Learn to Derive Augmented and Suspended Chords on Guitar

In the previous lessons, we learned how to derive major chords, minor chords, dominant chords and diminished chords on the guitar. In this lesson, we will learn how to derive Augmented and Suspended chords.

These scales can be derived from a Major Scale. And yet again, the Major Scale I am using for explanation is the same old C Major Scale!

Major Chords Explanation

Augmented Chord

An Augmented Chord is quite similar to a Major Chord with the only difference of a raised 5th degree in the scale interval (1-3-5#), whereas a Major Chord Triad interval is 1-3-5.

An Augmented Chord creates a tensed tone and won’t sound that good to our ears and will always have that strong tendency to resolve to a much relaxed sounding Major or Minor Chord.

And the formula for building an Augmented Chord is 1-3-5#

Applying this formula on the C Major Scale gives us a C Augmented Chord as C – E – G#

C Augmented Chord on Guitar

An Augmented chord is denoted as C Aug or C Augmented.

Here is an incredible lesson on Augmented chords by Sean Daniel, where he teaches you how to really plug this chord in a practical musical context and make the most of it and get creative with it. A super-valuable lesson, worth a watch! 

Suspended Chords

Suspended or Sus Chords (as they are popularly known) have unconventional scale intervals, wherein a minor 3rd (1-3b) or a major 3rd (1-3) is replaced with a major 2nd (1-2) or a perfect 4th (1-4).

Since there is an absence of a minor 3rd or a major 3rd in this chord, it creates a tensed sound just like an Augmented chord, but at the same time the semi-tone (or minor 2nd) interval between 1st and 2nd or 4th and 5th degree of notes gives rise to a dissonant tone – not so soothing to our ears.

There are mainly 2 types of Suspended Chords

  1. Suspended 2nd
  2. Suspended 4th

Suspended 2nd Chord

In a Suspended 2nd Chord, the Major or Minor Third interval is replaced with a Major Second note.

Formula for building a Suspended 2nd Chord is 1-2-5

By applying this formula on the C Major Scale, we get a C Suspended 2nd or C Sus 2 chord as C-D-G

C Suspended 2nd Chord on Guitar

Suspended 4th Chord

In a Suspended 4th Chord, the Major or Minor Third interval is replaced with a Perfect 4th note.

Formula for building a Suspended 4th Chord is 1-4-5

By applying this formula on the C Major Scale, we get a C Suspended 4th or C Sus 4 chord as C-F-G

C Suspended 4th Chord on Guitar

[Video] Take Your Suspended Chords Knowledge To The Next Level

This video explores the Sus2 and Sus4 chords in detail and teaches you how to add more colors and embellishments to it by adding more scale degrees to it. Most importantly, you will learn how and when to use these chords in a real musical scenario in this video. It’s really worth your while to spend some time watching this video.

I hope you found this lesson useful in understanding Augmented and Suspended Chords clearly. I will be coming up with more interesting lessons and articles in my upcoming posts, so stay tuned!

How often have you come across Augmented and Suspended chords while playing guitar? Have you experimented which chords sound good with these “tensed” sounding chords?

Please let me know through comments!

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