The Ionian #5 Mode - Guitar Diagrams, Chords and Charts

What's the Ionian #5 mode 

How Is Built The Ionian #5 Mode?

The Ionian #5 mode aka Ionian augmented or major augmented is the third mode of the harmonic minor scale, this is a major scale. It has seven notes just like the Ionian mode (major scale) but with an augmented fifth instead of a perfect fifth. The formula is 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - #5 - 6 - 7.

The Ionian #5 mode is basically played over maj7#5 chords. Although these chords are uncommon, they can be used as a substitute for Ionian chord types when you want to add a little bit of tension. Notice that the Ionian #5 mode provides a typical interval, the 1-1/2 step distance found in all the modes of the harmonic minor family.

C Ionian #5 mode C D E F G# A B
Formula 1 2 (9) 3 4 (11) 5# 6 (13) 7
Intervals W W H W+H H W H

What's the Difference With The Ionian Mode?

The diagrams below enhances understanding the unique difference with between the Ionian mode (better known as major scale) and the Ionian augmented mode. Indeed, as its name implies, the Ionian augmented scale has an augmented fifth instead of a natural fifth.

Ionian modes comparison

Comparison With Ionian b6 Scale

The Ionian #5 mode can be confused with the Ionian b6 scale, also known as harmonic major scale. There is a slight difference as shown in the diagrams below. The Ionian b6 has a perfect fifth (5) and a minor sixth (b6). This scale is rarely used in jazz.

Harmonic major scale vs ionian augmented 5

How To Play The Ionian #5 Scale On The Guitar?

These four diagrams show how to play the Ionian #5 mode on the guitar within the space of one octave.

The first shape have the tonic on the 6th and 4th string. The second shapes have tonic on the 5th and 3rd string. The tonic of the third shape is on the 4th and 2nd string. The fourth shape have the tonic on the 3rd and 1st string.

Ionian augmented fifth guitar positions

Each of these two shapes have notes within two octaves. To improve your  understanding of the Ionian #5 mode it is bettet to start playing these shapes starting from the tonic (1). Then you can try to play them starting from chord tones as 3, 5 and 7.

Ionian augmented fifth guitar shapes

The seven positions below show how to play the Ionian #5 scale in order to cover the whole guitar neck using three notes per string. Each shape starts from a different step of the scale.

Ionian augmented fifth guitar diagrams 1

Related Chord Shapes

Now you know how to play the Ionian #5 scale you have to connect it with the related augmented major seventh chord shapes below. The first serie (the first three diagrams) represents drop 2 chord voicing shapes (root positions and inversions). 

Augmented major seventh chords for guitar

The two other guitar diagrams show how to play drop 3 major 7#5 chords.

Augmented major seventh guitar chords
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Last edited: 2021-05-17

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