Welcome to the latest installment of Chord by Chord, a series designed to build your understanding of harmony and the fretboard. In the last lesson I showed you various voicings of the F# diminished chord. This time, I’ll do the same with C# diminished.

The Work

As you have learned, a minor chord is made of three notes: the root, the minor third, and the fifth. The notes in a C# minor triad are C#, E, and G# (Example 1). In a diminished chord, the first two notes are the same, but the fifth is flatted, in this case G natural (Example 2).


Example 3 shows how to change from C#m to C#dim with four-note voicings on strings 2–5 in fourth position. For three-note versions on strings 1–3, try Example 4. In Example 5, these two voicings are shown higher up the neck, on strings 2–4. Example 6 is in the same vicinity, but on the top three strings. End with a pair of voicings, as shown in Example 7, that will be easier to play on a 14-fret guitar than a 12-fret.

The Result

You should now know various ways to change from C# minor to C# diminished. A good example of a song that makes use of C#dim is “Only Ones Who Know” by Arctic Monkeys. In the next lesson, we’ll shift to augmented chords.