Chords Guide

Mastering Sus Chords: A Guitarist’s Guide to Adding Depth to Your Music

Mastering Sus Chords: A Guitarist’s Guide to Adding Depth to Your Music

As a guitarist, exploring and mastering different chord voicings is essential to creating depth and interest in your music. One type of chord that can add a unique flavor to your playing is the suspended (sus) chord. In this article, we will explore what sus chords are, how they can be used, and how you can master incorporating them into your playing.

What are Sus Chords?

Sus chords are a type of chord that replace the third of a major or minor chord with either the second or fourth degree of the scale. The term “sus” stands for “suspended,” as the third of the chord is temporarily “suspended” and replaced with another note. The two most common sus chords are sus2 and sus4 chords.

Sus2 chords replace the third of the chord with the second degree of the scale, creating a chord that has a dreamy and open sound. Sus4 chords, on the other hand, replace the third of the chord with the fourth degree of the scale, resulting in a chord that has a slightly tense and unresolved quality.

How to Use Sus Chords

Sus chords can be used in a variety of ways to add color and tension to your music. One common use of sus chords is as a substitution for major or minor chords in a progression. For example, instead of playing a standard D major chord in a progression, you could replace it with a D sus4 chord to create a different tonal color.

Another way to use sus chords is to create movement and resolution in your playing. By incorporating sus chords before resolving to a major or minor chord, you can create a sense of tension and release that adds depth to your music. Experiment with using sus chords in different positions and contexts to find the most effective ways to incorporate them into your playing.

Mastering Sus Chords

To master sus chords and incorporate them seamlessly into your playing, it is important to practice playing them in different positions and voicings across the neck of the guitar. Start by familiarizing yourself with the basic sus2 and sus4 chord shapes, and then experiment with incorporating them into your chord progressions and improvisations.

One effective way to practice sus chords is to play them in the context of a chord progression. Start by playing a standard major or minor chord progression, and then substitute one or more of the chords with sus chords. Pay attention to how the sus chords change the tonal color and mood of the progression, and use this information to guide your playing.

In addition to practicing sus chords in chord progressions, it is also important to practice playing sus chords in the context of scales and melodies. Experiment with incorporating sus chords into your improvisations, and explore different ways of resolving sus chords to create tension and release in your playing.


Mastering sus chords is a valuable skill that can add depth and interest to your music as a guitarist. By understanding what sus chords are, how to use them effectively, and how to practice incorporating them into your playing, you can enhance your musicality and create more dynamic and engaging compositions. Experiment with sus chords in different contexts and explore the unique sounds and textures they can bring to your music. With time and practice, you will be able to master sus chords and use them to elevate your playing to new levels of creativity and expression.

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