Guitarist Alex Lifeson took his Zeppelin-inspired roots and evolved through the decades while retaining a signature flair for the melodic. And his consistently inspiring chordwork was central to that. So let's put four gems from the Canadian's catalogue under the limelight…
Those classic mid- to-late 1970s Rush albums introduced many a rock guitarist to Alex Lifeson’s chiming suspended chords, particularly this one, the opening chord to the track Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres.
By moving that shape around, you get different chord types, because different relationships develop between the fretted notes and static open strings. This one is in several songs, including The Spirit Of Radio.
The humble sus2 chord has a very ambiguous sound about it, which means you can move it around the guitar’s neck with ease, almost like a powerchord. This shape crops up in loads of Rush songs including Tom Sawyer from Moving Pictures.
Finally, the arpeggiated first section from La Villa Strangiato features this jangly Cadd9 chord – it’s simply an open G shape that’s been moved up five frets, leaving the open strings to ring out.