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 last lesson we went over chords with suspended fourths. This time we’ll work on sus2 and 7sus2 chords.

The Work

You should already know that a major triad is comprised of the three notes: the root, the third, and the fifth. In a sus2 chord, you simply replace the third with the second.  Example 1 gives the notes in a C major triad (C E G), while Example 2 shows a Csus2 chord (C D G).


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Example 3a shows how to go from a C triad to Csus2 using open chords. Notice how much of a difference that one note makes. Example 3b depicts how to make a Csus2 chord from a C using barre chords. You could also transition between these two chords by simply removing your fourth finger.

If you remember, a dominant seventh chord is built from a major triad with the flatted seventh. To make a 7sus2 chord, once again, just swap out the third for the second. Example 4 gives us the notes in a C7 chord (C E G Bb) and Example 5 shows a C7sus2 (C D G Bb). Try deriving C7sus2 from C using open chords (Example 6a) before moving on to barre chords (Example 6b). In Ex. 6b, just remove your fourth finger to get to the C7sus2.

Next, repeat the same process for G and D triads and seventh chords (Examples 7a–10b). Note that in the G sus chords, the note A (second) replaces B (third), and in the D sus chords, E (second) replaces F# (third).

The Result

You should now know how to play various sus2and 7sus2 chords. A great song that features a Dsus2 chord is Jethro Tull’s  “Wond’ring Aloud.” Next time, I’ll teach you your most complex chord yet, the major ninth.

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