In this lesson, the third in our series of ‘Chord Compendiums’ we examine the Suspended Chord with common sus4, sus7, sus9, 11, 11(b9) and sus13(b9) voicing.
In terms of fingering, I will occasionally use my neck-hand thumb to play lower notes (most often the root) in order to free up the neck-hand fingers to play more extensive chord tones, or to create a ‘platform’ (with the thumb and first finger), along which the other 3 remaining fingers can then embellish musical ideas. While I do not recommend this – as it is probably bad technique – I certainly don’t admonish the use of the thumb in grabbing chords; if it was good enough for Hendrix (and a million other players!), it’s good enough for me… Just ensure it is not causing you pain and that all chords are performed with every intended note ringing clearly and cleanly.
Another technique I’ve adopted over the years is using the pad of my second and third (middle and ring) neck-hand fingers to ‘barre’ two or more notes mid-chord. Examples are given in almost every JGL ‘Chord Compendium’ video as I use this often because it greatly frees up the other fingers for decorating any existing chord structures.
Always play clean, clear and accurate.
Practice chords to songs.
Practice voicings both high and low on the neck as finger spacing becomes difficult for a lot of denser styled voicings above the 12th fret.
QUICK TIP for chord memorisation:
Use the ‘open hand stretch’ technique to memorise trickier chords that are just not sitting under your fingers or that you are having trouble feeling / memorising.
1. Play the chord, pick every note singularly (arpeggiated) then quickly pull your hand off the guitar and push it away from you, palm stretched outward.
2. Replace the fingers onto the voicing and as quickly (and of course accurately!) as possible, replay the chord.
3. Do this 10 – 20 times – you will almost certainly remember the structure and feeling of the shape next time you’re reading it.