Theory Lesson: Suspended Fourth Chords Explained

The sus4 chord is one of those chords which pops up regularly in all kind of songs. “Pinball Wizard” of the Who is a well-known example which uses sus4 chords in many parts of the song.
Most people who play guitar have used this chord many times, probably without realising what kind of chord it is.

Thinking of chords, a major chord contains a Rootnote, a Third and a Fifth.  Take the chord of C and you get C as Root, E as Third and G as Fifth.
A sus4 chord replaces the Third for a Fourth. The nature of the chord is it wants to release to a major (or a minor) chord.

Going back to the example of C and we get: C as Root, F as Fourth and the G as Fifth.

Here a few chordshapes of Sus4 chords you may like and their resolution to the major chord:

   About the Chordshapes:
On the far left names of strings, for first example only used three strings because chord is only played over three strings.
For each chord I have also given the names of the notes.

          Csus4                             C

     E  ——-1–        F        ——-0——-    E         The sus4 is the F in the C chord, it falls down to E
                                                                                to give you back the standard C chord
     B ——–1-         C        ——-1——-   C

     G ——–0-         G       ——-0——–  G

           Dsus4                           D                                     The G forms the Sus4, it falls down to F# to give
                                                                                        you the standard D chord. You may like this D chord shape,
    E  —5—-            A       —–5———–    A                   which uses the A note at the high E string. Mute the B and G
                                                                                        string to get a nice, clean and ringy sound out of the chord.
    B  ——–                   ——————

    G  ——–                   ——————

    D —-5—-            G      —–4————   F#

    A  —5—-             D      —–5————  D

    E  ——–                   ——————–

            Asus4                          A                                Sus4 is formed by the D it falls down to C# to give you
                                                                                    the chord of A.
    E  —-0—        E         ——-0————  E

    B  —-5—        E        ——-5————   E

    G  —-7—        D       ——-6————   C#

    D —-7–           A        ——-7———–   A

    A  —0–            A       ——–0———-    A

    E   ——-                  ——————–

Next time you listen to some music see if you can spot the sus4 chords.
Experiment with your new chord shapes and hope to see you soon again,