The Augmented Scale | Jazz Guitar Lesson with Diagrams and Exercises

The augmented scale

What's the augmented scale

The augmented scale is a hexatonic scale (six-notes scale). It is not one of the most used symmetric scales, theoretically you have to apply this scale over dominant seventh raised fifth chords (7#5)  but it can be interesting to play it over any dominant seventh chord when you want to bring #5 color. The augmented scale is a symmetrical scale that could be named "minor third-half step scale" because it is made up of three minor thirds and a half-step cells, in other words it is a repeating sequence of minor thirds and minor seconds. You have to know that two augmented triads are making this scale.

C augmented scale C D# E G G# B
Formula 1 #9 3 5 #5 7
Intervals W+H H W+H H W+H H

W=Whole step     H=half step

How to build an augmented triad

The augmented scale can be seen in different ways :

The augmented scale is built with three sequences of minor thirds + minor seconds :

  • C, D#, E = minor third | minor second
  • E, G, G# = minor third | minor second
  • G#, B, C = minor third | minor second

The augmented scale is built with two augmented triads, you need to know that an augmented triad is made up of three notes.:

  • C, E, G# = C augmented triad = Related chord is C+.
  • D#, G, B = D# augmented triad = Related chord D#+

The augmented scale contain 4 other augmented triads:

  • E, G#, C = E augmented triad = Related chord E+
  • G, B, D# = G augmented triad = Related chord G+
  • G#, C, E = G# augmented triad = Related chord G#+
  • B, D#, G = B augmented triad = Related chord B+

The augmented scale contain 3 major triads (root, major third and perfect fifth):

  • C, E, G = C major triad
  • E, G#, B = E major triad
  • G#, C, D# = G# major triad

The augmented scale contain3 minor triads (root, minor third and perfect fifth) :

  • C, D#, G = C minor triad
  • E, G, B = E minor triad
  • G#, B, D# = G# minor triad

Augmented scale guitar diagrams | One octave positions

How to play the augmented scale on guitar

Now it's time to play the augmented scale on guitar. These four guitar diagrams show you how to apply it on the fretboard. The orange note "R" is the root note , each scale as a root note, this is the main note that a scale is built from, it gives a name to a scale. If it's the first time that you play the whole tone scale, it is recommended to start from the lowest root to highest and conversely from the highest to the lowest. You have to do this with each guitar position below. 

Once you're comfortable with these four diagrams and that you simply have to transpose them in twelve keys and try to create your own patterns by playing minor, major and augmented triads from this scale as it's explained before. 

Guitar fingering # 1

Augmented scale guitar diagram

Guitar fingering # 2

Augmented scale guitar fretboard diagram

Guitar fingering # 3

Augmented scale guitar position

Guitar fingering # 4

Augmented scale jazz guitar diagram

Augmented scale guitar diagrams | Two-octave positions

These two diagrams represent the augmented scale that runs out two octaves in position, indeed there are three roots in each one.

Once again try to play them in twelve keys.

Augmented scale guitar diagram two octaves 1

Augmented scale guitar diagram two octaves 2

Augmented scale guitar pattern | Augmented triads

How to play augmented triads from the augmented scale

This is an example of what we can do with the augmented scale. It's in the key of Bb so we have the following notes Bb, Db, D, F, G, A. The principle is simple, it is to play the six augmented triads from the Bb augmented scale, ascending and descending. These six augmented triads are Bb,D, G named Bb+, Db, F, A (Db+), D, Gb, Bb (D+), F, A, Db (F+), Gb, Bb, C (Gb+), A, Db, F (A+). The fingering is suggested, feel free to experiment you own fingerings and patterns by trying to replace them into your improvised guitar solos.

Augmented jazz guitar patterns

Augmented scale guitar pattern | Minor triads

How to play minor triads from the augmented scale

This second pattern is to play the three minor triads from the C augmented scale. Indeed each augmented scale consists of three minor triads. You have to know that a minor triad is made up of a root (1), minor third (b3) and fifth (5). The three minor triads played in the pattern below are : C minor (C, D# and G) ; E minor (E, G, B) and G# minor (G#, B and D#) . In measure one they are played ascending, unlike in bar two where they are played descending .

Augmented jazz guitar pattern minor triads

Augmented scale guitar pattern | Major triads

How to play major triads from the augmented scale

Here is another pattern built with major triads from the C augmented scale, ascending and descending. A major triad consists of a root (1), a major third (3) and a fifth (5). These are : C major built with C, E and G ; E major made up of E, G# and B then G major with G, C and D#.

Augmented jazz guitar pattern major triads

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Last edited: 25/05/2018