The other two chord forms in
the triad "family" are known as augmented
Just like major and minor
triads, they contain just three notes (hence, triad!).
Let's look at how to construct
these chords tone by tone. This will allow you to create chord voicings
anywhere on the fretboard. Make sure, however, you have a good
understanding of the fretboard to underpin what we're
Augmented chords have quite an unusual quality. They
sound unstable and tense when used in a chord progression, so
be used in the appropriate context. You'll learn more about this
in a separate lesson.
As with every other chord, the
most basic form of augmented chord is a triad. Augmented triads are
major triads with an augmented 5th (♯5), also called a sharp 5th, which
the 5th tone of the major triad and move it up one half
(the equivalent of one fret).
So if we build an augmented chord with the E string
as the root,
we might get something like this...
If the root (1)
note lied on C,
that would be C augmented
or Caug for
short. Augmented chords are also sometimes abbreviated with a + sign,
Note, that it's only necessary
to include the 3 notes in the triad - in the example above we've
included a second root
an octave higher on the G string, but this isn't
necessary. Keep this in mind
when you're forming chords around the neck and you want a particular
voicing that can't accomodate more than 3 or 4 strings on the guitar.
Let's also look at an
augmented chord form with an A string root.
The augmented 5th gives the chord a completely
different sound to a major triad because the augmented 5th interacts
with the root and
3rd differently to the perfect 5th found in major triads.
See the augmented
guitar chords lesson for more chord charts and theory behind
how these chords can function in your music.
Diminished triads are basically minor
chords with a diminished (flat) 5th...
= major, sharp 5th
minor, flat 5th
Let's look at a typical diminished
chord form built on an E string root note...
See how the 5th has been flattened from its original major scale
position. If the root note was F,
the chord would be written as F
diminished or Fdim
for short. It's also shortened using a ° symbol, e.g. F°.
As you learn the fretboard, you'll naturally see chord forms appear
all over, giving you several voicings for the same chord. I recommend
using this interactive
learning software to help develop and connect your fretboard
In the next guitar chord
theory lesson we'll cover 7th chords which can be
seen as the primary extensions of the triads we've looked at.