7 ways to play an F sus 4 chord on guitar

Last updated on August 31st, 2023

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 lesson, we’ll be covering the F sus 4 chord, which is short for suspended 4. 

We’ll first cover some basic chord theory and then show you 7 ways to play an F sus 4 chord which you can start to incorporate into your playing. Grab your guitar and let’s get started!

F 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 F sus 4 chord has the chord tones F, Bb, and C.

Here is the formula for sus 4 chords below.

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

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.

Easy F sus 4 chord

An easy way to play the F sus 4 chord is by using this three note chord on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th string. We’ll expand on this shape in the following examples.

Easy F sus 4 chord

F sus 4 mini barre chord

Building on to the previous chord, we can also add the first finger to the 1st string, 1st fret to create a mini barre covering two strings like this:

F sus 4 mini barre chord

F sus 4 chord on the 6th string

F sus 4 chord on the 6th string

F sus 4 barre chord 6th string

This chord is a bit harder to play if you’re not used to barring chords. We’re essentially combining all the previous shapes.

This shape comes originally comes from the open E sus 4 chord but we are shifting it one fret above.

F sus 4 barre chord 6th string

If the barre chord is still 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.

F sus 4 barre chord 5th string

The following barre chord comes from the open A sus 4 chord shape. 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.

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

This chart covers how to play:

  • Major chords
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  • Diminished chords
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F sus 4 barre chord variation – 5th string

Another way to play the F sus 4 chord using a barre is to remove the 2nd finger from the previous shape like this:

F sus 4 barre chord variation - 5th string

Play this chord variation and the previous shape to hear the slight difference and see which one you like better.

F sus 4 chord – 5th string

Here is one more F 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.

F sus 4 chord - 5th string

Wrapping up

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 understand how to play an F sus4 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 4 chords on the same string.

📘 Get the free guitar practice guide here!

All the best,

JG Music Lessons

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