Open Chords and Suspended Chords | Hub Guitar

Open Chords and Suspended Chords

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Suspended chords are often used to make a chord progression sound a little more interesting. Here's an example of a sus chord going to a major chord.

The best way to learn how suspended chords work is to start with a major chord, such as C major, and then compare it to other C chords such as C minor, C sus 2, and C sus 4. This way, you can learn how the chords are built and then turn any major chord into a sus4 chord.

Starting with a C major chord, we've got a 1, 3, 5. You can tell that the E is a third because it's the note 3 letters above C. C is one, D will be the second letter, so E must be the third of the chord.

Now we can make that C major in to a minor chord by flattening the third by one half-step. This is a bit difficult to play, so don't worry if you have a bit of trouble. Some of these chords are more for learning than for performing with. Notice that we don't play the top "E" anymore as that is also a major third and it would mess things up to have both the major chord's third and the minor chord's third. Does not sound very good no matter who plays it.

Now, back to the C major for comparison.

To make a sus2 chord, we'll replace the third with a second. So we can lift up here on the second finger coming off the E note. and then let's open that D note ring out. and again, back to the C major chord to compare, always want to compare to something.

Finally, to make a sus4 chord, we can replace the third with the perfect fourth a half-step above. This is F, C, F, G, C. very common for that sus4 chord. to resolve to major.

the goal here is to practice all of these chords in major, minor, sus2 and sus4 form--C, D, E, F, G, and A. Once you know all of those you'll be able to do alot more with basic open chords.

The suspended chord is a type of chord where a specific note in the chord is replaced by another. This gives the chord a mysterious or unclear sound.

This chord is used often in popular music, and it very often resolveWhen a note moves to another note a step away, especially when the destination is one that the listener was expecting to hear.s to the major chord of the same type. For instance, Csus4 would often resolve to C.

For the chords below, practice them by root: practice all of the C chords together, then all of the D chords, and so on. Notice the differences between the different chords of the same letter name. This will help you to remember them.

The “x” above a string indicates not to play that string. But if there’s a little mini-note on the top of the diagram, that means you should let the string ring open, which is when you play a string without fretting any notes on it.


C<sup>maj</sup> chord diagram

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C<sup>min</sup> chord diagram

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C<sup>sus2</sup> chord diagram

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C<sup>sus4</sup> chord diagram

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A note for the frustrated learner

Some of these, such as C-, are difficult even for advanced players and are presented mostly for comparison.

Key Tasks

  1. Memorize all of the chords.
  2. Practice the chords until you can play them cleanly. Each note should sound clear.
  3. Compare the chords of the same letter-name to each other. How are they alike?
  4. Compare the notes of the same type to each other. How are A7 and G7 alike?
As the creator of Hub Guitar, Grey has compiled hundreds of guitar lessons, written several books, and filmed hundreds of video lessons. He teaches private lessons in his Boston studio, as well as via video chat through TakeLessons.

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