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Difference between Sus & Add chords

Adding extra notes to a chord adds new colours to the sound. Sus (suspended) and Add chords get used all the time in music, but people often get the naming wrong. The difference between the two is easy to remember.

In one sentence simply,

A ‘Sus’ chord has no 3rd in it, an ‘Add’ chord does.

Remember a basic triad or chord is made up of a Root 3rd and a 5th (the 3rd and 5th’s can be altered to create Major, Minor, Diminished and Augmented chords, see the previous lesson I posted.

So a Sus chord is suspending the 3rd, so therefore it has no 3rd in it. 

The two types of Sus chords are a Sus2 and a Sus4 chord.

Sus2 in Numbers is 1 2 5

Sus4 in Numbers is 1 4 5

So these chords are neither major or minor. Sus chords often resolve to the Major or Minor chord.

Add chords you are adding the note to a chord

So the major versions of these chords in numbers are as follows.

Add2 1 2 3 5

Add4 1 3 4 5

Add6 is mostly written just as 6 is 1 3 5 6

You will see things like add9 add11. These are the 2 and 4 up the octave.

Here are a few nice sus chords

Try using these in replace and with a regular D, Dm, A and Am chords in songs you are playing.

Dsus2 Guitar Chord

Dsus4 Guitar Chord

Asus2 Guitar Chord

Asus4 Guitar Chord


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