14 Ways to Escape the First Four Frets
Escape #6: The Sus2 Chord
The Sus2 chord is a major triad’s cooler cousin and a power chord’s more sonically interesting step-sister.
A Major Triad is a:
The Third is a “major 3rd,” which makes it a major triad.
A Power Chord is the neutered version of that:
(Designated by a 5, as in C5)
The there is no 3rd to distinguish it as major or minor.
The sus2 chord replaces the 3rd with a 2nd:
The sus2 is similar to the power chord in that it doesn’t have a third to distinguish it as major or minor. This is cool, because we can use it to substitute for a major or a minor.
But unlike the power chord, the sus2 has a little more personality to it because of that 2nd.
The most common sus2 on the face of the earth is the Dsus2. (I called the Office for Earth’s Face Facts. They confirmed it.) It’s your common open position D with the 1st string open.
Here’s the beauty: it’s movable. A simple four string barre and four fret stretch at the 5th fret and we’ve recreated the Dsus2 – only this time it’s a Gsus2.
The root of this shape is both on the 4th string and the 2nd string. Knowing your fretboard really helps for chords like this.
Check out the video at the end to see this shape in action.
Another common sus2 shape is the Asus2. We looked at that movable version of this in the segment on 5th-string root barre chords. Here it is again. At the 5th fret, this shape is a Dsus2.
Both on the electric and the acoustic, this shape shines. One way I use this shape is to create movement while only one chord is being played. For instance, if the song held an E for more than one measure, I might play the open E shape and then slide up to the 7th fret to play this sus4 shape. Read more and watch video…