Lost me there I'm afraid, MTed; are you saying that Don is playing CMaj9th -3 -7 4th inversion? This isn't so much partial chording as bi-tonality, I.E playing in C and G at the same time - great!
I kind of took the meaning of the thread title to be to do with "thining out" the guitar sound, only playing essential notes, in which case, Don's neutral chords (no 3rd, neither major nor minor) is a good place to start. There's also a lot to be said for picking out a melody, or sections of melody over a pedal note.
Whilst building chords around 5ths is all well and good, I would be aware that whilst C-G is 5 notes, F-C, five notes the other way, can be seen as C-F, I.E. a 4th. What this means is that F major, with the C at the Bottom would be CFA, a second inversion. This is a less harmonically stable form than FAC, and so doesn't make a good shape for a root chord. It is however quite usefull for avoiding Parralel 5ths, if that's a concern, so use these shapes for 4-1 cadences!
No idea whether that's any help or not. Maybe it is best to ignore it.