BY KATE KOENIG
Welcome to the latest installment of Chord by Chord, a series designed to build your understanding of harmony and the fretboard. In the previous lesson we went over A, E, and F sus4 and 7sus4 chords. This time I’ll show you these same chords, but with the second, rather than the fourth, suspended.
Remember that a major triad is built from three notes: the root, the third, and the fifth. In a sus2 chord, you simply replace the third with the second. Example 1 shows the notes in an A major triad (A C# E); to make it an Asus2 chord (A B E), simply replace the third (C#) with the second (B), as depicted in Example 2.
Example 3 shows how to turn an A chord into Asus2 using open voicings. Notice how much of a difference that one note makes—A sounds cheery, while Asus2 feels open and ambiguous. Moving on to dominant seventh chords, do the same thing; just exchange the third for the second. Example 4 gives us the notes in an A7 chord (A C# E G) and Example 5 shows A7sus2 (A B E G). To derive an A7sus2 chord from A using open shapes, all you need to do is remove one finger, as demonstrated in Example 6.
It’s generally impractical to play sus2 chords with root notes on string 6. However, you can do this with Esus2 due to the open E strings, as depicted in Example 7a. Sus2 chords are most often played with barred shapes, as shown with a root note of E in Examples 7a–8 and F in Examples 9–10. Remember that these are moveable—shift any Esus2 or E7sus2 chord up one fret to get Fsus2 or F7sus2.
You should now know a variety of ways to play A, E, and F sus2 and 7sus2 chords on the fretboard. One song that makes use of Dsus2 and Asus2 chords is “Behind Blue Eyes” by the Who. (Note that in the video I use a capo at the fourth fret, to suit my vocal range.) In the next lesson, we’ll revisit major ninth chords.