Soloing with Block Chords Part 3: Half-Whole diminished

George Benson Cookbook

George Benson Cookbook

One of my favorite scales to use over a dominant chord is the half-whole diminished. The symmetrical nature of this scale really lends itself to block chords. (half-step, whole step, half, whole, etc.). The tensions that we get over a dominant chord are the flat-9, sharp-9, and sharp-11. This was also one of Wes Montgomery’s favorite. He would sometimes harmonize an entire dominant 7 line with the same diminished voicing. Not only does this technique sound great, it is also very easy to utilize and to integrate into your playing. We like that.

Some short movie clips of the examples

Here is a short movie clip of me playing the examples below.

The Raw Material

Half-Whole Diminished on High Strings

Video Example 1: Half-Whole Diminished on High Strings


Half-Whole Diminished on Middle Strings

Half-Whole Diminished on Middle Strings


Half-Whole Diminished on Low Strings

Half-Whole Diminished on Low Strings

Some 5 chord(Dom.7) to 1 Chord (Major 7) Lines

Here are a few examples of some 5 to 1 chord passages. Be sure to make some of your own lines. Try to use these ideas in other chord progressions and other keys. It is your job to create you own material.

Lick1:  C7 to FMaj Chordal Line

Video Example 2: C7 to FMaj Chordal Line


Lick2:  C7 to FMaj Chordal Line

Video Example 3: C7 to FMaj Chordal Line


Lick3:  G7 to CMaj Chordal Line

Video Example 4: G7 to CMaj Chordal Line


Lick 4: G7 to CMaj Chordal Line

Video Example 5: G7 to CMaj Chordal Line

Backing Tracks

Finally, here are some backing tracks for your convenience.
C7 Vamp
| C7 | F69 | Vamp
| G7 | CMaj7 | Vamp

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5 Responses to Soloing with Block Chords Part 3: Half-Whole diminished

  1. Zachariah says:

    Hi and thanks for spending some time to explain the terminlogy towards the newbies!

  2. Dollie says:

    Bookmarked, I love your site! :)

  3. DEAN KNOPP says:

    COOL111111111111, GREAT SITE. THANK’S FOR SPELLING IT OUT!

  4. Dustin Adams says:

    Thanks for the great post. I love the diminished scale and look forward to trying these licks out!

  5. Dustin Adams says:

    Thanks for the great post and wonderful site! I’ve bookmarked it and look forward to trying these licks out! I love the diminished scale!

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