ACOUSTIC BEGINNERS

Welcome to our course on sus chords! During this first part of the course, we will introduce you to some of the open sus chord shapes and explain how you can use and apply them into your own songwriting and composition. To fully understand how to use sus chords, we will be learning two cool tunes over the two parts of the course that will test you new skills! Have fun and keep practising!

Summary: What are Sus chords?

Sus is a short for suspended and to understand sus chords, we need to understand a little bit of basic theory. To start with, we need to remember how major chords are built, so let's start by looking at the major scale:

D E F# G A B C# D

Here you have a major scale, in this case, a D major scale. To build a D major chord, you take the 1st, 3rd and 5th note and put them together. So, in the case of D major, you get a D, F# and A. Sus chords require you to suspend the 3rd and replace it with something; either the 2nd, in the case of a sus2, or the 4th, in the case of a sus4. Simple as that!

Summary: Dsus 2 & Dsus 4

Now we know all about the theory side of it, let’s start learning some sus chords. Here are your first two:

Exercise: Moving chords

We have a simple practice routine for you to try with these sus chords. All you need to do is rotate between the D major chord, then Dsus2, then D major then Dsus4 and then loop that pattern. In terms of strumming, we are hitting every beat, as shown in the strumming pattern below.

  • D /// Dsus2 /// D /// Dsus4 ///
  • Repeat this pattern as many times as you need!

Summary: Csus & G sus chords

Let’s learn 4 more chord shapes for the sus chords relating to G and C major. They look like this:

Exercise: Moving chords

We will practise these shapes in the same way we practised the last shape, by using the natural major chord between them. The chord chart and rhythm pattern are as shown below.

  • C /// Csus2 /// C /// Csus4 ///
  • G /// Gsus2 /// G /// Gsus4 ///
  • Repeat this pattern as many times as you need!

Tutorial: Sus chord song 1

The above video is a playthrough of the full song which makes use of the sus chords we have learnt so far. Spend some time watching the whole song through, then move onto the tutorial below.

Summary: The verse

We will look at the intro and verse part in this lesson, and to start with we need to learn the chord chart. The first part of the chord chart looks like this:

  • The Verse
  • D / Dsus4 / D /// C /// C / Csus4 / C /// G / Gsus4 / G /// G / Gsus4 / G ///
  • D / Dsus4 / D /// C /// C / Csus4 / C /// G / Gsus4 / G /// G / Gsus4 / G ///
  • D / Dsus4 / D /// C /// C / Csus4 / C /// G / Gsus4 / G /// G / Gsus4 / G ///
  • D / Dsus4 / D /// C /// C / Csus4 / C /// G / Gsus4 / G /// G / Gsus4 / G ///

The Strumming pattern

The strumming pattern is relatively simple, you just need to remember where you are changing to the sus chord within the arrows. Here is the two bar rhythm pattern:

Materials: Song Tab

Below, you will find a link to the full chord chart in tab format. You only need to worry about the verse parts at the moment. Focus on getting the movement between the major and the sus chord in the right place.

Summary: The chorus

We will now take a look at the chorus and then piece the entire song together. During the chorus, the chord chart moves to a simpler one chord per bar pattern with are far easier strumming pattern. To start with, here is the strumming pattern:

Here is the full chord chart for the song including every different section. Remember that the verse has a different strumming pattern to the chorus.

  • The Verse
  • D / Dsus4 / D /// C /// C / Csus4 / C /// G / Gsus4 / G /// G / Gsus4 / G ///
  • D / Dsus4 / D /// C /// C / Csus4 / C /// G / Gsus4 / G /// G / Gsus4 / G ///
  • D / Dsus4 / D /// C /// C / Csus4 / C /// G / Gsus4 / G /// G / Gsus4 / G ///
  • D / Dsus4 / D /// C /// C / Csus4 / C /// G / Gsus4 / G /// G / Gsus4 / G ///
  • The Chorus
  • Csus2 /// C /// Dsus2 /// D /// Csus2 /// C /// Dsus2 /// D /// Csus2 /// C /// Dsus2 /// D ///
  • G / Gsus4 / G /// G / Gsus4 / G ///
  • Repeat the Verse and Chorus 3 more times

Materials: The Tab

Below, you will find a link to the full chord chart in tab format. This will help you gradually piece the song together and also allows you to slow the song down as much as you like. As well as the video file on the tab, there are audio files that allow you to focus in on the guitar without the vocals and other guitar parts.

Audio: Sus chord song tracks

Just as with the tab above, you can also find the audio tracks here to play along to. These are all at full speed so make sure you have practised with the tab version before trying these. Good luck!

Ready to move on? Remember to check out every lesson in this unit first – then try the next unit...

Sus Chords Part 2

We will learn a new set of Sus chords and once agin explain how you can use and apply them into your own songwriting and composition. We also have an even trickier Sus chord song ready to be mastered, so get those acoustic guitars at the ready!