How to Play the Dsus2 Chord

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The Basic Dsus2 Guitar Chord Shape

dsus2 chord

This is a nice and easy chord shape that sounds great on guitar. The fingering for Dsus2 is extremely straightforward:

  • place your first (index) finger on the second fret of the third string.
  • place your third (ring) finger on the third fret of the second string.
  • strum strings four through one, making sure not to strum the low E and A strings.

About the Dsus2 Chord

Whereas most chords guitarists play are either some sort of major chord (D major, D major7 and D7 all fall into this category) or minor (D minor, D minor7 or even D minor/major7), the Dsus2 chord is neither major nor minor. The good news is, it can often be used in cases where you'd play either a major or a minor chord.

The reason the chord doesn't qualify as major or minor is because of the choice of notes it contains. Any major chord contains only three distinct notes - the first, third and fifth notes of a major scale. A minor chord, conversely, contains the first, flattened (down one semitone) third and fifth notes of a major scale. It is that note in the middle - the "third" - that determines whether a chord sounds major or minor.

The sus2 chord skirts the issue, as it contains the first, second and fifth notes of a major scale. Because that third isn't represented, the Dsus2 can generally be used in cases where you'd see either a D minor or a D major.

When to Use the Dsus2 Chord

Although you may be technically okay to simply play a Dsus2 whenever you see a D major or D minor chord, your ear will often beg to differ. Whereas the sound of a major or minor chord is "static" - you can strum one all day and it'll sound just fine the way it is - the sus2 chord sounds like it wants to resolve to a major or minor chord. In plain english, when you play a Dsus2, you're generally going to want to follow it up with either a D minor or a D major chord.

You'll often hear the Dsus2 chord in close proximity to a Dsus4 chord. A great example of this is in John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War is Over)", in which you'll hear John strumming the following pattern on his acoustic guitar:

D major | Dsus2 | Dsus4 | D major

(the song actually begins on an A major chord, but it nonetheless follows this pattern of major to sus2 to sus4 to major).

Similarly, you can experiment playing D minor to Dsus2 back to D minor again. The sus2 and sus4 chords are great ones to use when you're supposed to hold a major or minor chord for a long period of time. Instead of just strumming D major for two bars, for example, you can start on D major, embellish a bit with Dsus2 and Dsus4, and then return to D major.