4 Chords in One: The Symmetric Diminished Scale By Lucas Pickford The scale known as the Symmetric Diminished scale (HWHWHWHW) or (R, b9, #9, 3rd, #11, 5th, 13, b7, R) is one the most useful and applicable scales in jazz. It's used primarily over dominant chords and the great thing about this scale is that because of its symmetrical nature, it fits four dominant chords at once all in minor third intervals. Since there are only twelve keys you need only to learn three symmetrical diminished scales and you've got at the dominant chords covered! (4 x 3=12). The scale is called symmetrical because the half step-whole step formula used to build it and because the relationship of chords to each other outlines a diminished chord. All the chords are a minor third apart from each other, which is the definition of a diminished chord. When you get this scale under your fingers and clear in your mind about where to use it, you'll notice a huge increase in your melodic vocabulary as it relates to soloing over dominant chords. Another great thing about this scale is that you can imply and superimpose triads and other chord changes that are out of the key and that is fun to do from time to time in your solos as well. Here goes. Symmetric Diminished Scale #1: C-Db-Eb-F#-G-A-Bb-C This scale fits over C7, Eb7, F#7, and A7. Remember, you build the scale using the (HWHWHWHW) formula starting on the roots of each one of these chords. Symmetric Diminished Scale #2: D-Eb-F-F#-G#-A-B-C-D This scale fits over D7, F7, Ab7, and B7. Symmetric Diminished Scale #3: E-F-G-G#-A#-B-C#-D-E This scale fits over E7, G7, Bb7, and Db7. That's it. That's all the scales. Learn these and you'll be amazed and the results. Next time I'll talk about some patterns you can use and some other cool ideas for using this scale in you solos. Lucas Pickford can be reached at his web site www.lucaspickford.com or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.