Sus4 chords are formed with the second note in the chord raised one step. In addition to sus4, there is sus2. In the case nothing more than "sus" is mention, like for example Dsus, it is normally sus4 that is intended. See also common sus chords.
The sus4 chord is very close to the original major chord because only one note is changing. A comparison of C major and Csus4:
C major Csus4
There are two differences: 1) on the fourth string the tone is raised one semi-step from E to F, 2) you don't play the highest open string since this is an E note. When shifting from C to Csus4 you only need to add the little finger (4) and you don't move the rest of the fingers.
Chord constructionCsus4 x - C - F - G - C - x
Dsus4 x - x - D - A - D - G
Esus4 E - B - E - A - B - E
Fsus4 x - x - F - Bb - C - F
Gsus4 G - x - D - G - C - G
Asus4 x - A - E - A - D - E
Bsus4 x - B - F# - B - E - F#
Guitar versions of the chord
Notes in chordCsus4 C - F - G
Dsus4 D - G - A
Esus4 E - A - B
Fsus4 F - Bb - C
Gsus4 G - C - D
Asus4 A - D - E
Bsus4 B - E - F#
The intervals are 1 – 4 – 5
A common practice is to alter the major with a sus chord, like D - Dsus4 - D.
In the Tom Petty tune "Free Fallin'" a certain chord progression is used in a big part of the song:
D - Dsus4 - D - Asus4
Another progression with sus4 chords is this one:
E - Esus4 - E - D - Dsus4 - D - A - Asus4 - A
It is rather common to use the sus4 in the end of the verse to anticipate the chorus, a so-called imperfect cadence. One example of this can be found in the verse of "I Will Survive":
Am - Dm - G - Cmaj7 - Fmaj7 - Bm7b5 - Esus4 - E
This progression uses the suspended chord for the transition:
E - Esus4 - F#m11 (202200)
Alternative chord shapes
There are some other alternative and rather common ways to plays some of the suspended chords which are presented here:
Note, that Dsus4/G is identical with Gsus2.
Sus chords with sharp or flat root
F#sus4 / Gbsus4
G#sus4 / Absus4
A#sus4 / Bbsus4
F#, G# and A# sus4 uses the same shape as Fsus4 (see above). The same shape can, of course, be used for C# and D# sus4 also.
Other flat and sharp suspended chords shapes
Not so common are sus chords with root notes consisting of flat or sharp notes, partly because the shapes often are inconvenient. Here are nevertheless some additional examples:
C#sus4 / Dbsus4: 444XXX
D#sus4 / Ebsus4: X11344
The connection between sus4 and add4
The sus4 and add4 chord types are similar, but the difference is that sus chords include three notes whereas add4 chords include four notes:
Csus4 (C-F-G) - Cadd4 (C-E-G-F)
Dsus4 (D-G-A) - Dadd4 (D-F#-A-G)
Esus4 (E-A-B) - Eadd4 (E-G#-B-A)
Fsus4 (F-Bb-C) - Fadd4 (F-A-C-Bb)
Gsus4 (G-C-D) - Gadd4 (G-B-D-C)
Asus4 (A-D-E) - Aadd4 (A-C#-E-D)
Bsus4 (B-E-F#) - Badd4 (B-D#-F#-E)
A moveable shape is 113211 (Fadd4).
See also, 7sus4.
Back to sus chords