The Augmented Scale Brain Storm!

11 Whole Tone Discoveries: Modern Guitar Exercises

Eleven things I love about the augmented scale and arpeggio.

Let’s Play, create, and take time as much as possible today.
Don’t be afraid to take a moment to digest the info!
If I’m being honest, I could make a video for each of these 11 ideas! Here we go:


Although the whole tone scale is dreamy, it’s a subjective definition. Generally, this is how musicians and non-musicians describe it.

Whenever I want my dominant chords to sound ultra dreamy, I know this is the best way. Moreover, since the augmented scale is a symmetrical scale based on whole tone, its inversions can be moved up in 2nds (2 frets) and in Maj3rds (4 frets).

I’d say it’s time to pause the video, pick up your guitar, and try these ideas!
In the slowed down version, we get to the scale section of the Aug. chord structure at 0:55 in the video – 1:15. If you’re comfortable, try adjusting the scale in 2nds for an extra challenge!

Notes about the video above:

  1. I personally love to apply open triads (Root / Fifth/ Third) with the augmented scale and move it up tri-tones – 1:34.
    The sound of the Augmented triad is rather beautiful, special and it works over dominant and augmented chords. To add further to this I like to play the augmented arpeggio on all 6 strings – 2:50
  2. Another way we can move the augmented scale around is CHROMATICALLY – 2:58. Going back on the augmented triad / full arpeggio, we can play the chromatic notes around the Root, Fifth, Third, Twice if you play the entire arpeggio! Play this exercise and see what dominant chord situations in your favorite songs you can try this over. If the speed is challenging please go to – 3:29
    We can further maximise this cool idea by playing on one string and for the complete challenge: embellish the chromatic phrase with an augmented triad!
  3. So we’ve seen what we can achieve with one string. The next obvious step is to take a pair of strings and embellish each arpeggio with chromatic notes and transpose this in tritones!
    Some of you might be wondering “?” fear not! skip to – 4:33 for explanation. For the slower version – 5:03. Those looking for more spice, check this variation: Root, Aug. 4th, Flattened 6th and 2nd!
    For a detailed analysis of how i’m using chromatics please forward to – 5:42.
  4. The next exercise I present – 8:08 Is an exercise I particularly enjoy as it combines three string sets of aug. triads and two string sets of aug triads.
    In general triads you know on three strings I’d like you to also know on two string sets. Soloing in one station can be very challenging and to be able to succeed in both techniques gives that characteristic tension that Augmented triads mixed with chromatics deliver so well!
    For a slower playthrough of this exercise please go to – 9:09.
  5. So what else? Well let’s go back to the beginning where we played open triads. Instead of moving up the aug. triad with open triads we can use chromatic approach notes around the Root, Tritone and Fifth.
  6. And still there’s more, of course there is. What augmented topic presentation would be complete without: SWEEP PICKING!
    The exercise incorporates playing thirds up the Aug triad and coming down the arpeggio from the root at top – 10:25
  7. And my final idea for this presentation which is a chromatic embellishment of idea 6 and reversing my Third idea with some touches of all other thoughts. – 10:57.
    Basically this covers all aspects I’ve gone over in this article… (If only such an exercise existed!)
    It is however my purest salsa ala augmented!

So there you go!

These are eleven things I love about the augmented scale and arpeggio. I’ve always been into augmented passages for their sound and mysterious vibe. Try out this idea: Where you place your accents, chromatic embellishment, switching intonation between two and three sets etc… You know what’s going on, get in on this jam and find out what you can do with it!

Have fun, keep on enjoying and please let me know what you’d like to hear about in the next article.


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