7 ways to play a B sus 2 chord on guitar


After mastering your basic chords on guitar, you’ll also want to learn sus 2 chords which often come up in many popular songs. These chords have a cool, airy, open sound that will freshen up progressions. In this lesson, we’ll specifically be covering how to play the B sus 2 chord, which is short for “Suspended 2”.

By knowing different chord variations, you’ll be able to use them in different musical contexts. We’ll first go over some basic chord theory and then show you 7 ways to play a B sus 2 chord on guitar. Let’s get started!
 

B sus 2 chord theory

“Suspended 2” means that the 2nd degree replaces the 3rd of the chord. For example, a Major triad chord has the chord tones 1, 3, and 5, but a sus 2 chord has chord tones 1, 2, and 5.

This means that a B sus 2 chord has the chord tones B, C#, and F#.

Here is the formula for sus 2 chords below.

B sus 2 chord formula


To compare, here are the notes for other chords with F as the root.

If needed, check out this other post to understand the difference between sus 2 chords and add 2 chords.

Now that you know what notes belong to the chord structure, let’s look at how to read the chord charts.

How to read the chord charts

For the charts below:

  • The top horizontal line of the chord chart represents the high E string and the bottom horizontal line represents the low E string.
  • The vertical lines separate each fret. 
  • The numbers in the blue dots tell you which fingers to use on the fretting hand. 
  • The letters on the right of the charts tell you what notes you are playing on each string.
  • Circles on the left represent open strings.
  • Red X means to avoid that string.

You can check this link for more on how to read guitar notation symbols.

B sus 2 chord – barre starting on 5th string

This first B sus 2 chord uses a barre, starting on the 5th string. This shape comes from shifting the open A sus 2 chord but you barre the 2nd fret and add the notes on 4th fret (3rd and 4th strings). This shape looks like a power chord, except you are also barring with your first finger.

If you can’t get the chord to sound clear, first try to get the notes from the 5th to the 2nd fret. As you develop more strength in your fingers, try adding the 1st string as well.

B sus 2 chord barre 5th string

If needed, you can check out these 5 tips to get better at playing barre chords

B sus 2 chord – 2nd inversion starting on 5th string

This next chord is in 2nd inversion, which means that the 5th of the chord (F# in this case) is the bass note. This chord shape can be more difficult because it requires a wider stretch between your 1st and 4th finger.

B sus 2 chord – 2nd inversion starting on 5th string


This shape originally comes from the open F sus 2 chord in 2nd inversion, starting on the 5th string.

B sus 2 chord – barre starting on 4th string

For this variation, we use a mini barre starting on the 4th string, 9th fret. This chord originally comes from the open D sus 2 chord shape but we barre with our first finger to shift the chord.

B sus 2 chord – barre starting on 4th string


Easily look up guitar chords with the Essential Guitar Chords Chart!

This chart covers how to play:

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  • Diminished chords
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B sus 2 chord on the 6th string

The following chord shape can also be trickier to play because of the wide stretch between your fingers. This variation would be more suitable for a rock style because of the way the notes are arranged in the lower strings.

B sus 2 chord on the 6th string

You can also use this same shape starting on the 5th string, 2nd fret while avoiding the strings that are not fretted.

B sus 2 chord starting on 6th string – variation

Another way to play this starting on the 6th string:

B sus 2 chord starting on 6th string – variation


B sus 2 chord starting on 6th string – variation 2

Here is the another variation which comes from the open G sus chord. This is building on the previous chord shape.

B sus 2 chord starting on 6th string – variation 2


B sus 2 chord starting on 5th string variation

If your guitar is suitable to play past the 12th fret, here is one last chord on the 5th string. This next chord originally comes from the open C sus 2 chord shape but we use the 1st finger to barre and shift the chord. 

B sus 2 chord starting on 5th string variation


Wrapping up

Sus 2 chords sound great as replacements or embellishment for Major chords to create an open sound. Try replacing these chords to add a little twist to chord progressions you already know. Experiment to get a feel for how these chords work best.

It’s good to know different variations of playing sus 2 chords because you have more flexibility to move around the fretboard and also when you need a specific note in the top to help define a melody that you are playing over.

I hope this helped you understand how to play the B sus 2 guitar chord or learn new ways of playing it. You can also try shifting the shapes that have all fretted notes to play other sus 2 chords on the same string.

Get the free guitar practice guide here!

All the best,

JG Music Lessons

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