“Using our new voicings and adding suspended movement”

In the previous lesson we talked about the D hand fingering of the 2nd inversion. I also spent some time on it in the video above. Now lets talk a little about suspending these new voicings. The D suspended chord is a very tasty way to add movement and spice to normal, or even boring, guitar chord strumming.  When fretting an opened D chord, take your pinky and place it on the 3rd fret of the 1st string. That adds the G to the D chord. The G is the IV chord in the key of D and that is why its called a sus4. By putting your pinky down you get alot of flavor on the D chord.

The very same concept applies when using this D hand inversion. Put your pinky down in the same spot relative to whatever position on the fret board you may be on, just like your playing a D chord. So now we have added the 4 to our inversion (sus4). Suspensions can be a very powerful thing. they can shift atmospheres. Just ponder on the word suspension for a second, oh the suspense! These sounds spectacular and can really add some tension or movement that you may want to express.

Suspend with Caution and Taste

Be careful what you suspend! As with all music theory it all builds on top of what you may previously know. So just like in a normal major key you may only sus4 (add the 4th) on the 1st and 5th chords (I and V) the same applies with these inversions. So according to music theory and harmony we can only add the pinky (sus4) on our I or V chords. Take time and experiment on how each sounds in any given key. The Edge from U2 got alot of mileage out of this very simple, but powerful, technique.

Sus2 Chords

Just like the sus4 we may also use sus2 chords. You guessed it, a sus2 (suspended 2) chord is what happens when we add the 2 note to the chord. For a Dsus2 chord it would consist of D E A, the E(2) replaces the F#(3). In terms of an opened D chord, instead of putting the pinky down for a sus4, remove the 2nd finger and play the opened E string (first string) and we have an Dsus2. These can also be applied to inversion, but not as comfortable, and effortlessly, as the sus4. Sus2 chords are great and add their own unique tension and flavor. Play around with these also.


1 Comment

Elizabeth Conley · January 16, 2013 at 6:11 am

Notice there are three parts to this suspension. The Ist inversion Cmaj constitutes the preparation, where you are about to suspend the chord. The next chord is the suspension where it is in between two chords. The final chord is the resolution where the suspension is resolved.

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