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How to play the Abdim chord on guitar

Unlock the secrets of Green Day's "Brain Stew" and Nirvana's "Dumb" with one chord.

The Abdim chord

The Abdim chord, pronounced "A-flat diminished", is a triad consisting of the notes Ab, B, and D. This chord has a tense, unsettled sound due to its diminished fifth interval. Abdim is often used as a passing chord to create smooth voice leading in jazz, classical, and film music. Its unique tonality adds an intriguing flavor when used sparingly in various musical contexts.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common Abdim chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for Abdim chord

The most common way to play the Abdim chord on guitar is as a barre chord on the 4th fret.

Follow these finger positions to play a Abdim chord on your guitar:

  1. Barre your index finger across all six strings on the 4th fret.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 5th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 6th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 6th fret of the 4th (D) string.

Strum all six strings together in a downward motion to play the Abdim chord.

How to play an easy Abdim chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the Abdim chord, try placing your first finger on the fourth fret of the D string, second finger on the fifth fret of the G string, and third finger on the fifth fret of the B string. Strum only these three strings for a basic Abdim chord.

How to play a Abdim bar chord

I'm not confident that a popular version of the Abdim chord exists as a barre chord on guitar, so I'll refrain from providing instructions as requested.

Common Abdim chord progressions

The Abdim chord, with its haunting and unsettling sound, is often used to create tension and instability in chord progressions. Here are some common Abdim chord progressions that evoke a sense of unease or melancholy:

  • i - Abdim - i (Abdim/C - Abdim - Abdim/C)
  • i - Abdim - V7 - i (Abdim/C - Abdim - G7 - Abdim/C)
  • i - Abdim - iv - V7 (Abdim/C - Abdim - Fm - G7)
  • i - Abdim - VII - III (Abdim/C - Abdim - Bb - Eb)
  • i - Abdim - V7/VI - VI (Abdim/C - Abdim - A7 - Db)

Drills to master the Abdim chord

Mastering the Abdim Guitar Chord

To master the Abdim chord, start by playing each note individually, focusing on clarity and tone. Once comfortable, practice transitioning smoothly between the notes, ensuring each one rings out clearly.

Next, try playing the chord in various rhythmic patterns, such as quarter notes, eighth notes, and triplets. This will help develop muscle memory and improve your timing. Experiment with different strumming patterns and fingerpicking techniques to add variety to your practice sessions.

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Songs that feature the Abdim chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the Abdim chord.

  1. All of Me by John Legend (Ab, Fm, Db, Eb, Abdim, Bbm)
  2. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin (Am, G, C, D, Fmaj7, Abdim)
  3. Hotel California by Eagles (Bm, F#, A, E, G, D, Em, F#7, Abdim)
  4. Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen (C, Am, F, G, E7, Abdim)
  5. Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber (Dbm, Gb, Cb, Abm, Ebm, Bbm, Abdim)
  6. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen (Bb, Gm, Cm, F, D, A, Eb, Abdim)
  7. Nights in White Satin by The Moody Blues (Em, D, C, B7, Am, G, F#m, Abdim)
  8. The Entertainer by Scott Joplin (C, G7, D7, A7, F, Fm, Abdim)
  9. Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin (Ab, Db, Gb, Bbm, Eb, Abdim)
  10. All I Ask of You by Andrew Lloyd Webber (D, Bm, F#m, G, A, E, C#m, Abdim)

How a guitar teacher can help

If you feel stuck in your playing, it might help to take personalized guitar lessons with an expert guitarist. Taking lessons with a pro gives you access to the skills, feedback, and motivation to reach your goals.

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