Diminished Clusters

I’ve always liked the sound of diminished arpeggios. Just by themselves, they have a cool ‘out’ sound that can quickly add some flavor to a melody.

For this example, I will show how I organize the diminished arpeggios into neat little modular ‘clusters’ that can be easily moved around the neck.

There are 4 clusters in all, and they lie on 3 string groups. Linearly, they each move in minor third intervals, so you can shift positions pretty easily once you get the patterns down.

To get started, here are the patterns:

Diminished Clusters

Listen:

As I mentioned before, these shapes can all be moved up and down the neck in minor thirds, and you’re always easily within reach of the next pattern, so it’s hard to get lost once you can visualize the shapes! Practice each shape separately, then add another, practicing them as a pair, then add the next, etc… Once you have all 4 down, it becomes pretty simple to go anywhere on the fretboard, intertwining with other scales/chords/arpeggio shapes.

Here are some lines over an A7 sound, adding the diminished arps here and there. You can shift between bluesy/jazzy dom7 lines and the diminished stuff to create color and tension. I tried to make it pretty obvious where the dim. stuff is. These are just examples of the sounds, not really great licks to memorize.

Listen:

For more ideas on using these patterns while playing changes, check this article out.

And if the aliens DO come, tell them I said hello.