Augmented Guitar Chords
aug or +
Augmented Triads are 3 note chords consisting of 2 major 3rds above the root or tonic, therefore having a root, a major third, and an augmented 5th (raised 5th)... 1 - 3 - #5.
Remember that a major third is equal to 4 semitones
We can illustrate this using a Chromatic Scale (semitones only) which is made up of 12 notes each divided equally by 1 semitone - easier to understand in this example. We will use sharps between each natural note starting with C as we are looking at the Caug chord.
- a major third above C is E
- a major third above E is G#
- C - E - G# (Caug)
Symmetry & Similarity
Music scales are divided up into 3 Major 3rds. Following from the example above:
- Our first major third is C → E.
- Our second major 3rd is E → G#
- Our third major 3rd is G# → C (back to the root or tonic).
Because of the symmetry of augmented chords in a scale, different augmented chords have the same notes.
- C aug = C - E - G#
- E aug = E - G# - C
- G# aug = G# - C - E
- All 3 chords share the same notes.
You could say that E aug is the first inversion of C aug and G# aug is the second inversion of C aug. The same applies to E aug and G# aug.
This means that in a 12 note scale, there are only really 4 different augmented chords in terms of notes played.
Because of this, there are numerous positions on the fretboard that you can play augmented chords, as you will see on the charts below.
- An augmented triad consists of a root, a major third, and an augmented 5th
- The chord formula is 1 - 3 - #5
- The first featured song for this session is What A Wonderful World recorded by Louis Armstrong.
- The second featured song for this session is All My Loving ... a great Beatles classic recorded by Amy Winehouse.
Another example for good measure!
- G augmented... G aug or G+
- Aug (+) Chords consist of the 1st, 3rd, and #5th notes of a Major Scale
- They consist of 2 major thirds above the root note
- Remember that a major third is equal to 4 half steps or 4 semitones.
- If we move a major third upwards from G, we get B...(G - G# - A - A# - B).
- If we move another major 3rd upwards from B, we get D#... (B - C - C# - D - D#).
- Chords are based on the major scale of that chord. For example, 'G' chords, are based on the scale of G major which consists of 1 sharp. The G major scale reads as follows: G - A - B - C - D - E - F# - G
- Apply the formula (1 - 3 - #5) to the scale, and the G aug chord reads as follows: G - B - D#
Augmented Chord Table (aug or +)
Interesting to note:
Please note that all chord charts indicate different shapes in different fret positions rather than set fret positions. Generally, there are 3 different augmented shapes and each one can be played in 3 different positions.
If you look closely at these charts, you will notice that each of the 3 charts are identical in terms of notes played and fret positions. Consider the following:
|A aug = C# aug = F aug||A - C# - F|
|B♭ aug = D aug = F# aug||B♭ - D - F#|
|B aug = E♭ aug = G aug||B - E♭ - G|
|C aug = E aug = A♭ aug||C - E - A♭|
Augmented Chords - Right Handersaug or +
To read the chart below, the arrow represents which fret the finger above it is to play. For example:
- A+ first shape: Place your 3rd finger on either the 4th, 8th or 12th fret and work backwards with your 2nd and 1st finger.
- A+ second shape: Place your 4th finger on the 5th, 9th or 13th fret and work backwards with your other fingers.
- A+ third shape: Place your first finger on frets 1, 5, or 9 and proceed as illustrated with your other fingers.
Augmented Chords - Left Handers+ or aug
Practice Song - All My Loving by Amy Winehouse
I hope you have enjoyed this session. As you learn more and more guitar chords, you will start to see patterns taking shape. Take note of these and whenever you can, try to remember your chord formulas. The more you play, the easier they are to remember.