Suspended Chords And Their Use... (Guitar Lesson CH-003) How to play

Uploaded by JustinSandercoe on 02.02.2007

Now I can teach you about suspended chords.
So, what is a suspended chord, first of all?
They're not chords that just like hanging around a lot.
So, first of all you need to know what a "triad" is.
Now, and triads are not Asian dudes with machine guns.
In a musical sense.
So, what we are talking about here
is a triad that is a three note chord.
Tri, prefix for three,
so it's a three note chord.
Three notes chords consist of a root note,
a third and a fifth,
wich is really the first note,
the third note and the fifth note of a Major scale.
Now, it's the third note of the triad
that determines whether the chord is major or minor.
So, if we were to have a look at, say, an A chord,
then notes in A would be A, B, C would be the third, D, E.
Now, actually, because of the key signature, the note C would be a C#,
to make an A major chord.
If you just go now and play an A chord, an A Major chord
. . .
and then you straight away afterward play an A minor chord
you'd notice that only one note is different.
And that's the C# on the B string,
second fret moves to C natural note
(plays) in the first fret.
So, it is in fact only one note every time
that changes between a major and a minor chord.
Sometimes that note is doubled in your chord voicing,
just to warn you, it’s just not like one note on the guitar;
harmonically it's one note that changes.
Now, suspended chords
take away the third of the chord
and replace it with another note.
So therefore, suspended chords are neither major or minor,
and they have a very airy sound.
So, if I just give you some demonstrations here:
A Major:
. . .
Old happy sounding A Major.
Now, if I move that...
the third of the chord, which is the note C#,
if I move that up one semitone,
to D
we now have an Asus4 sound.
. . .
Here it's kinda hovering,
it is kind of hanging about a bit, that one.
. . .
Then we go back to A,
. . .
Now, if I lift off my little finger now:
. . .
which is kind of going down... that note down two frets,
because if I go down just one it gets to the minor chord,
we get an Asus2 chord.
So, we've got now A:
. . .
. . .
. . .
and Asus2:
. . .
Quite a simple movement.
Now, I'm not doing close-ups here at the chords,
because it's quite a few chords and a few songs
that I'm going to go through in this lesson,
so, please go and check out the chords at:
you click on "chords" which is on the left hand side,
or "chords and scales" I think it says actually,
and then in the top group there are suspended chords.
It shouldn't be very difficult for you to find them,
and it explains all the different fingering choices as well,
so please go and check that out.
So, that was A chord. You can hear we had A:
. . .
Very common sound.
That is the A chord. Now if we move it onto D,
. . .
play a regular D chord,
then we add our little finger down,
. . .
that's Dsus4.
. . .
Back to regular D, lift off our second finger,
. . .
we get Dsus2
. . .
and then back to D.
Now, just using those two types of chord shapes,
I can show you a couple of the different ways it was used.
The first way you use suspended chords
is as an ornament,
it's to kind of decorate when you play.
So, if you got a D chord for ages and ages
and you just want to do something a little bit different to it,
then it just... you know
. . .
If you start to get a bit bored, you could:
. . .
You can just kind of add them in whenever you like,
and they work on major and minor chords.
I'll show you some tricks on that in a sec.
Some famous examples I can think off the top of my head was...
and old song from the 80's or early 90's...
"Dead or Alive", by Bon Jovi,
it's got a really nice example right at the beginning,
where it goes:
. . .
It's a little decoration on the D chord there.
Another good example is "Summer of 69" by Bryan Adams.
It's actually a keyboard part,
but that whole song is doing a...
Yeah, it starts on Dsus2, D,
sus4, D
sus2, D,
and then it goes to Asus2, (plays)
A regular, Asus4, A.
. . .
So you can see then,
in that instance it's kind of using the suspended chord
as a riff, not just as an ornament.
So, so far we've talked about D Major
and then going to the sus,
and A major going to the sus,
and like I said, it also works for minor chords.
So if we start with a D minor chord:
. . .
add the little finger (plays), we get Dsus4 again.
Back to D minor:
And then lift off your first finger (plays)
and you get Dsus2.
So the sus4 and the sus2 are the same,
just we've put a minor in the middle
instead of a major.
So a good example of using that one
for both a Dm and Am is...
"Loosing my Religion", by R.E.M.,
where it's got this little:
. . .
You can hear very clearly that
he's used the suspended chords
to kind of make a riff.
Also the Rolling Stones on "Paint it Black"
kind of uses it on the D minor at the beginning:
. . .
It changes a bit to that last part.
. . .
Very last bit's a bit different,
but the first part of it is the sus chords.
So, that's taken care of Dsus4 and Dsus2,
Asus4 and Asus2.
If we go on to E now,
We have a regular E chord,
if we put down our little finger
underneath the third finger,
we get Esus4. (plays)
And back to E.
Now, we can't get...
There's no such chord as an Esus2 chord in an open position.
I mean, there kind of is just later on,
but for you right now, there's not.
Because if we lift off the first finger,
we get to E minor, not Esus2.
You can play it like this, (plays)
like a big barre chord later on,
but that's not the one for you right now.
Again, there's quite a few tunes that use the Esus chord.
Another good example of that one is...
"It's Only Natural" by Crowded House,
which is E, Esus4
. . .
Then Asus4 to A
Asus4 to A and back to E.
. . .
Then it goes into barre chords for the rest of the tune.
But the verses...
You can hear it's kind of using it like a riff,
but it's not really a riff, it's just a decoration.
the only other ones that I think
that are kind of useful for you to learn
as a starting one is maybe a Csus.
Now, C is a bit weird,
because remember I told you that sometimes
you have to change the third of a chord to make a suspended chord.
Well, in the case of a C open chord,
we've got the note E,
which is the third of the chord.
It occurs twice.
So, what I'm just gonna show you
is a nice kind of decoration,
but it's not really a true C suspended chord,
because you might hit the first string.
There's more of that on the web site.
But just if you start with C:
put down your little finger
in front of your second finger,
underneath your third
. . .
You get Csus4, (plays),
back to C,
lift off your second finger, (plays)
and you get a Csus2. Back to C,
which is just a really nice change.
. . .
You can hear It's just got a kind of comfortable,
easy feeling for some rhythm guitar.
So, OK.
That will do for now.
If you want to check out some more suspended chords,
I think every open suspended chord I can think of
is on the web site,
so go and have check that out.
And then try and apply them to any songs that you've got...
where you've got a chord for a long time.
See if you can incorporate some of those suspended chords in,
to make your rhythm guitar playing a little more interesting.
Have fun, see you soon.