How to play

How to play the Ab7sus4 chord on guitar

Unlock the secrets of this jazzy chord, featured in hits like "Lush Life."

The Ab7sus4 chord

The Ab7sus4 chord, pronounced "A-flat seven suspended fourth," is a unique and captivating guitar chord. It combines the tension of a suspended fourth with the richness of a dominant seventh, creating a sound that's both unresolved and harmonically intriguing. This chord is often used in jazz, funk, and soul music to add a sophisticated flavor to progressions and can be heard in many iconic songs.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common Ab7sus4 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for Ab7sus4 chord

The most common way to play the Ab7sus4 chord on guitar is as a barre chord on the 4th fret.

Follow these finger positions to play a Ab7sus4 chord on your guitar:

  1. Place your index finger across all six strings on the 4th fret, forming a barre.
  2. Place your ring finger on the 6th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  3. Place your pinky finger on the 6th fret of the 3rd (G) string.

To strum this chord, use a downward stroke to play all six strings simultaneously. Make sure to apply enough pressure with your index finger to cleanly fret all the strings in the barre.

How to play an easy Ab7sus4 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the Ab7sus4 chord, try playing it as a three-finger chord on the top three strings. Place your index finger on the 4th fret of the 3rd (G) string, your middle finger on the 5th fret of the 2nd (B) string, and your ring finger on the 6th fret of the 1st (high E) string.

How to play a Ab7sus4 bar chord

The Ab7sus4 chord is typically played as an open chord, but playing it as a barre chord allows for greater flexibility and the ability to easily transition to other chords up and down the fretboard.

Here's how to play an Ab7sus4 barre chord:

  1. Place your index finger across all six strings at the 4th fret, creating a barre.
  2. Place your ring finger on the 6th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  3. Place your pinky finger on the 6th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  4. Place your middle finger on the 5th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  5. Strum from the 5th (A) string down.

Common Ab7sus4 chord progressions

The Ab7sus4 chord can add a jazzy, sophisticated flavor to progressions, creating a sense of tension and release. Some common progressions featuring this chord include:

  • I - IV - VII7 - III7 - VI7 - II7 - V7 - I (Ab - Db - Gb7sus4 - Cb7 - Fb7 - Bb7 - Eb7 - Ab)
  • I - VI7 - II7 - V7 (Ab - Fb7 - Bb7 - Eb7)
  • I - VI7 - II7 - V7sus4 (Ab - Fb7 - Bb7 - Eb7sus4)
  • I - III7 - VI7 - II7 - V7 - I (Ab - Cb7 - Fb7 - Bb7 - Eb7 - Ab)
  • I - IV - VIIb7 - III7 - VI7 - II7 - V7 - I (Ab - Db - Gb7sus4 - Cb7 - Fb7 - Bb7 - Eb7 - Ab) Used in "Take the A Train" and "Fly Me to the Moon"

Drills to master the Ab7sus4 chord

To master the Ab7sus4 chord, try playing it repeatedly while strumming a simple rhythm. Focus on cleanly fretting each note and transitioning smoothly between chords. Start slowly and gradually increase your speed as you build muscle memory.

Alternatively, practice moving between the Ab7sus4 and related chords like Ab7 or Absus4. This helps train your fingers to swiftly switch chord shapes. Experiment with different progressions and rhythms to make the exercise more engaging and musical.

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Songs that feature the Ab7sus4 chord

Here are 4 popular songs you can play with the Ab7sus4 chord.

  1. I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston (Ab, Fm7, Db, Bbm, Eb)
  2. Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen (D, Dm, G, C, F, Am, Em, A7, E7)
  3. Roundabout by Yes (E, F, C, G, Am, Em)
  4. Creep by Radiohead (G, B, C, Cm)

How a guitar teacher can help

If you feel stuck in your playing, it might help to take personalized guitar lessons with an expert guitarist. Taking lessons with a pro gives you access to the skills, feedback, and motivation to reach your goals.

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