I've tuned my guitar to CGCGGe in order to learn 'Head Down' from Soundgarden, and are now experimenting a bit with that tuning. While in that specific tuning, and you hold a normal power chord rooted on the 5th string (as per example)and play the 3rd, 4th and 5th strings, you have, what is in my opinion a sus2 chord.

For example, if you hold and play what is an open A power chord in normal tuning, you have the following three notes G (open 5th string), D (2nd fret 4th string) and A (2nd fret 3rd string).

My issue is, I cannot find an exact chordname in chord identifiers with the exact order of notes. As above, my chord consist of G-D-A in that order. A Gsus2 chord is G-A-D, then there are two inversions, but none in the specific order G-D-A.

I still believe G-D-A is a Gsus2 chord, but the amount of theory that I know is not enough to definitely call this chord a Gsus2. My question is, if the 5th degree comes before the 2nd degree in a chord (as per my example in question) , is this chord still a sus2, and if not, what will the best probable name be for a chord where you have the root, 5th and 2nd degrees in that order in a chord

  • I don't have an answer to the question so I'm posting this as a comment. This 1 - 5 - 9 voicing is super common in 90s/2000s grunge and alternative music. It's not just an alternative tuning thing either. It's played in standard tuning (with a pinky stretch) and simple drop tunings all the time. It's surprising to me that there doesn't seem to be a shorthand name for it. Gsus2 is close enough, Gadd9(no3) is more literal, G5add9 also works. It seems to me that quartal and quintal harmony makes chord names that are more verbose than what they are really describing.
    – Awalrod
    Sep 29, 2022 at 14:13

4 Answers 4


Suppose it could be called G5 add 9, since the A isn't actually a 2, but an octave higher, making it 9. And the answer won't be G14...

On the other hand - it could be construed as a sus chord - no B, but an A as substitute, so possibly Gsus2, or G sus 9, which I've never come across. The fact that there's no B but instead, an A, no matter where, makes it sus.


You can definitely call that that a sus2 voicing. It's also worth noting that it's an example of quintal harmony: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quartal_and_quintal_harmony


G-D-A is interesting, as it isn't a normal triad and can have many interpretations. For example, as others have said, it can be Gadd9 (without the 3rd, which would allow it to fit into major or minor tonalities, which is cool), Dsus, Gsus2, or a quartal chord on A or quintal chord on G, depending on what context the chord is in. For example, if the chord resolves to D major, I'd call it Dsus, but if it resolves to G, probably Gadd9 or Gsus2. I don't know exactly how to name quartal and quintal chords, but if the context has lots of those, I'd say that the chord then is an example of one of those. If you want some really strange uses, it can be part of a C6/9 chord (or C quintal), Cmaj13, Dm11, D7sus, Em11 or E7sus, F6/9, any sort of G9 chord, A6/9, A7sus, Bm13, E♭maj7♯11, or B♭maj13 chord.

There's a world of possibilities out there due to the chord's suspended qualities, and I know there's some that I haven't covered. It can be pretty much anything, so long as you know what it is in context.


Stumbled across this chord aswell. I was trying to write a song and I came across this chord. Its for example the same as used in 'every breath you take' by the police but then with an added 11. It seems there is no 'correct' way to write this chord but an G5add9 seems like the best one. For every breath you take just make it an G5add9add11 which I think is totally the wrong way to describe it but hey whatever floats your boat.

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