Learn 6 Ways to Play E Augmented | Chord by Chord

In this guitar chord lesson designed to build your understanding of harmony and the fretboard, you'll learn ways to change from E major to E augmented.

Welcome to the latest installment of Chord by Chord, a series designed to build your understanding of harmony and the fretboard. In the last lesson, I showed you how to make A augmented from various A major voicings. This time I’ll do the same, but with E augmented.

The Work


Remember that a major triad is built from three notes—the root, the third, and the fifth. In an augmented triad, the root and the third are the same, but the fifth is raised a half step. Example 1 shows the notes in an E major triad (E G# B) and Example 2 shows those in an Eaug triad (E G# B#). Note that B# is the enharmonic equivalent of (same note as) C.

Example music shows the notes in an E major triad and in an Eaug triad

Example 3a shows how to make Eaug from an open E chord using just the bottom four strings, and Example 3b repeats the process on the top four strings. Starting with a C-shaped E chord (same as open C shape but moved up the fretboard) in fourth position, Example 4 depicts how to make Eaug further up the fretboard. Note that this and the remaining figures in this lesson all take advantage of the low open E string.  

Examples 5a–b demonstrate how to get to Eaug from the E major barre chord in seventh position. Lastly, because full barre chords are impractical in 12th position on acoustic guitar, try some three-note voicings on the top three strings, as shown in Example 6.

The Result

You should now know a number of ways to play E augmented up and down the fretboard. One song that makes use of this chord is “Helter Skelter” by the Beatles. In the next lesson, we’ll begin revisiting dominant seventh chords. 

Kate Koenig
Kate Koenig

Kate Koenig is a singer-songwriter, music teacher, and music journalist based in Brooklyn, New York. They have been a regular contributor to Acoustic Guitar since 2017.

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