After learning your open chords on the guitar, you’ll soon want to know how to play sus 4 chords, which often come up in many popular songs. In this post, we’ll be covering the G sus 4 chord, which is short for suspended 4.
The G sus 4 chord has an easy open chord shape but there are many different ways you can play this chord throughout the guitar fretboard. By knowing different sus 4 chord variations, you’ll be able to use them in different musical contexts.
We’ll first cover some basic chord theory and then show you 7 ways to play a G sus 4 chord which you can start to incorporate into your playing.
Let’s get started.
G sus 4 chord theory intro
A suspended 4 chord means that the 4th degree replaces the 3rd of the chord. For example, a Major triad chord has the chord tones 1, 3, and 5 but a sus 4 chord has chord tones 1, 4, and 5.
This means that an G sus 4 chord has the chord tones G, C, and D.
Here is the formula for sus 4 chords below.
To compare, here are the notes for other chords with G as the root.
- G Major chord has the chord tones G, B, and D.
- G minor chord has the chord tones G, Bb, and D.
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
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.
You can check this link for more on how to read guitar notation symbols.
Easy G sus 4 chord
An easy way to play a this chord is by pressing down on the 1st string, 3rd fret and the 2nd string, 1st fret. You can use your ring or pinky finger on the 1st string. Choose the fingering that is more comfortable for you.
Open G sus 4 chord
This open G sus 4 chord is ideal for fingerpicking because of the string skipping within the shape. However, you could mute the 5th string by letting your ring finger slightly touch the string. This way you can strum from the 6th string through the 2nd string.
G sus 4 mini barre chord
This next shape uses a mini barre chord on the 3rd fret. We’ll use this shape as the foundation for the next barre chord.
G sus 4 barre chord on the 6th string
Here is the G sus 4 as a barre chord starting on the 6th string. This shape comes originally comes from the open E sus 4 chord. Notice that the notes on the top 3 strings are the same as the previous shape but we now cover all the strings using our 1st finger like this:
Again, if the barre chord is too difficult to play, first try to get the notes from the 6th to the 3rd string. Then add the 2nd and 1st string as you develop more strength in your fingers. If needed, check out these 5 tips to get better at playing barre chords.
G sus 4 barre chord on the 5th string
The following barre chord comes from the open A sus 4 chord shape. The root note is played on the 5th string, 10th fret and we add a note on the 4th string, 7th fret. 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.
G sus 4 barre chord 5th string variation
Another way to play the G sus 4 chord using a barre is to remove the 2nd finger from the previous shape like this:
Play this chord variation and the previous shape to hear the slight difference and see which one you like better.
G sus 4 spread chord
Here is one more G sus 4 chord which is less common but a good addition to your tool belt. This shape comes from the open C sus 4 chord. The close distance between the notes in the 4th and 3rd string creates a cool cluster sound.
It’s good to know different variations of playing a sus 4 chord 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 broaden your understanding of how to play a G sus4 guitar chord. You can also try applying these shapes to other chords by shifting them on the same string.
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All the best,