seventh chords

  • V7 I V I
  • V7/bV I V I
  • V7/V V I
  • V7/bII V I

But I feel this is a bit wasteful of the opportunity here?


1 Answer 1


"Bluesy" was mentioned in the title, so there's nothing wrong with playing pentatonic based lines over anything and everything. Minor pentatonic lines on the key center work on basically everything, and that's why guitarists like the pentatonic scale.

If you want to outline the changes better, one easy alternative to deal with backing dim chords in a solo is to arpeggiate the notes of a dim7 chord in some order. Like xx3434 over a B dim with the dim substitution you like to do. You can shift that up in steps of three frets and keep the same notes: xx6767 etc.

If you want the solo to stand out in a different way, try the half-whole diminished scale on the V, over the V chord. The scale contains all the notes of the V dim7 chord, plus the notes of the dim7 a half-step above.

Robben Ford's diminished licks could be a nice starting point, like this one:

Note that the backing band doesn't have to play any diminished stuff, you can overlay a VII dim over a V chord without asking for permission. And since this is blues, where dominant sevenths don't "resolve", you can play a similar pattern over other chords as well, not just the V. For a C chord, play C half-whole diminished lines.

Here's another tutorial on the same style:

Here's Robben himself showing and explaining it:

Another guitarist to steal licks from is Scott Henderson. More info on Youtube.

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