Never EVER Resolve a Major 3rd Over a Sus4 Chord

How bad is it to play a major 3rd on a sus4 chord? Well, this week on Twitter guitarist “Alex Skolnick” published a funny tweet about this. His Tweet was actually a spin-off of another Tweet made by someone about their cat. Alex’s spin-off of that was saying how bad it would be to play a major 3rd over a sus4 chord... Get it?

You'll only get his joke if you know and understand what he’s suggesting with the sound of that interval (and the color clash it creates). 

However, if you don't perfectly understand the musical joke of Alex's Tweet and if you’re not exactly sure what he’s getting at overall, then this lesson should help to clear things up...


When we have notes in a melody that clash against chord tones, we normally call that out of balance sound, “Dissonance.” And, when it happens, the clash of tones of a Dissonant interval can come across as being pretty unstable sounding.

When notes sound more stable and more balanced in our chord tone and melody situations, we’ll call that sound, “Consonance.” One of the most stable Consonant sounding intervals is a “perfect” interval.

Probably the most popular of those for rock players is the “Perfect fifth,” (otherwise known as the “Power Chord”).

On the flip-side of all this, one of the most unstable of intervals is the “Minor 2nd.” The clash produced form a Minor 2nd interval is pretty sour sounding.

In respect to that Twitter post made by Alex Skolnick, let’s find out just exactly what happens when we perform a Major 3rd resolution against a “Suspended 4th” chord.

First, let’s start out with what will be our chord progression, for our example… I’ve created a chord progression in the key of “F Major.”

The Example Progression:


Now, let’s play the first pass through landing on the tone that Alex Skolnick warned us about (resolving onto the major 3rd when performing the suspended 4th chord). Here’s how that sounds.

Keep in mind that the suspended 4th chord is going to be performed on the last measure…

Melodic Example 1). "Dissonance"

Next, let’s get into some further study with this sound. As you can tell, it isn’t all that great of a sound on that chord being covered right now. What I’m going to do first is lead into that suspended 4th chord by way of anticipating the sound of our suspended 4th tone in the preceding measure.

In this case, that sus4 tone is “F.”  So, what we’re going to do is; cover that sus4 chord with its 5th, 6th and root tones (G, A, C), and that’s going to really lock down on that sus 4 chord... Here’s what those ideas sound like…

Melodic Example 2). "Consonance"

Alright, now we're going to make one more refinement with this sound to really polish it up. For this final idea, I will exclusively lock into the sound of the sus4 chords’ root (C) and the Sus4 tone itself (F).

This will really tighten-up the sound overall since those specific tones are very strong and they offer the listener a chance to better comprehend the color of that sus4 chord as it’s used in the progression.

 Melodic Example 3). "More Consonance"



Be sure to download all the TAB for this melody line that I've composed, and most importantly, be sure to download the MP3 Jam-Track of the backing chord progression, (so that you can start practicing these ideas on your own).

Ya know, Alex Skolnick brought up a very important principle in that Tweet of his, because chord tone targeting, (whether good or bad), makes a huge difference in the way that our melodic lines sound.

It’s something that I was never really exposed to in my early years, when I was studying guitar. I really wish that I had been, since studying interval ideas always has a big impact on melodic control.

Make sure that you spend some time practicing this stuff. The tones of a scale and the chord tones of underlying chords are the main connections that we have when it comes to composing and improvising our music. 

Well, hey, thanks for joining me, If you'd like to Find Out What You Should Learn on Guitar - take a look at the courses over on my website at

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