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How to play the C#aug chord on guitar

Unlock the sound of Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" and The Beatles' "Oh! Darling."

The C#aug chord

The C#aug chord, pronounced "C sharp augmented," is a unique and intriguing chord that adds a sense of tension and mystery to music. It's constructed by stacking two major thirds, giving it a distinct sound that's neither major nor minor. The C#aug chord is often used in jazz, classical, and film scores to create an unsettling or suspenseful atmosphere.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common C#aug chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for C#aug chord

The most common way to play the C#aug chord on guitar is as a barre chord on the 1st fret.

Follow these finger positions to play a C#aug chord on your guitar:

  1. Barre your index finger across all six strings on the 1st fret.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 3rd fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 3rd fret of the 4th (D) string.

To strum this chord, use your pick or thumb to play all six strings in a downward motion, ensuring each string rings out clearly.

How to play an easy C#aug chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the C#aug chord, try placing your first finger on the first fret of the B string, second finger on the second fret of the G string, and third finger on the fourth fret of the high E string. Strum only these three strings.

How to play a C#aug bar chord

The C# augmented chord is not commonly played as a barre chord on guitar. The standard open voicing using fingers 1, 2 and 4 on frets 1, 2 and 4 of strings B, G and E is the typical way this chord is played. Barre chord voicings for C#aug aren't popular or frequently used.

Common C#aug chord progressions

The C#aug chord, also known as C# augmented, adds a sense of tension and unresolved emotion to chord progressions, often used as a passing chord to create a sense of longing or to transition between other chords.

  • I - I+ - IV - iv - I (C# - C#aug - F# - F#m - C#) Used in "Oh! Darling" by The Beatles
  • I - I+ - vi - IV (C# - C#aug - A#m - F#)
  • I - I+ - vi - iii - vi - ii - V - I (C# - C#aug - A#m - E#m - A#m - D#m - G# - C#)
  • I - I+ - #iv° - V (C# - C#aug - Fm - G#)

Drills to master the C#aug chord

To master the C#aug guitar chord, try playing it in different rhythmic patterns. Start with a simple downstrum, then progress to alternating between downstrums and upstrums. Once comfortable, try playing the chord in various tempos, from slow to fast. This drill helps build muscle memory and dexterity.

Another effective drill is to practice transitioning to and from the C#aug chord. Choose a few chords that you frequently use, and create a progression that includes the C#aug. Focus on smooth transitions between each chord, ensuring that each note rings out clearly.

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Songs that feature the C#aug chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the C#aug chord.

  1. Purple Rain by Prince (F, C#aug, Dm, Bb)
  2. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen (Gm7, C#aug, Fm7, D7, Gm, Eb, Bb, F)
  3. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin (Am, C#aug, G, D, F)
  4. The Unforgiven by Metallica (Em, C#aug, Am, D)
  5. Hotel California by Eagles (Bm, C#aug, A, E, G, D, Em, F#)
  6. Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd (Bm, C#aug, A, G, D, C)
  7. Hey Jude by The Beatles (F, C, C#aug, Bb, F, Dm, Bb)
  8. Imagine by John Lennon (C, C#aug, F)
  9. Ain't No Sunshine by Bill Withers (Am, C#aug, Em, Dm)
  10. All Along the Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix (Am, C#aug, G, F)

How a guitar teacher can help

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