Welcome to the latest installment of Chord by Chord, a series designed to build your understanding of harmony and the fretboard. In previous lessons, I’ve taught you A and E diminished chords. This time, we’ll focus on F# diminished.  

The Work

Remember that a minor triad is made of three notes: the root, the minor third, and the fifth. In an F#m chord, those notes are F#, A, and C#, as shown in Example 1. In a diminished chord, the first two notes are the same, but the fifth is flatted, in this case C natural (Example 2). Again, that one note makes a big difference in sound.  


Example 3 shows how to turn F#m into F#dim on strings 2–4, and Example 4 moves those chords to the first three strings. In Example 5 you’ll find some voicings higher up the neck, but on that same string set. For some four-note voicings in ninth position on strings 2–5, try Example 6. Then, return to the top three strings for Example 7.  

The Result

You should now know how to make F#dim from various F#m shapes. Diminished chords are often used in passing, and one song that includes F#dim in this manner is “The Logical Song” by Supertramp. In the next lesson, you’ll explore another diminished triad, C#dim.