How To Use The Augmented Triad In A Jazz Blues Solo

The augmented triad is a great and very distinct sound to add to your playing. In this video I am going show you a solo on a 12 bar blues where I am using this triad on most of the chords. I am going to analyze it and talk about where I am using it and what kind of sound the augmented triad adds to the chords.

Having many sounds and ideas is really important to create solos that don’t always sound the same and using the augmented triad is a great way to do that. You will find that a lot of players like Kurt Rosenwinkel and Sonny Rollins often use this triad in their playing.

The Augmented Triad

The augmented triad is a major triad with a raised 5th, so if you look at a Bb augemented triad:

Bb major: Bb D F,

Bb augmented: Bb D F#

Augmented triad symmetry

The triad is a stack of major thirds: Bb-D and D-F#. F#-Bb would be another major third. This is really useful because symmetrical arpeggios can easily be transposed and will be have the same fingering along the neck.

If you want to practice the Bb augmented triads then these two positions will already get you pretty far.

Augmented Triads in the Diatonic Triads

Since the main example in this lesson is a blues chorus in the key of Bb, then it probably makes the most sense to use Bb lydian b7 or F melodic minor as an example of a scale that contains an augmented triad.

Here is an overview of the diatonic triads in F melodic minor:


7 ways to use an Augmented Triad – The Bb Blues Example

The example below is a one chorus blues solo where I use the augmented triad in different ways through out the chorus.

The first two bars are just there to state the changes and the blues. playing clear lines.

The line in bars 3-4 starts with a triad pair with an augmented triad. The sound is a Bb7(#11) or Bb lydian b7. The triad pair I am using is Abaug and Bb triads. The triad pairs with the augmented triads are really colorful and a great sound on a dom7th chord.

In bar 4 I am changing the chord to an altered dominant. This means using B melodic minor, which contains the D augmented triad. Here it is used in the 1st inversion.

The next example of an augmented triad is in bar 6 on the Ab7 chord. Here the scale sound is Eb minor melodic and the triad used is a Gb augmented triad. 

The G7alt pointing towards the Cm7 in bar 9 also makes use of an augmented triad. Here it is a B augmented triad out of the G altered or Ab melodic minor.

A little Dorian Hack

Even though the Cm7 in the II V I in Bb does not really have a scale with an augmented triad you can still use one in the way that I am doing here. The idea is to use the G augmented triad as a sort of leading note structure, almost like a G7. 

The F7alt has an A augmented triad, diatonic to F altered or Gb melodic minor. Here I am playing it from the F.

Whole-tone scale

The final turnaround is here a bar of Bb7 followed by a bar of F7. The F7 is in this case an F7 from the whole tone scale. The entire lick in bar 12 is based on moving  triads up in whole steps. The triads are displaced a bit to make them sound a little more interesting.

If you want more ideas for soloing on a Bb jazz blues then check out this lesson:

Bb Jazz Blues Lesson 1

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How to Use augmented triads in a jazz blues solo

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