Open Chord Suspensions
The next step after learning your first major and minor chords.
Rob Schumann: The subject of this tutorial is Sus Chords and in some of earlier lessons we looked at the first basic chords that you should learn after picking up the guitar and then how to change between those chords, then also how to strum while you are doing that. So these Sus chords are sort of the next step. These are some more basic chords. They are really alterations of those first Major and Minor chords and so you want to get these down before you really move on to more advanced chords such as seventh chords.
There are a few common misunderstandings about Sus chords that we will try to clear up as well. Basically, the function of Sus chords serves a couple of purposes. Number one, it sort of extends the sound of a Major or Minor chord. I will give you an example with a D Chord.
Playing a Dsus4 makes me really want to resolve back to that D Major. So it's a Dsus4 that we will look at in a little bit more detail in a second. This is going to be a Dsus2 chord that I will play next. You'll hear this one, doesn't really feel as strongly that it needs to resolve. It is more just of an open sound that can be a little bit more interesting than just a regular Major chord. You can hear it is sort of a modern sound.
Here I am just arpeggiating a regular D Major chord, but then when I make it into a Dsus2; you hear that cool kind of open droning sound; that's a very modern sound that a lot of bands use currently. So let's walk through and look at these. There is another variation of these that we will also go through and that's called an Add9 chord that we will get to in a second.
So, I am starting with an A Major chord. This is the one that we have looked at before. You can do it different ways the way you choose to finger it. In this case, let's just make it simple and say one, two, three for A Major. Basically, what we are doing in a Sus chord is we are replacing the note that determines whether a chord is Major or Minor; that's the third in this case, that's the second fret of the second string.
We do an A Major this way and an A Minor this way. We take that third and we replace it with either the fourth note or the second note of the Major scale that we are out of and that kind of gets into theory, but we will mostly just be looking at the fingerings in this case. So to take an A Major chord and make it into an Asus4, there are a couple of different ways to do this. You can take your fourth finger and add it to that third fret of the second string.
That makes that Asus4 chord. That really feels like it wants to resolve back to an A. If you play your A Major with just finger like your second finger, you can still add that fourth finger on or another option is that if you are playing one, two, three, you can just slide that third finger out to grab that third fret. So you can hear that sort of sound that feels like it wants to resolve there.
So that's the Asus4. The Asus2, which gives us that sort of open droning sound, that one is fairly simple. There are seven different ways to play that as well. If you are just going straight to it, you can just put the second and third finger down. That's on the second fret of the fourth and third string or if you are playing an A Major, you just pick up the third finger and get the same thing. So either of those two fingerings is just fine and you can hear that open droning sound.
So that's an Asus2. Another one of the first basic chords that we looked at was a C Major and we can do the same thing with the C. We can make it into a sus4. So here is the C Major fingering that we have looked at previously and in this case I have actually got two of those third notes in here. I have got one here with the second finger on the fourth string and also the open first string is going to bring us that same third note, in this case an E.
So I am going to raise that by one to make it a Csus4. So what I am going to do is take the second finger, go ahead and remove that and add the fourth finger to the third fret of the fourth string. You can leave your second finger there if you want to, especially if you are going to resolve back to that C. Then with the first finger that's already on the first fret of the second string, I am going to lean that back and fret both the first and second string at the first fret.
So that gives me my Csus4. So you can hear that sound that wants to resolve. So to go between those I add the fourth finger and lean that first finger back and then to resolve back, just did with that back up and remove the fourth finger. For the next alteration to this C chord, I am going to try to dispel a common misconception. A lot of times people would be reading a chord chart and they will see a chord that says something like C2 or D2 and here is what's really confusing.
That actually can mean several different things and that's what's really confusing about it. Basically, when you see a 2 next to a chord, it's sort of shorthand for either an add9 or a sus2, which are actually fairly similar sounds. The difference is with a sus2 chord, as we looked that with the A, we are taking the third of that chord and replacing it with the second. So we are just removing the third and replacing it with the second.
With an add9 chord, as in the case that I am going to do with the C, I am actually keeping the third in the chord where I have it here and here on the first string. I am just going to add what's called the nine of the chord, and with the rest of the chord. So in this case with a C Major, I can make a Cadd9 by adding the fourth finger to the third fret of the second string and it has similar sound to that, sus2.
We have that real open droning sound. So if you a C2 that's probably what they would be talking about is an add9 and it would be the same if you saw an A2, it probably be an Asus2. There is another fingering that we can use for the C add9 which is very common one, and that is to use the second finger on the third fret of the fifth string, the first finger on the second fret of the fourth string and then have the third finger on the third fret of the second string and fourth finger on the third fret of the first string.
That still has a third in it, which is that note there and we are still adding that nine here on the third fret of the second string. I should mention that when you talk about adding a two or a nine to a chord, it's the same note. That's really just how it functions within the chords. That's another way of playing that Cadd9. We've got this and this. These are just great chords. You see that nice open sound.
Now we will move on to the D chords. We have a regular D Major. This is one of the first ones that people learn as far as adding sus's to it. So we have got the Dsus4, all we have to do is take the fourth finger and add it to the third fret of the first string. So it gives me that Dsus4, that really feels like it, needs to resolve back. Then for a Dsus2, I am going to take this same third note and just remove it and let the open first string ring and that's the second degree of that chord.
So that gives me that Dsus2 that I can just sort of leave ringing open and you hear this in so many songs. People will also hammer-on and pull-off. So you hear that in countless different kinds of music. So that's a great one to know. The next one revolves around our E Major chord. So we have looked at this fingering previously. To do an Esus4, it has got a couple of different fingerings that you can use.
If you are playing your E Major like this, you can just add the fourth finger here on the second fret of the third string, or if you like you can do with your first three fingers; or if you are feeling really adventurous, you could always, if you have got smaller fingers just bar one finger across those. Either of those three would work just fine depending on the size and the shape of your fingers.
So that gives you that sus4 sound and if we did a E Major the regular way adding the fourth finger, we can resolve it back to E Major. For Esus2, we are actually going to do a little bit of a different fingering, we can't just remove our fingers, we can with some of these other chords. For this one use
Open Chord Suspensions
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