Watch the Sus Chord Scales online guitar lesson by Chris Buono from Funk Fission
As you will soon see in the riffs to come, what I do with these chords more often than not is superimpose them. What that term means is taking secondary harmonic (or melodic) components and playing them over primary harmony. Let’s say you find yourself in one chord jam based in Am—if it hasn’t happened yet, it will, trust me. Instead of playing Am voicings alone you could inject more complex harmony without the complexity by playing superimposed ideas. A simple example is playing a C major triad over the underlying Am tonality making the overall sound be heard as Am7. How does that happen you ask? Look at the C chord not as a C chord at all, but as chord tones in Am. Then, the chord tones in the C triad according to Am are: C = minor 3rd, E = perfect 5th, and G = minor 7th. Get it? Now, let’s up the ante with an altered sus chord by superimposing a Bsusb2 over Am. Just like the C triad created an Am7 sound, the Bsusb2 creates a Am6/9 sound this way: B = major 2nd or 9th, C = minor 3rd, and F# = major 6th.
To start getting acclimated to superimposing in this segment I adjust the chord scale concept shown to you in the previous segment to what I learned from Gerry Carboy as all-per-degree chord scales. So instead of playing Asus2 and moving onto the next degree like you did in the first set of chord scales, you play all the inversion per that degree: Asus2, B7sus4, and Esus4, hence the name. From there you move onto the three chord set of each successive degree all the while ringing an open A drone to hear each one of these chords sounds superimposed over that bass note.
Be aware, when it comes to superimposing, this is just the tip of the iceberg—the possibilities are far reaching and the results are nothing short of awesome when it comes to superimposing sus chords. In the riffs to come you will see examples of superimpositions that range from straightforward to multi-layered to further my decree.