How to read guitar chord names?

I'm a pianist trying to read notations for guitar chords. Chords like Asus2, Asus2/F#, Dsus2, Bmadd11, are totally puzzling to me. What do "sus", "add" mean? Is there any website I can go to, to find out these things?

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The abbreviation, sus, means sustain; that is, place emphasis on that particular note needing to be sustained. In example, Csus4 simply directs the player to press down the F note directly above Middle C (on the guitar) because F is the fourth note on the diatonic scale of C. (It's the F note found in the first space of the treble clef.) (Another note: Middle C on the guitar is one full octave below that of the piano's Middle C, hence my statement of the F note being in the first space of the treble clef.)

    The Asus2/F# chord tells us to play a B note (the sustained 2nd note) with an A chord, but also include its natural sixth note (F#) as the bass.

    The chord, Bm add 11 simply means to add the 11th note of the Bm scale, which is the note of E to your chord formation.

    Here is a striking chord that could be played just before playing a D major: Dsus2#5. Simply play a D, a Bb, another D, and an E.

    Note: Look for those small, quick incidental notes on the grand staff; they should be those sustained notes or added notes to the chord mentioned.

    Note: I stand corrected by Left-T. Such a note described as "sus" means 'suspension' as my music dictionary describes. It is a term used in harmony to describe a note in a chord that is held while another note that forms a discord with it is sounded. I had termed such a note as sustained because it always rings out in discord with the formed chord.

    Source(s): Guitar picker of 52 years
  • 4 years ago

    Guitar Chord Names

  • Left-T
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    I will add to Guitarplayer's answer......You can go to this website

    Just punch in the chords and you can see the notes on the top right as you click each chord :)

    'Sus' means "SUSPENDED" .....that the second note of the scale is added. On the guitar, that note is usually played as the last note of the chord depending. :)

    Also, you will often see chords like Gmaj / F# or C min/Bb

    That owuld mean to play the standard G notes, G B D but playing the F# in the Bass or in other words, F#,G,B,D on the piano.

    Same for the Cmin / Bb. The C Eb G would be played Bb C Eb G on the piano.

    Us guitar players are sneaky sometimes. I used to teach at Berklee and gave some pretty interesting fingerings to the students LOL...

    Source(s): Berklee Grad / Studio Guitarist & Luthier
  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    These days you can learn how to play guitar over the internet. Check out Mark McKenzie's guitar video lessons here: The videos are very easy to follow and to my surprise extremely helpful even for advanced guitar players. For beginners I would have to say this is a gold mine.

    I was able to improve my skills in just under 4 weeks and I am an intermediate-to-advanced guitar player; I've been playing guitar for the past 6 years and I was on stage with my band a lot of times.

    I live in New York City, I wanted to go to a pro guitar teacher but that would have cost me over $1400 per month. Good thing with this internet, $1400 it's a lot of money for me. Good luck!

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