Free Jazz Guitar Lessons with Chris Standring

Augmented Chords Explained

Augmented chords, much like diminished, are strange little entities unto themselves. The Augmented chord is essentially a major chord with a raised 5th. So if a C major chord consisted of C, E, G ( i, iii, v) then a C augmented chord has C, E, G#. Let's look at that on the fretboard, first in open position:

Notice that in the C augmented chord shape the top string has been muted with an "X". This is only for practical purposes. It is not easy to play the chord with the 3rd ringing on the top string. It is better to barre the two inner strings with your first finger and avoid or mute the top string altogether. Now let's have a look at a movable chord shape: Here is the parent major chord first, followed by the augmented chord. Notice where the degrees of the chord sit.

C major

C aug

An augmented triad is made up of two major 3rds. For example in C major, the distance between C and E is a major 3rd (or 5 frets) and the distance between E and G# is also a major 3rd (5 frets). Then if you count another major 3rd from the #5 upwards you get back to C again, the root. This tells us (much like our diminished friend) that any note within that augmented chord could also be a root note. If you move the whole augmented chord up or down 5 frets you will see that all the notes of that chord exist again, only the degrees of the chord are switched around. For example. Take our C aug chord above and shift it up a major 3rd (5 frets) and you get this:

Move it down a major 3rd or 5 frets (from your original position) and you get this:

An augmented chord can therefore have 3 roots, or in other words, the same chord can function as three different augmented chords. For instance, the chord C augmented could also be named, E aug or G# aug.

In jazz, an augmented chord is more effectively visualized as part of a dominant 7th chord. So for example, if we take a C dominant 7th chord and add a sharpened fifth, we see an augmented triad at the top. The augmented triad could be either C augmented, E augmented or G# augmented.

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The Long Awaited Play What You Hear Volume Two Is Now Here!

It has been many years since the first edition of Play What You Hear (originally released in 2000). Now volume two is here with new ideas and concepts, complete with audio, video, traditional notation and TAB throughout. High resolution pdf available for printing the entire program. For intermediate and advanced players.

  • Part One: Melody

    Focuses on single note soloing. Learn how to effortlessly solo through complex chord changes.

  • Part Two: Harmony

    Focuses on chord melody. Learn new harmonic devices and understand chords in a whole new way.

  • Performances

    Study Chris Standring's six recorded solos, transcribed with audio and high def video.