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NYC Shuffle: Lesson
from Joe Deloro’s Blues Rock Road Trip
NYC Shuffle recalls Steely Dan’s “Chain Lightning” from their album Katy Lied, offering us to take the opportunity to walk on the jazzy side of blues-rock.
This lesson is based on a time-tested jazz rhythm technique: triad substitution. Simply put, triads are substituted based roots other than the current bass note to make more complex chords easier to handle. To get an idea of this in practice, listen to The Doors’ “Riders On The Storm” and Pat Martino’s take on John Coltrane’s “Impressions,” as well as Steely Dan’s “Chain Lightning” and “Cold Shot” by Stevie Ray Vaughan.
NYC Shuffle is a I, IV, V in A, employing the triad substitution technique, which gives us A9 voicings from our Em triad, which then becomes an A6 as we slide the Em triad up to an F#m triad when played over the I chord’s root, an example of using simple triads to create as more complex chordal sound.
Over the IV chord, we go from an Am triad to a Bm, then Bm to C#m triads over the V.
Because we are trying to create a New York, jazz-rock sound, we should create a less static, more melodic riff. In order to do that, we will add one more triad, which is a major triad. Over our I chord, we will go from Em to F#m, then add the Gmaj, which is based on a C shape, but could also be thought of as an E7 shape at the seventh fret.
We will continue adding the major triad over the IV chord, which in this case is a C. We will approach the V chord as before, but landing on the Cmaj triad on our way back to the IV.
Try playing the root note and the triads, hybrid style. For the I, play the open A with your pick, and play the triads with your second, third and fourth fingers, doing the same with the open D over the IV.
Something else to keep in mind is the changes in tone from playing on heavier and lighter strings can be used to change tone; don’t be afraid to try these triads on different strings. Also, when we get to the V, we will play an E11 chord, then move that shape down to play over the V. This is a complexly voiced chord, perfect for the type of sound we are trying to achieve.
Use the concept of triad substitution the next time you want to take your blues uptown.
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