Table of Contents
Understanding Diminished and Augmented Guitar Chords
Diminished and augmented guitar chords are triads.
The diminished chord has the same intervals as a minor triad, with the exception of a flattened 5th (b5).
The augmented chord has the same intervals as a major triad, with the exception of a sharpened 5th (#5).
The abbreviations for both diminished and augmented are:
- Diminished: Dim.
- Augmented: Aug.
Construction and formulas for diminished and augmented chords
What is a diminished chord?
A diminished chord is a triad built using the intervals 1-b3-b5.
This means that all of the intervals are a minor 3rd apart.
If you play each note on a single string, they are 3 frets apart.
How to play diminished chords?
Here’s a simple chart to help you visualize and understand how to play diminished chords and arpeggios.
They all use the root note C, as highlighted in Green.
The lines drawn depict commonly used diminished chord shapes.
You can come up with more shapes on your own by looking at the intervals.
What is an augmented chord?
An augmented chord is a triad built using the intervals 1-3-#5.
This means that all of the intervals are a major 3rd apart.
If you play each note on a single string, they are 4 frets apart.
How do you play augmented chords?
Here’s another chart. This one will help you visualize and understand how to play augmented chords and arpeggios.
They use the same root note from before, C.
Note that the layout of intervals repeats itself every 4 frets! This means you can take one shape, move it up 4 frets, and it will still have the same notes.
This makes it easy to learn augmented chord inversions.
The lines drawn depict commonly used augmented chord shapes.
As you did with the diminished chords, look at and use the intervals to come up with your own chord shapes and arpeggios.
How do you use diminished and augmented chords?
As a general rule, diminished and augmented guitar chords are used to build tension, then resolve to a tonic.
They can do this as chords in a chord progression, or as passing chords.
However, like all chords, there are many different uses for these types of chords. Learning songs that use these chords will help you to better understand them.
Diminished and Augmented Guitar Chords Summary
Diminished and augmented guitar chords have very simple harmonic structures/chord formulas. This is due to the fast that the notes/intervals stack.
Learning these chords will be easy because of this.
Practice these chords in a multitude of styles and genres, and you’ll understand them in no time!
Thank you for reading! Please leave a comment below if you have any questions.
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