#1
My approach to self-taught guitar has mostly involved improve playing, noodling, around particular things I want to learn. To get comfortable with all the open chords and various barre chord options, I learned what chords are in a key and then jam around those chords. Maybe I find a song I like in that key and jam around that chord progression to learn those chords.

As a result, I am now very comfortable playing any major or minor or 7th chords.

I can also play some sus2, sus4, maj7s, 6s, add?, 9s, 11s, 13s, a couple dims and no augs. But these are all collectively my "weak" spot, as far as playing chords, I have no clue how to fret a Bbsus2, an E6, a C13, a G#add9, an Fdim, a Caug, etc.

I'm trying to figure this out in small bites, first with dims & augs, assuming it's not counterproductive to try working on both together. I like to kill as many birds with one stone as I can, for efficiency.

The problem I have is that, it was really easy to just sit around and noodle with major, minor and 7th chords, and some open sus chords. They sounded good. I could create little jams, grooves.

Honestly, the few times I've played dims, or augs, I just don't like them. I guess I'm hoping to find an approach / lesson to playing these such that I can simultaneously get practice fretting the different dim / aug shapes around the fretboard AND hear how they can sound good and work melodically / harmoniously with other chords.

Maybe a song or exercise that uses multiple dims, or multiple augs, or both, would be a good starting point. Does anyone know of anything like that, or have any general advice on incorporating these sorts of chords into my playing? (I think the other chords I need to work on -- sus, adds, 6, 9, 13, jazz chords, will actually be easier because when I've tried those chords, I have liked them, unlike the dim/aug chords I've played.)

Ken
Bernie Sanders for President!
#2
the quick and dirty re: diminished & augmented...think of them as altered 7th chords the diminished 7..ie C dim7 can also be a B7b9...that's B7 chord with a flat nine.. it would resolve nicely to E Major7...now that is a very simple way to explain the chord without going into the "why" ..

same can be for the Augmented...the fifth is raised or a sharp 5 /#5 ... again..to use it so it may make sense...use a dominate 7th chord and sharp the 5th G7#5 to Cmaj7

check out a chord site for some fingerings for these chords..they are fairly easy
now the above does not explain the difference of triads and 4note chords..its quick & dirty remember..

my take on your approach...if your satisfied with the hunt and peck method your using to learn guitar/music...then that's fine...I did it for a number of years..but if your getting frustrated by not being able to play what you want...then take some time and learn some basic skills...diatonic harmony is a good place to begin...in several months you will have an entirely new out look on guitar and music..

play well

wolf
Last edited by wolflen at Feb 27, 2014,
#4
you're not really going to see these kinds of chords outside classical or jazz much, mostly because they're not as easy to use as major or minor chords. you need to know how to use them, because, poorly placed, they can sound terrible.

wolflen gave you a great idea -- spend further time with the basics. if you're not satisfied with that approach (and i can understand why you might not be, even though i agree with him), then let's tackle your question.

how do you learn to use dim and aug chords easily in your playing? the answer is to practice them. if you understand how to construct chords, you can put in a little work and figure out how you might fret them. but knowing how to play a chord doesn't mean you know how to use it. start checking out some jazz - i think it's fair to say that most jazz uses diminished chords. augmented chords are less common but are still part of the vernacular.

i recommend you do a little work with the jazz standard autumn leaves. if you're doing it in G minor, you'll be finding an Am7b5 chord occuring quite a few times. there are no augmented chords, but if you want to, you can substitute the D7 for a D+ chord. i tend to play it as a D7b9, but should you choose to make it augmented, you can. you'll end up with a D7#5b9 chord (or a D7+b9 chord, whichever way you prefer to notate it).

even if you go ahead with my suggestions, be sure to take more time to understand and apply the basics.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#5
Best way to do it is twofold:
1) do the math - you know how to build these chords, so figure out where they are on the neck and drill them. Do them up and down sets of 3 adjacent strings, open voicings, etc. You can start by just raising/lowering the 5th of the major/minor chords you already know.

2) Use the chords in music - find examples of their usage and put them in context. Aug and Dim quality is used almost exclusively for dominants.

Quote by AeolianWolf
you're not really going to see these kinds of chords outside classical or jazz much, mostly because they're not as easy to use as major or minor chords. you need to know how to use them, because, poorly placed, they can sound terrible.



I disagree - these sounds are everywhere. Maybe not on the Top 40 station, but pretty much any non-dance music can use these chord qualities. Hell, even Maroon 5 uses diminished shapes to voice 7b9 chords.
Last edited by cdgraves at Feb 27, 2014,
#6
Quote by cdgraves
I disagree - these sounds are everywhere. Maybe not on the Top 40 station, but pretty much any non-dance music can use these chord qualities. Hell, even Maroon 5 uses diminished shapes to voice 7b9 chords.


maroon 5 did not materialize the 7b9 chord out of nowhere; it's a result of jazz (or possibly even romantic-era or modern-era classical music) influence whether directly or indirectly (through other styles such as funk, which in turn was influenced by jazz).

would you recommend someone learn about 7b9 chords by playing chick corea or maroon 5? because you'd stand to learn a lot more playing "what was" than you would by playing "this love".

my point is, go to the source if you can.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#7
Not opining on the source or primary usage, only that rock music still uses augmented and diminished chords in harmonically appropriate places.
#8
Yea. Check out the Beatles and Beach Boys and Velvet Underground repertoire. I am sure they heard those sounds in jazz and incorporated in their music.

Blue Jay Way, Michelle, God Only Knows, Murder Mystery.. there's more.

I'm thinking it's best to know the basic 4 triads in the inversions all over the neck and that's your bread and butter for more things later down the road.
#9
Since you mention the Beatles, the opening chord in "Oh! Darling" is big fat +7. The second chord in "Fixing A Hole" is, too.
#11
Dim chords are usually used as passing chords half a step below the target chord. It works on any major or minor target chord. Same funtion as (secondary) dominants basically.

For example if you have Bbmaj - Cmaj - Dmin

You can play Bbmaj - Bdim - Cmaj - Cbdim - Dmin
Last edited by Elintasokas at Feb 28, 2014,
#12
Quote by Elintasokas
Dim chords are usually used as passing chords half a step below the target chord. It works on any major or minor target chord. Same funtion as (secondary) dominants basically.

For example if you have Bbmaj - Cmaj - Dmin

You can play Bbmaj - Bdim - Cmaj - C#dim - Dmin


fixed. but yes, this is generally the function of diminished chords. it isn't "the same function as a secondary dominant" -- it IS a secondary dominant.

augmented chords typically function as a dominant chord. sometimes you'll see something that people would notate D - D+ - D6, where the focus is the melodic motion from A to A# to B (kashmir does something similar to this). i wouldn't consider that middle chord to actually be an augmented chord because it isn't functioning like one, but some people might take it upon themselves to ignore the concept of function and disagree.

Quote by cdgraves
Not opining on the source or primary usage, only that rock music still uses augmented and diminished chords in harmonically appropriate places.


you're contesting an argument i never made (note the qualifier "much" that i used). in addition, i would hardly consider the occurrence of diminished and augmented chords in a fraction of musics outside of jazz and classical to be "everywhere". compare the frequency (and effectiveness, while we're at it) of these chords in jazz and in rock, and let the results speak for themselves. i think then you'll see what i'm talking about.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#13
Quote by Elintasokas
Dim chords are usually used as passing chords half a step below the target chord. It works on any major or minor target chord. Same funtion as (secondary) dominants basically.

For example if you have Bbmaj - Cmaj - Dmin

You can play Bbmaj - Bdim - Cmaj - Cbdim - Dmin

I didn't know this. I love learning stuff
#14
Quote by AeolianWolf
fixed. but yes, this is generally the function of diminished chords. it isn't "the same function as a secondary dominant" -- it IS a secondary dominant.

Well yeah, true. It's also worth mentioning that half diminished chords are rootless dominant sevenths and diminished chords are V7b9. That is the reason they have the same function as well.
#15
I know they're used in jazz with much greater frequency, but they're used effectively in all kinds of music. Nothing wrong with getting a broader picture of the concept.

Importantly, Someone just learning theory is also more likely to hear a +7 in a rock song because they tend to be used for dramatic effect. The harmony in jazz is usually so dense and fast paced that it could easily be missed.

Also secondary dominant =/= secondary leading tone chord. Same function, different usage. Though it's not really a distinction you'd find much outside of classical music.
#16
Quote by cdgraves
I know they're used in jazz with much greater frequency, but they're used effectively in all kinds of music. Nothing wrong with getting a broader picture of the concept.

Importantly, Someone just learning theory is also more likely to hear a +7 in a rock song because they tend to be used for dramatic effect. The harmony in jazz is usually so dense and fast paced that it could easily be missed.

Also secondary dominant =/= secondary leading tone chord. Same function, different usage. Though it's not really a distinction you'd find much outside of classical music.



Totally Agree!!
#17
Quote by cdgraves
Importantly, Someone just learning theory is also more likely to hear a +7 in a rock song because they tend to be used for dramatic effect. The harmony in jazz is usually so dense and fast paced that it could easily be missed.


how fast paced do you think the harmony is in autumn leaves?

i grant you the fact that i don't listen to much rock music, but i have NEVER heard an +7 chord in a rock song outside of the beatles repertoire. and while the songwriting was innovative in more ways than one, trust me when i say that someone studying theory is more often than not going to be looking to other sources than the beatles for information. they're only more likely to hear a +7 in a rock song if they only listen to rock.

Quote by cdgraves
Also secondary dominant =/= secondary leading tone chord. Same function, different usage. Though it's not really a distinction you'd find much outside of classical music.


it is appropriate to call a viiº7/V a secondary dominant to the face of anyone but the most tight-ass theory instructor, because of the function of the chord.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.