Augmented Arpeggios on the Guitar

The Augmented arpeggio contains the following:

1 – 3 – #5

It’s the ‘sharp 5’ that gives the augmented arpeggio its characteristic sound. We are going to look at the different positions for the augmented arpeggio, but first let’s look at an interesting thing that occurs with the augmented arpeggio/chord.

If we analyze the intervals of the augmented arpeggio, we find that there is a major 3rd interval (4 semitones) between each note, including from the #5 back to the 1. This means that the arpeggio/chord is symmetrical. Why is this important? Because it means that every note of the arpeggio/chord can be interpreted as the root note. Of course, this is best demonstrated with an example.

Let’s look at the C augmented arpeggio/chord. We have the following notes:

C (1) – E (3) – G# (#5)

If you want to observe how the notes are evenly spaced in regards to intervals, play the arpeggio on one string. Play the note C on the 3rd fret of the A string. Now move up 4 frets (4 semitones/major 3rd). You will arrive at the 7th fret, which is E. Now move up 4 more frets. You will arrive at the 11th fret, which is G#. We have now played the 3 notes of the arpeggio. However, for an arpeggio/chord to be symmetrical, the interval from the last note back to the root note needs to also be the same. So, let’s move up four more frets, from the 11th to the 15th. We are now back at C (up 1 octave from where we started).

As I mentioned, this means that each note can be interpreted as the root note.

Again, the C augmented arpeggio contains the following notes:

C (1) – E (3) – G# (#5)

The E augmented arpeggio contains the following notes:

E(1) – G# (3) – B# (#5)

*B# is enharmonically the same as C

The G# augmented arpeggio contains the following notes

G# (1) – B# (3) – Dx (5)

*B# is enharmonically the same as C
*Dx is enharmonically the same as E

This peculiarity with that the augmented arpeggio/chord might not have many obvious uses. But it is worth observing. There are other arpeggios/chords that this occurs with, such as the dominant 7b5, and the diminished 7.

As with all scales/arpeggios, we want to learn the five movable positions along the fretboard. Observe the following five positions. We will use the key of G as an example key. If you would like to view alternative keys, visit the arpeggios page for individual links.

 

5 Augmented Arpeggio Shapes Across the Fretboard

Augmented-Arpeggio-Frets-Key-G-Pos-2-Shape-1

Augmented-Arpeggio-Notes-Key-G-Pos-2-Shape-1

Augmented-Arpeggio-Frets-Key-G-Pos-5-Shape-2

Augmented-Arpeggio-Notes-Key-G-Pos-5-Shape-2

Augmented-Arpeggio-Frets-Key-G-Pos-7-Shape-3

Augmented-Arpeggio-Notes-Key-G-Pos-7-Shape-3

Augmented-Arpeggio-Frets-Key-G-Pos-9-Shape-4

Augmented-Arpeggio-Notes-Key-G-Pos-9-Shape-4

Augmented-Arpeggio-Frets-Key-G-Pos-12-Shape-5

Augmented-Arpeggio-Notes-Key-G-Pos-12-Shape-5

Visit the arpeggios page for links to individual keys!


 

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About Genaaron Diamente

I play guitar. I teach guitar. I like making music. I'm trying to build this site up to be a valuable resource for guitar students and teachers.

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