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How to play the Cdim7 chord on guitar

Unlock the secrets of iconic songs like "All the Things You Are" and "Michelle."

The Cdim7 chord

The Cdim7 chord, pronounced C diminished seventh, is a unique and versatile chord used in various musical genres. Known for its distinctive, dissonant sound, the Cdim7 chord adds tension and mystery to progressions. It frequently appears in jazz, classical, and rock music, with notable examples including "All the Things You Are" and "Because" by The Beatles. Mastering the Cdim7 opens up new creative possibilities for guitarists.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common Cdim7 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for Cdim7 chord

The standard way to play the Cdim7 chord on guitar is as a barre chord on the 3rd fret.

Follow these finger positions to play a Cdim7 chord on your guitar:

  1. Place your index finger on the 3rd fret of the 5th (A), 4th (D), 3rd (G), 2nd (B), and 1st (E) strings, forming a barre.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 4th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 4th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 4th fret of the 2nd (B) string.

Strum all six strings together to play the Cdim7 chord.

How to play an easy Cdim7 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the Cdim7 chord, try this:

  1. Place your index finger on the 1st fret of the 2nd (B) string.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 4th (D) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 1st fret of the 1st (high E) string.
  4. Strum only these three strings.

How to play a Cdim7 bar chord

The Cdim7 chord is most commonly played as an open chord, but learning the barre chord version can be useful for quickly changing to other chords or playing the chord at different positions on the fretboard.

Here's how to play a Cdim7 bar chord:

  1. Place your index finger across all six strings at the 4th fret, creating a barre.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 5th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 6th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 6th fret of the 2nd (B) string.
  5. Strum all six strings from the low E string to the high E string.

Common Cdim7 chord progressions

The Cdim7 chord adds a sense of tension and mystery to chord progressions, often serving as a passing chord or a substitute for the dominant. These progressions can evoke feelings of unease, anticipation, or a haunting atmosphere. Some common Cdim7 chord progressions include:

  • i - idim7 - V7 - i (Cm - Cdim7 - G7 - Cm)
  • I - #idim7 - ii - V (C - C#dim7 - Dm - G)
  • vi - viidim7 - I (Am - Bdim7 - C) Used in "I'll Be Seeing You" and "Misty"
  • I - biiidim7 - ii - V (C - Ebdim7 - Dm - G)
  • ii - iidim7 - V - I (Dm - Ddim7 - G - C)

Drills to master the Cdim7 chord

To master the Cdim7 chord, start by playing each note individually, focusing on clean and precise sound. Once comfortable, practice transitioning between the notes in different orders, such as C-Eb-Gb-Bbb, C-Gb-Eb-Bbb, or C-Bbb-Eb-Gb.

Next, practice playing the Cdim7 chord in various rhythmic patterns, such as quarter notes, eighth notes, and sixteenth notes. This will help develop muscle memory and improve your ability to switch between the notes smoothly. Incorporate the chord into simple progressions or songs to further solidify your understanding and application of the Cdim7 chord.

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Songs that feature the Cdim7 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the Cdim7 chord.

  1. All the Things You Are by Jerome Kern (Am7, Dm7, G7, Cmaj7, F#m7b5, B7, Em7, A7, Dm7, G7, Cmaj7, F#m7b5, B7, Em, Em7, Ebdim7, Dm7, G7)
  2. I Got Rhythm by George Gershwin (Dm7, G7, Cmaj7, Bm7b5, E7, Am7, D7, Abm7, Db7, C6/G, Dm7, G7)
  3. Round Midnight by Thelonious Monk (Ebm7, Bb7, Abmaj7, Fm7, Bb7, Ebmaj7, C#dim7, Cm7, F7, Abm7, Db7)
  4. The Song Is You by Jerome Kern (Em7, A7, Dmaj7, G#m7, C#7, F#m7, B7, Emaj7, C#m7, F#7, Bm7, E7, Am7, D7, Gmaj7, Dm7, G7, Cmaj7, Am7, D7, Gmaj7, Bbdim7, Am7, D7, Gmaj7)
  5. Yesterdays by Jerome Kern (D7, Dm7, G7, C6, C#dim7, Dm7, G7, C6, F7, E7, Ebdim7, D7, Dm7, G7, E7, A7, D6, B7, E7, A7, Dm7, G7, C6)
  6. Just Friends by John Klenner (G#dim7, Am7, D7, Gmaj7, Bm7, E7, Amaj7, F#m7, B7, C#m7, F#7)
  7. Angel Eyes by Matt Dennis (Cm7, Fm7, Bb7, Ebmaj7, Abm7, Db7, Fm7, Bb7, G7, C7, Fm7, Bb7, Ebmaj7, C#dim7, Cm7, Bb7, Eb6)
  8. Misty by Erroll Garner (Ebmaj7, C7, Fm7, Bb7, Ebmaj7, Gbdim7, Fm7, Bb7, Ebmaj7, G7, Cm7, Fm7, Bb7, Ebmaj7)
  9. Like Someone in Love by Jimmy Van Heusen (Ebmaj7, G7, Cm7, Gm7, C7, Fm7, Bb7, Ebmaj7, Abm7, Db7, F#maj7, B7, Fm7, Bb7, Ebmaj7, C#dim7, Fm7, Bb7)
  10. Stella by Starlight by Victor Young (Bbmaj7, Gm7, C7, Fmaj7, Edim7, Fm7, Bb7, Ebmaj7, Bdim7, Bbmaj7, G7, Cm7, F7)

How a guitar teacher can help

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