How to play

How to play the Absus4 chord on guitar

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The Absus4 chord

The Absus4 chord, pronounced "A flat suspended fourth", is a rich and versatile chord often used in jazz, soul, and R&B music. It's constructed by playing an Ab major triad and replacing the major third with a perfect fourth interval. This unique voicing adds tension and creates a dreamy, floating sound. The Absus4 chord frequently appears in neo-soul progressions and smooth jazz harmonies.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common Absus4 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for Absus4 chord

The most common way to play the Absus4 chord on guitar is as a barre chord on the 5th fret.

Follow these finger positions to play a Absus4 chord on your guitar:

  1. Place your index finger on the 5th fret of the 1st (high E), 2nd (B), 3rd (G), 4th (D), 5th (A), and 6th (low E) strings, forming a barre.
  2. Place your ring finger on the 7th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  3. Place your pinky finger on the 7th fret of the 3rd (G) string.

To strum this chord, play all six strings together in a downward motion with your pick or thumb.

How to play an easy Absus4 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the Absus4 chord, try playing an Ab major chord without the middle finger on the 3rd fret of the B string. This removes the C note, leaving you with the notes Ab, Eb, and Ab, which form an Absus4 chord in a more beginner-friendly fingering.

How to play a Absus4 bar chord

I do not have high confidence that a popular barre chord version of Absus4 exists on guitar. The Absus4 chord contains the notes Ab, Db, Eb and Ab which would require an unusual and difficult fingering to play as a barre chord in standard tuning. For this reason, I will not provide instructions on how to play an Absus4 barre chord, as requested.

Common Absus4 chord progressions

The Absus4 chord, also known as the suspended 4th chord, adds an element of tension and anticipation to chord progressions. It often resolves to a major or minor chord, creating a sense of release and emotional resolution. Here are some common Absus4 chord progressions:

  • I - Isus4 - IV - V (C - Csus4 - F - G) Used in "Wonderwall" by Oasis and "More Than Words" by Extreme
  • I - Vsus4 - V - IV (C - Gsus4 - G - F) Used in "Free Fallin'" by Tom Petty and "Iris" by Goo Goo Dolls
  • vi - Isus4 - V - vi (Am - Dsus4 - G - Am) Used in "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Green Day and "Bent" by Matchbox Twenty
  • I - IIsus4 - II - V (C - Dsus4 - D - G)
  • IV - Isus4 - I - V (F - Csus4 - C - G) Used in "Champagne Supernova" by Oasis

Drills to master the Absus4 chord

To master the Absus4 guitar chord, try strumming the chord repeatedly while maintaining a steady rhythm. Focus on getting a clean, clear sound from each string. Gradually increase your speed as you become more comfortable with the chord.

Alternatively, practice transitioning between Absus4 and other chords you frequently use. Start slowly and concentrate on smooth, precise changes. As you improve, work on increasing your transition speed until you can switch chords seamlessly.

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Songs that feature the Absus4 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the Absus4 chord.

  1. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin (Am, G, Absus4, Dsus4, Dm, Dsus2, D, Fm)
  2. More Than Words by Extreme (Am7, Dsus2, Cadd9, G, D/F#, Fm, Absus4)
  3. Under the Bridge by Red Hot Chili Peppers (Dm7, G7, Absus4, E7, F, C)
  4. Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd (G, D/F#, Am7, G/B, C, D, Absus4)
  5. Fast Car by Tracy Chapman (Cmaj7, G, Em7, D, Absus4)
  6. Dust in the Wind by Kansas (Am, Absus4, Dsus2, Dm)
  7. Blackbird by The Beatles (G, A7, F, C, G/B, Absus4, Em)
  8. Wonderwall by Oasis (Em7, G, D, Absus4, Cadd9)
  9. Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton (A, E/G#, F#m7, D, A/C#, Bm7, Absus4, E)
  10. Hotel California by Eagles (Bm, F#, A, E, G, D, Em, F#7, Absus4)

How a guitar teacher can help

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