Symetrical scale problems..?

(9 posts)
  1. Sandemose

    Hi guys and gals ("are there any woman here today?", quote from which movie anyone?).

    Ive been working with II-V-I progressions for a while now and was thinking about something. At the time I work with half/whole step diminshed scale. The way I practice this scale is that I see it as a "diminshed scale family". So, the F,Gb,Ab,A,B,C,D,Eb is seen as a F7, Ab7, B7 and D7 scale. I think we discussed this in a jazz chord thread some days ago. What I do is that I stay in one position and use the same diminished scale and resolve it into four different Imaj7 chords (Bb, Db, E, and G). I work hard to define/bring out the each key center. So far so good. I think I cover quite some ground practicing each keycenter for about 15 min (1 hour per diminshed scale family). Obviously there are only three families all together dividing them minor thirds appart. Now the problem:

    Symetrical scales (at least half/wholestep) sounds so predictable...and symetrical. The diminshed scale stand out so strong it kinda blinds me. Its like a splasch of pink colour on a light blue canvas. Its like that loud uninvided person coming to the party already drunk hiting on your girlfriend (but who you kinda like anyway).

    How to break the "diminished lick" habbit?

    Best, Sandemose

  2. Matt

    I've never thought of the symmetrical diminished scale as very useful, at least to me. I find that the arpeggios you can superimpose over chords just sound bad and then are gone - very little tension and resolve to me.
    I prefer using the whole-half diminished scale. you could also try moving the diminished scales up or down step(s) to see how the sound changes.

    If you could elaborate, too, on how you practice these, I'd really appreciate it. I'm sort of a noob when it comes to key centres and the likes.

    Edit page
  3. Hola chicas,
    As you already recognized, Sandemose, are there four dominant chords in that Diminished Scale and therefore four major triads, too. So you can make up 6 different triad pairs, whereof the ones which are a tritone apart provide the most "diminished" sound. Scofield does that all the time. A very interesting way to handle them is not only to play one triad after the other (the usual way, I guess), but use them to create hexatonic scales. So for example using F and B triads, you get F F# A B C D#. So in leaving out just two notes, you'll come up with totally different lines.

  4. Sandemose

    Duuuuuuude...thanks for the tips! Often I find that the answer is that is to much material to work with. Using hexatonic scales probably will feel more "available", just because to much material/notes make me think to much.

    Matt: I´ll come back tomorrow on how I practice this more detailed.

    No one recognize the film qoute? :(

    Best, Sandemose

  5. mrzzajjazz


    It's "Life of Brian"! A brilliant movie :)
    Do I get a price..? Free use of the symmetrical diminished scale..?

  6. Matt

    I knew it! Life of Brain > Life

  7. Sandemose

    mrzzajjazz: you have won a Bbm7 chord and with that comes an D minor pentatonic scale.

    Best, Sandemose

  8. mrzzajjazz

    wow..that sounds quite funky! I'll try to make good use of it! (Or maybe I'll put it on the wall..) :)

  9. silverwater

    Dude's response was a good one I was always thinking to just play the arpeggios back to back...

    Also, with symmetrical scales you can take advantage of playing sequences very easily. If you're using a diminished scale, play a little lick, then move it up a minor3rd, and then again...and keep going with something similar even as the chord changes... As guitarists we need to take advantage of how easy it is to use sequences in our playing!

    One roadblock I seem to run into when playing diminished and whole tone scales is that the note names seem to slip my much easier than 7-note scales. This is how I construct and try to remember the notes in my head, somebody tell me if there's a better way:

    For diminished scales, as we know there only 3. I like to think about these 3 groupings: (B,D,F,Ab) (C,Eb,F#,A) (C#,E, G, Bb)
    Now, if I'm going to play C Whole/Half, I think of the available notes as being from the first two groups.

    For whole tone scales, I think of each scale as broken down 2 three note groups. The first scale has C,D,E and Gb, Ab, Bb. The second scale has F,G,A and B, C#, D#.

    Is there an easier way to remember the names of the notes when you're playing?


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