Guitar Lesson

The Difference Between Sus and Add4

Difficulty: intermediate

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The difference between sus (suspended) and add4 chords may not be what you think. Or maybe you are like me who for a long time had very little clue what the difference was.

Sus = 1 4 5

add4 = 1 3 4 5

A sus chord contains the 1 4 5 notes of the major scale. It's important to note that a sus chord does not contain a 3rd.

An add4 chord contains the 1 3 4 5 notes of the major scale. It's important to note that an add4 chord contains both a 3rd and 4th.

Let's look at some examples below using open chords.

Gsus

314

The Gsus chord contains just 3 notes: G C D - 1 4 5 in G Major.

Gadd4

3214

The Gadd4 chord contains 4 notes: G B C D - 1 3 4 5 in G Major.

Csus

3411

Csus = C F G = 1 4 5 in C Major

Cadd4

341

Cadd4 = C E F G = 1 3 4 5 in C Major

Dsus

134

Dsus = D G A = 1 4 5 in D Major

Dadd4

3214

Dadd4 = D F# G A = 1 3 4 5 in D Major

This is an especially pretty sounding shape because the F# and G are a half step apart and the G rings out as an open string. Very useful as the 5th chord in the key of G Major.