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Open Suspended Chords (Part 1)

The Justinguitar.com lessons on Chords

Very open and airy sounding chords with lots of space... also great for embellishments!

At the bottom of this lesson is a video showing you some ways to use these chords in 'real life' situations :) Check it out - it should help you understand sus chords properly.

 

So what is a sus chord?

Suspended can be thought of as meaning "take away the third and replace with...". If you know your basic theory around chords, you should know that basic chords (triads) are made up of 3 notes: a root, the third and the fifth. These refer to the scale tones. For Example in C major: C D E F G A B C. The Root is C, the 3rd is E and the 5th is G.

It is the 3rd of a chord that determines whether a chord is major or minor. for example: C Major = C E G, C minor = C Eb G. Take away the 3rd and the chord is no longer major or minor!

That's why sus chords are so awesome - they are neither happy (major) or sad (minor) they just hang out and be cool :)

 

How to Practice Sus Chords...

They can be used either as a cool sounding chords in their own right or as 'ornamental' chords that you might use to embellish a simple chord progression. This second way is the most common so the best way to play them is with their 'parent' chords (both major and minor).

For example, you might play D, Dsus4, D, Dsus2 over an over. Get used to embellishing the D chord with the suspended sounds. Then you might try Dmin, Dsus2, Dmin, Dsus4, Dmin so you get used to the sus sounds with the minors too. They really are cool chords to get down.

 

Sus Chords In Use

Any time you have to play a chords for a long time (a bar or more) try adding in a sus chord or two to add a little interest. It becomes almost like improvising the rhythms...

Have fun .

 

E7 Chord

Dsus4 - Open Chord Voicing

Just like playing a regular D chord but add your little finger under your 3rd finger. Pretty easy one really...

Of course if you come from a minor chord the fingers will be totally different again - just remember that as long as you have the right dots pressed down that it is not important (with these) which fingers you use. In this case you will probably be using 2nd, 3rd and 4th fingers..

A7 Chord

Dsus2 - Open Chord Voicing

Start with a regular D and then lift off your 2nd finger. Make sure that your 3rd finger is not touching the 1st string or it won't sound and then it will not sound suspended!

Of course if you come from a minor chord the fingers will be totally different again - just remember that as long as you have the right dots pressed down that it is not important (with these) which fingers you use. You will probably be using 2nd and 3rd fingers in this case.

D7 Chord

Asus4 - Open Chord Voicing

There are many ways to finger this chord. I have it shown here like you have learnt A chord the 'old skool' way with the three fingers in a row - in which case you just add in your 4th finger (you can leave the 3rd finger behind it if you like, it makes no difference.

If you have learnt it the way I recommend in the beginners course here on the site you will still add your 4th finger but the 1st and 2nd fingers will be swapped over...

You can also play it by sliding your 3rd finger forward from the regular A shape.

Of course if you come from a minor chord the fingers will be totally different again - just remember that as long as you have the right dots pressed down that it is not important (with these) which fingers you use.

C7 Chord

Asus2 - Open Chord Voicing

There are many ways to finger this chord. I have it shown here like you have learnt A chord the 'old skool' way with the three fingers in a row - in which case you just lift off your 3rd finger.

If you have learnt it the way I recommend in the beginners course here on the site you will still lift off your 3rd finger but the 1st and 2nd fingers will be swapped over...

Of course if you come from a minor chord the fingers will be totally different again - just remember that as long as you have the right dots pressed down that it is not important (with these) which fingers you use. In this case probably be the 2nd and 3rd fingers.

G7 Chord

Esus4 - Open Chord Voicing

This is generally the fingering that you use for a Esus4 whether you have come from Major or minor. Note that there is not a proper open chord for Esus2 - there is a way of playing it but it is not very common, not very easy and sounds a little strange.

 

Video About Sus Chords...

This video gives you some real life examples and some cool ways of using them!

Lesson ID: CH-003