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I apologise I forget the proper name for the triad B-D-F - I think it's VIIdim but I'm not 100% sure if this is a half or fully diminished chord or how it's represented in symbols (is it the triangle?)

Anyway I spent a little while trying to find a fingering for it on my acoustic guitar, and am really struggling especially if I want the root note as the bass (on E or A string).

Is there a fingering which is strummable and doesn't require muting several strings or mutant fingers?

You don't see this chord used much but on piano at least I really like resolving B->C and I wanted to try it on guitar, which I'm much more comfortable playing, to see if I could fit it into a nice song/progression.

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  • If I got the chord name wrong in my question/title please edit it or post a correction as a comment!
    – Mr. Boy
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 11:34
  • A B dim is really simple if you can leave the bottom string alone - do you need to use it?
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 11:34
  • Muting the bottom string would be OK. Although a voicing using a bottom string B would also be awesome.
    – Mr. Boy
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 11:36

4 Answers 4

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First, it is indeed a diminished triad. For triads, there is no such thing as a fully or half-diminished chord. The latter two chords are seventh chords. A fully diminished seventh chord has a diminished seventh (i.e. for Bdim7 that's an A flat: Ab), and a half-diminished seventh chord has a minor seventh, i.e. a Bm7(b5) has an A. Both seventh chords add the seventh on top of the diminished triad B-D-F.

Now for the fingering. First of all, a diminished triad is not used and played very often. Second, there are no good sounding and comfortable six-string voicings. You would normally use 3-string voicings and mute the other strings. This is a technique which is very useful to learn anyway, and which can and should be used for other chord types as well, especially on the electric and steel-string acoustic guitar. For these guitars, thumb muting is a good option, at least for the low E string. Now for some common voicings of a Bdim triad (on d, g, and b; from low to high):

x x 3 4 3 x

x x 9 7 6 x

x x 12 10 12 x

Your thumb can mute the low E string, the finger fretting the D string can mute the low A string, and the high string can be muted with your first finger. This, in addition with some right hand control, should result in comfortable and clean sounding chords. I guess from these 3 voicings it's easy enough for you to figure out the shapes on other combinations of 3 strings.

If you want the root on the E or A string, just drop the root of the first two voicings above by one octave. This will give you

x 2 3 x 3 x

7 x x 7 6 x

The finger on one of the two low strings will also help mute the other low string. In the first voicing above you could double the root on the G string:

x 2 3 4 3 x

In the second voicing above you could add the root on the top string:

7 x x 7 6 7

Note that things get a bit easier if you play fully or half-diminished seventh chords, simply because there's a fourth note which you don't need to mute.

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  • The basic diminished is just called that, there is no 'fully'. However, common parlance often calls the m7b5 a half diminished. The dim sign is 'o' and the `half dim is 'o with a line through'.
    – Tim
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 11:51
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    @Tim: 'Fully' diminished is often used (correctly or not) to distinguish a dim7 chord from a m7(b5). That's the way I used it here. The use of 'fully diminished' sometimes helps to make things clear to beginners, so I see no reason to avoid it.
    – Matt L.
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 11:55
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Couple of possibles here, one with the bottom stirng, and one without:

Bdiminished from Guitarchordsworld.com

Bdiminishedfrom theguitarlesson.com

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  • 1
    Second one is a dim7 chord, not a dim triad.
    – Matt L.
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 11:44
  • How would one best mute the A string in the 2nd one - with the tip of the index finger?
    – Mr. Boy
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 11:46
  • @Mr.Boy: You could most easily mute it with your second finger (which frets the E string).
    – Matt L.
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 11:47
  • Matt - sorry, yes, you are right. Simple solution: use that mute across the A and D strings :-)
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 12:40
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This isn't exactly what the OP is looking for, but it gives a nice option! Barre across the lot on fret 1. 5th string, 2nd fret, and 4th and 2nd strings on fret 3. If you need it to have a B root, don't play the bottom string! This is a movable feast, keep going up by three frets to get to the next inversion. A nice change would be dim on 4th fret (barre) to A shape C on 3rd fret Barre.To make it a triad, mute the dim 7th note, which is the 1st fret 3rd string. Lift the barre finger slightly over that string. Still sounds good if you don't, though!

The triangle sign is usually for major/major 7th.

Dim can be 'o', while m7b5 (half dim) is 'o' with a line diagonally through.

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  • That's a dim7, not a diminished triad. It has the Ab (diminished 7th) in it.
    – Matt L.
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 12:21
  • @MattL. - I took the liberty, as the OP did state diminished (before the brackets), and a lot of the time, in music, a dim7 is marked as dim/o.However, muting the 3rd string will make it triadic. And it will work in most cases where a mere triad would, anyhow.
    – Tim
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 12:30
  • That's OK, but in the first sentence the OP uses 'triad' and 'B D F', so I guess that's pretty clear. Anyway, the reason I make the distinction is the fact that for a dim7 chord there are MANY easy to play and good sounding voicings known to most guitar players, which is not so much the case for the dim triad. The reason is of course that the dim triad is not nearly as common as the dim7 chord.
    – Matt L.
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 12:33
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Maybe something like this could be easy. I pick with my fingers though so don't know how easy it is with a plectrum

  • 2nd fret on the A string
  • Opend D string
  • 1st Fret on the High E string

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