Tom Lippincott: The Half Diminished Sound

Half diminished (also known as minor seventh flat five) chords are a familiar structure to most jazz guitarists and occur in many, if not most, standards. Even beginning-level players usually know a couple of half diminished voicings to plug in when needed. However, because this sound isn't as common as major, minor, dominant, and even fully diminished chords, jazz guitarists are often not as well-versed with half diminished as with the other sounds.

Many players who can otherwise improvise and comp comfortably and effortlessly through a tune might stumble when a half diminished chord comes up. It's understandable that we aren't as familiar with concepts that we don't use as frequently.

This class will focus, in detail, on the often ignored, but beautiful and ethereal-sounding half diminished chord. First, we will find chord voicings and arpeggios all over the neck with exercises and suggestions for improving fluency. Then, we will investigate many different uses of the half diminished sound so that it can be implemented over just about any of the commonly played harmonies in jazz.

This class will help you become more comfortable soloing and comping on half diminished chords, and it will also give you new ideas for using half diminished chords and arpeggios superimposed over other harmonies to create new and exciting sonorities.

The Half Diminished Sound covers:

- Basic structure and sound of the chord
- All voicings on the guitar of the half diminished/minor seventh flat five chord
- Half diminished arpeggio fingerings, both along individual strings and across the strings by position
- Exercises for gaining fluency with the chords and arpeggios all over the neck
- Explanation of different techniques for adding color tones to half diminished chords, with numerous examples
- Thorough exploration of using half diminished sounds to represent harmonies from the major and melodic minor scales, both as chords and as arpeggios, with multiple example of each
- Use of half diminished chords to create harmonized melodic minor scales
- Finding the four half diminished chords contained in the diminished scale and using them as chords and arpeggios to create fresh sounds on diminished chords
- single note solo etude demonstrating material from the class on the chord changes to "Upper Manhattan Medical Group"
- Chordal etude using a harmonized melody utilizing the concepts from the class, also using the chord changes to “UMMG”
- Running time: 95 minutes
- Includes 22 pages of written examples and exercises
- All musical examples from the video are provided in music notation, tablature, and chord grid form.
- Each example performance in the video is titled and numbered for easy navigation.
- MP3 backing tracks for written examples, as well as full-length tracks for improvisation practice

The Half Diminished Sound | by Tom Lippincott