Watch the That Disco Chord online guitar lesson by Chris Buono from 40 Day Rhythm SWAT Camp
Only two things go together better than a mirror ball and a dance floor: a booty-shakin' disco groove and the minor-11th grip in Ex. 1. This vibrant voicing made its way from vintage James Brown vamps onto hit singles by '70s charttoppers such as KC and the Sunshine Band, A Taste of Honey, and Average White Band. You'll also hear the chord on early-'80s Prince and Michael Jackson albums, sometimes shifted three frets down, where it implies D6/9.
Like most spices, this distinctive form of the minor 11 is tastiest in small doses. Try throwing it in every other measure, juxtaposing it against a funky two-note riff, such as the C-Dtenor line that drives Ex. 2. Jump up to the minor-11th chord at the end of bar 2, start the loop all over again, and dance fever is sure to spread. To keep the groove strong throughout, make sure you really feelevery sixteenthnote pulse, including the ones that aren't played. A phase shifter or rotary-speaker simulator will help this lick come alive. It also helps if you're just plain funky.