Matteo Mancuso killer lick

on the Diminished H/W Scale

by guitarLayers staff  – 26/03/2020

Matteo Mancuso

In this article we analyze a lick on diminished scale H/W performed by the young and terrific guitarist Matteo Mancuso.

The Diminished H/W Scale is often used by jazz/fusion musicians to improvise over dominant chords because of its intriguing altered sound. Although playing the scale by strictly maintain the scale’s note order works very well, it ‘s a common habit among improvisers to break the linearity of the scale.

This can be accomplished by playing the scale through specific intervals or by playing arpeggios contained within the scale. Therefore all three or four-note structures that harmonize the scale can be useful for the purpose. 

The following video shows Matteo playing the well known tune “The chicken” with his Snips trio.

The video is focused on Matteo’ lick using the Diminished H/W Scale. It is built by combining the following typical 4th’s pattern on the scale with some arpeggios.

In particular Matteo uses a D Dim (maj7) arpeggio and a G triad, both contained within the Bb H/W diminished scale.

When we asked him about this lick he told us that he often uses the following H/W diminished Vertical shape.

Diminished scale

By analyzing the notes with guitarLayers we’ve found that, among all possibilities,  a D Dim (maj7) works also as a Bb7 (#9), as expected:

The result, empowered by Matteo’s astonishing natural technique and musical feeling, is insane!

All shapes, layering, harmonic analysis, scale harmonization,  automatically obtained with guitarLayers.

GuitarLayers is a professional macOS guitar learning and teaching software. It allows you to visualize and manage, scales, chords and arpeggios shapes through a fully parametric control interface.
Moreover it enables you to visualize harmonic concepts by overlapping shapes on the guitar fretboard thanks to a powerful layering system.

For more information, please visit our website at