The Diminished scale above is made up of a repeating pattern of Semitone+Tone+Semitone+Tone etc .. which is also known as the 1+2 Diminished scale eg 1 Semitone + 2 Semitones repeating. It is the same as the 2+1 diminished scale except that you start on the second note, but lets not get confused by comparing the two scales. This scale should be considered as a separate scale as the relationship of the notes to the Tonic are different.

Symmetrical scales are very easy to remember, and provide endless possibilites for guitar patterns which are easy to finger.This scale is very useful for playing over Blues Progressions. Lets take a closer look at the degrees of this scale. It has a minor 2nd interval which can be thought of as a b9, a minor 3rd ( Blue Note against a dominant7th, or same as a #9 ) a Major 3rd, Diminished 5th ( b5 ), Perfect 5th, 6th ( 13th ) and minor 7th (b7). This scale contains most of the notes from the Blues Scale plus some extras like the b9th and 13th.

We can now see the enormous potential of this scale to liven up our Blues improvisations. Remember how you thought Jan Akkerman was playing all those wrong notes back in the 70's. (OK, so maybe your not old enough to remember ! or you were around and still can't remember !!) Anyway, the point is, that Jan has been playing this stuff since the beginning of time. Listen to any of Jan's Blues Songs to hear how he combines these scales with the blues scale to give his solo's that extra dimension and colour.

That doesn't mean we should play these scales non stop over the whole progression though ! What we have here, is some extra seasoning & spice to make a great solo sound even better. Try out some of these Diminished Patterns against some familiar Blues Progressions. As an experiment, use the visual patterns to create some interesting riffs that sound good all by themselves, then find a place in a 12 bar progression where the riffs fit the chord changes.

Diminished Scale Patterns