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Suspended Chords – No Third

Suspended chords are used quite a bit in a lot of different styles of music. What they suspend is the 3rd of the chord.

These chords don’t have a 3rd in them but usually resolve back to the 3rd.

They normally don’t last long before they resolve back to the original chord.

You will recognize this sound in lots of songs once you hear it.

John Lennons’ song Woman uses this in the beginning.

Two Suspended Chord Types

There are two types of these chords. A suspended 2nd and a suspended 4th which is used more often.

Each of these notes is next to the 3rd, one below and one above. The 3rd is the note being suspended or hanging.

You can hear the tension it creates and you can feel it release when the chord is changed back.

There are no major or minor because the 3rd is the note that determines if a chord is a major or minor chord.

If you don’t know how chords are built you should check out the pages below and other basic and beginner pages.

Guitar Chord Theory
Scale Intervals

Suspended 4th Chords

Here is a table showing you the chord numbers.

Chords are built using every other note in a scale

A normal C chord would be made with 1-3-5 or C-E-G in this case from the above scale.

A suspended 4th chord would be made 1-4-5 or C-F-G using the above scale.

You can hear how it wants to return the 1st chord

Here are a couple chord diagrams.

You can hear how it wants to return the 1st chord

It sounds suspended doesn’t it?

Listen and you will hear this in a lot of songs you know

It’s almost like going to the 4 chord but different

Try playing the C to an F and then a C to a C suspended 4th, it’s close but different

Music is full of these little subtle changes that you will learn to recognize the more you play

C major to C suspended 4th

Suspended 2nd Chords

These chords sound a little different because they are resolving up instead of down to the 3rd in a chord.

Here are some chords based on the C scale above.

Here is how this sounds

C major to C suspended 2nd

These chords can have two names but they usually go by the root note of the chord.

The C sus4 chord notes are C-F-G.

The F sus2 chord notes are F-G-C.

They contain the same notes but will usually be called by the lowest or root tone of the chord.

They can get confusing but if you think of them like below they won’t be for most people.

A sus4 chord is equal to a 2nd suspended chord a 4th up.

A sus2nd chord is equal to a 4th suspended chord a 5th down.

Check out the link below if you are confused by the 4th and 5th.

Music Intervals

Both Suspended Chords

Sometimes you will hear both chords used in a song along with a major chord.

Here is a D scale because it’s easier to play so you can get the sound down.

Here are the chords.

The 3rd chord is the same as the 1st. I put this there because that’s how this little progression is played most of the time.

If you listen to it you will here when to change and what chord to change to.

I’ll play it a couple different ways. Some songs should come to mind.

D to D suspended 2nd to D suspended 4th riff

John Lennon’s Happy Christmas and also the beginning of his song Woman are two songs using these suspended chords.

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Lead Guitar Scales