What is a sus chord on guitar?

A sus chord on guitar is a type of suspended chord. It consists of a root note, which is the same as the tonic note, and two additional notes: the perfect fourth and the major second above it. The resulting sound has a suspended, or unresolved quality that can add flavor to any song. The sus chord usually replaces either a major or minor triad in a progression, giving it an entirely different feeling while still staying within the key.

Definition of a Sus Chord on Guitar

A suspended chord, or “sus” chord as it is commonly referred to, is a popular guitar voicing that adds a unique flavor to many songs. It is created by replacing the third note of a major triad with either the fourth or second interval above the root note. This results in a chord that has an open and unresolved sound which can be used for tension in music composition.

The most common type of sus chord on guitar is known as the ‘sus4’ (suspended fourth), which replaces the third note with its corresponding fourth scale degree – one whole step higher than normal. This gives the sus4 an almost jazzy sounding quality, as it includes an added dissonance over what would otherwise be just another standard major triad. The end result is often described as “dreamy”, “airy” or “floaty” due to its softer texture when compared to more traditional chords like majors and minors.

The other type of sus chord on guitar is called ‘sus2’ (suspended second). Instead of using a fourth interval above the root, this version replaces the third note with its corresponding second scale degree – one half-step lower than usual. This creates a much darker sounding harmonic coloration when compared to sus4 chords and can also add some tonal complexity due to its diminished fifth interval between two notes in particular. Sus2 chords are often employed in pop songs to add extra musical interest during transitions between sections and verses.

How to Play a Sus Chord on Guitar

Playing a sus chord on guitar is a fairly simple task that can be accomplished with a few basic steps. Start by selecting the strings you wish to use for your chord, as this will determine the type of sus chord you create. Choose any combination of four or more strings from the six-string guitar neck – typically two notes from each string are used in most chords, but three or even all six may be utilized if desired. Once chosen, strum those strings and gently lift them off the fretboard while still pressing down enough to produce sound; this process should help create an open and resonant tone that lies somewhere between major and minor chords.

Next, press down on one or two fret positions higher than where your fingers were previously located – it’s important to keep some pressure applied so as not to lose resonance – and strum again. If done correctly, you should hear a slight variation in sound compared to what was produced before lifting off the strings. Depending on whether sharpened or flattened notes have been selected within the original chord structure (i.e. an E7sus4 instead of just an Esus4), further tweaking may be necessary until desired results are obtained.

Practice transitioning between different combinations of fingering positions – beginning with upstrokes towards frets 1 & 3 (or higher) then transitioning into more traditional barred/barre chords around frets 2 & 4 (or lower). With enough repetition and skillful maneuvering across multiple fingerings, soon enough you’ll be able to effortlessly play many variations of sus chords with ease.

Common Types of Sus Chords and Their Variations

Sus chords are an important component of guitar playing. They involve replacing a major or minor chord with a suspended chord, which alters the sound and offers a distinctive tone that can be used to create a different mood in music. There are four main types of sus chords: sus2, sus4, 6/9, and add9. Each type has its own unique sound, but they all have similar qualities and variations.

Sus2 chords replace the third note of a major or minor chord with either the second (sus2) or fourth (sus4) degree from the root note of the scale instead. This creates an open-sounding quality as opposed to the more closed feel of traditional major and minor chords. Sus2 chords often provide tonal variety between progressions where certain notes may be excluded for effect. These types of chords are popular in country music, blues rock, funk, pop rock, and alternative rock genres.

The 6/9 is another common variation that adds additional tones to make up for those that may have been excluded in other variations like sus2 or sus4 by adding both sixth and ninth intervals above the root note to form three distinct triads within one chord structure (6/3 – 9th-3rd – 5th). This gives it an even fuller sound than regular sus variants due to its harmonized thirds as well as its extended range beyond just two notes normally found in traditional suspended chords. The add9 also adds two additional tones above the root note but utilizes both fourth and fifth intervals resulting in six tones altogether making it richer sounding than most other sus variations while maintaining a light texture thanks to its lack of sevenths – this makes them perfect for lighter musical styles such as folk music or acoustic pieces that don’t require too much sonic density overall.

Finally there is also hybrid versions such as 7sus4 which combine seventh intervals with either 2nd (7sus2) or 4th(7sus4) degrees from the root making them even more full bodied yet still preserving some suspended aspects giving them their unique flavor when compared with fully resolved sevenths associated with jazz and bossa nova styles respectively. Ultimately these various flavors all offer something special depending on what type of vibe you’re going for.

Sus chords are a great way to add interesting variations and harmonic depth in popular music. They can provide an unexpected yet pleasing moment, especially when used correctly. In rock, for instance, sus chords are often used to drive home a point of tension by hanging on a certain chord for longer than expected. An example of this is the iconic opening riff from Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’, which uses suspended fourths throughout the entirety of the intro before finally resolving into the main verse chords.

In jazz, sus chords are particularly effective as they allow artists to create an atmosphere or ‘colouring’ over their improvisations that adds a bit of spice and character. This type of sound is often achieved with substitutions of minor and major seventh chords with their corresponding sus fours and sus two forms respectively. For instance, if one were soloing over a static Bb7 progression then they could use Bbsus4 or Bbsus2 instead to create interest while still maintaining key tonality throughout their improvisation.

In pop music there has been resurgence in usage of suspension-based progressions over the last couple decades – likely due in part to its frequent appearance in hip hop production techniques like chopped up samples from classic records that feature extended sections where dominant ninths have been replaced with various types of suspensions (i.e. fourths and seconds). Artists such as Taylor Swift have incorporated these kinds sounds into her ballads through added touches like reharmonizing common chord progressions with these suspended sonorities for additional flavour and texture beyond traditional triadic harmonies.

Tips for Incorporating Sus Chords into Your Playing Style

Many guitarists strive to inject some variety into their playing, and incorporating sus chords is a great way to do this. A sus chord is an altered form of a major or minor triad that features the 4th note of the scale in place of the 3rd. This gives it a unique quality that sounds more open and ringing than its unaltered counterparts.

One easy way to incorporate these chords into your playing is by using them as substitutes for other chords within the same key. For instance, if you were playing a song in the key of D major, you could substitute Dsus4 for Dmajor, Gsus4 for Gmajor and Asus4 for Amajor throughout your arrangement. This technique will add subtle texture to your chord progressions while still sounding natural within context.

You can also use sus chords as cadences at the end of phrases or sections when transitioning back to tonic or home key. Using different types of cadences such as V-I (Gsus4-D) can help break up monotony while still keeping things musically cohesive. By making small changes such as these during solos or accompaniment parts, you’ll be able to create musical moments that are interesting yet familiar at the same time – drawing attention without overwhelming listeners with sudden harmonic shifts.






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