Dansm's Guitar Chord Theory
Suspended Chords
Ever since I starting playing guitar I always wondered what the heck "sus4" meant. Well, I finally figured it out, and I am now going to tell you what they are. The "sus" in a sus2 or sus4 means suspended, a theory term for notes not fitting into the root-third-fifth chord structure. You will need to know a bit of background information on keys and scales, which can be found here. Once you are familiar with that, continue on to the lesson!
In major or minor chords, there are three different notes: the root, third, and fifth. Therefore, a D chord has D, F#, and A. In a sus4 chord, the third is replaced by the fourth, so the chord contains a root, fourth, and fifth. This pattern gives a sus4 chord the following structure: 1-4-5. The fourth of D is G, so the Dsus4 contains D, G, and A Therefore, the fingering for a Dsus4 chord looks like this:




As another example, an Asus4 chord (formed x02230) is made up of A, D, and E, as shown here:




Once you understand this, the following fingerings of common sus4 chords becomes apparent:

Asus4
Bsus4
Dsus4
Esus4
F#sus4
Gsus4
dansm rules x02230
x24452
xx0233
022200
244422
3x0013



Once you understand the theory behind sus4 chords, sus2 chords are very similar. Instead of the root, fourth, and fifth in a sus4 chord, a sus2 chord contains the root, second, and fifth. Sus2 chords have the pattern 1-2-5. Therefore, a Dsus2 will contain D, E, and A, giving a fingering which looks like this:




As another example, an Asus2 chord (formed x02200) is made up of A, B, and E, as shown here:




Once you understand this, the following fingerings of common sus2 chords becomes apparent:

Asus2
Bsus2
Dsus2
dansm rules x02200
x24422
xx0230

That's about it with suspended chords. They are really easy to understand once you understand a little bit of theory. Also, I haven't notated many barre chords above because I assume that once you know a Bsus2 or Bsus4 you can figure out how to make a Csus4. Have fun with these, and be happy that the next time you see sus4 you will understand!
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1997 Daniel E. Smith.