Welcome to the latest installment of Chord by Chord, a series designed to build your understanding of harmony and the fretboard. Last time I you showed a new triad type, augmented, and various ways of transforming a C chord to C augmented. This time I’ll do the same thing, but with G major and G augmented.

The Work

Remember that a major triad is made of three notes, the root, the third, and the fifth, and an augmented triad is the same, but with the fifth augmented, or raised by a half step. Example 1 shows the notes in a G major triad (G B D) and Example 2 shows the notes in a Gaug triad (G B D#). Example 3 depicts how to form a Gaug chord from an open G—just raise the open D a half step (i.e., play the first-fret D#). Feel free to omit/mute the B on string 5 for a slightly less cluttered sound.


The next two figures are derived from a G barre chord in third position. Example 4a makes use of the bottom four strings, while Example 4b utilizes the top four. Example 5 moves things up to seventh position. Here the fifth is the lowest note, on the third string. Though this lesson is more about building augmented triads than switching between major and augmented shapes, it’s worth nothing that you can keep your third finger in place when switching between the two chords in Ex. 5—a good concept in general for switching between chords efficiently.

Example 6a, on the inner four strings, might be difficult to play on a 12-fret guitar. An easier alternative, using only the top three strings, is shown in Example 6b—just move your finger up one fret to form the Gaug chord. By the way, you might recognize this frame from Ex. 4b in the previous lesson—it’s the same shape, but moved up seven frets.

The Result

You should now know how an augmented triad is constructed and how to get there from various C and G major triads. A couple of well-known songs that make use of the Gaug chord are “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” by the Beatles and “Hard Feelings” by Fleetwood Mac. Stay tuned for next time, when I’ll introduce a new harmony—the seventh chord.