A Suspended Chord is one in which all 3rds are replaced with either 2nds or 4ths. Losing the 3rd can make a chord sound very vague or open, but the addition of the 2nd or 4th will certainly make up for that loss of character.
Despite losing a note from our Maj or Min triad these still qualify as chords because of the additional 2nd or 4th. Remember, a chord is a collection of any three different notes, usually these happen to be a triad, but not always.
Here are some common uses for Sus Chords:
It’s quite common to set-up chords in longer sequences. This is usually done by playing either the root note of the chord to come, or it’s 7th, within a preceding chord. Sus chords can allow us to do this.
If you’re spending a lot of time on one chord, you could vamp a little, or play a short melody using the 2nd, 3rd and 4th whilst still playing the rest of the chord.
Sus chords can also be a neat alternative to Extended Chords when you’re looking to create a chord sequence with common tones, or maybe just something a little different.
If a minor chord sounds too dark, or a major chord too bright, then try replacing them with a Sus Chord.
They sound cool.
Below are some of the easiest Sus chords to play in the open position, along with Barre Chord diagrams for roots on the E and A strings.
In these charts Sus2’s are coloured Orange, while Sus4’s are Yellow.