Use Sus4 Chords in Your Acoustic Rock Compositions
The major and minor chords you already know are made up of three notesâ€”the root (or first note in the corresponding scale), third, and fifth. The third of a chord is what gives major and minor chords their character. The major third in a major chord gives it that distinctive â€śhappyâ€ť sound, while the minor third in a minor chord gives it a distinctive â€śsadâ€ť sound. A sus4 (or â€śsuspended fourthâ€ť) chord substitutes the fourth note of the chordâ€™s corresponding scale for that all-important third. The lack of the thirdâ€™s distinctive sound means that sus4 chords can be played with or substituted for either major or minor chords. Sus4 chords are the most common sus chords, heard in countless classic songs like Tom Pettyâ€™s â€śFree Fallinâ€™,â€ť the Beatlesâ€™ â€śA Hard Dayâ€™s Night,â€ť and many others.
Letâ€™s see what these chords sound like by comparing an E and an Esus4 chord. To play the Esus4, start with an E chord and lay your pinky down on the second fret of the third string, one fret above where your index finger is when playing the E chord. The â€śsus4â€ť part of this chord is the note youâ€™re playing with your pinky, and itâ€™s replacing the note your index finger plays in an E chordâ€”the third. Shifting between these two chords already gives you a great-sounding effect (Example 1). This chord change is similar to the one used in the opening of the Eaglesâ€™ â€śPeaceful Easy Feeling.â€ť
Excerpted from Acoustic Rock Basics