Ted Greene Solo Guitar Arrangement - December 7, 1985
Ted's Original Lesson sheet
Compilation pages by Paul Vachon
My Compilation Page
Here we have Ted’s “advanced version” of Bluesette as written up for his students. He used the extended version of the 1962 song by Toot’s Thielemans (lyrics by Norman Gimbel) and took it on a journey through the keys of Db, D, and Gb.
I think it would be safe to say that Ted would have encouraged a student to learn his other 1977 “basic version” of this song first in order to gain familiarity with the tune and it’s progression before going on to this more difficult version. In one of the Mark Levy lesson recordings Ted mentioned that it’s good to know a few different levels of how to play a song: a “campfire” or very basic version (one that you can just strum simple chords and sing along), a simplified chord-melody version (perhaps one that you could use in a trio setting), and (if you want) a more complex chord-melody version with lush chords, inner moving lines, chord substitutions, added chords, etc.
As usual, Ted didn’t include the chord names for his grid diagrams—this was left as an assignment for the student. I’ve gone ahead added the names (hope you don’t mind!), and I’ve added (in red) the final chord diagram for which Ted ran out of space and could fit in the final grid. At the very end I’ve added Ted’s “Roadmap” of this composition—that is, an outline of the chord progression in Roman numerals, indicating “how to think” of the progression in terms of the home key.
This arrangement takes some time to learn and to work out all the fingerings. Take it slowly and build it up by adding one section at a time. Below are some suggestions for some of the trickier spots.
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Some Comments: (the measure numbers refer to the compilation pages)
- Measure 12: Notice Ted’s finger indications just below the grid diagram. He wants you to use the 3rd finger to do a partial barre on strings 6, 5, and 4. If you haven’t done this before it may be something you’ll have to work at in order to get clean. To play the X notes, you’ll need to add your 4th finger for the F# note, and, if you choose to add the C-natural note, go ahead and lift your 1st finger off strings 1 and 2.
- Measure 13: Take a careful look at the second chord in this measure: notice that the 6th string E note is sustaining, and that the rest of the chord spans from fret 4 to 9.
- Measure 14: Finger the Em7(b5) as: open, 4,1,1,1. This will allow for a smoother transition into the A13 chord in the next measure (your 4th finger will remain planted).
- Measure 20: In order to sustain the chord and also play the X you’ll need to finger it as: 1,1,2,4 and then add finger 3 for the X note (the Eb). Keep this fingers on these strings and then just slide them down and adjust slightly for the Ab7(b9)/Gb chord.
- Measures 21-24: Finger these four chords as: Fm7 - 1,1,1 then add 4; F#m9 – 1,1,1,1 then add 2 and 4; B+/E – open, 2 then add 1 and 4; A9(sus) – open, 1,3 then add 2 and 1. Keep the notes marked with a tie held down and sustained as you change from chord to chord.
- Measures 25-26: Now we’re in the key of D. Finger that move on the first D chord as: 3,1 and then for the X notes – 1 and 2, and then for the square notes – 1 and 4. Keep your 3rd finger planted and holding the D note throughout these moves.
Now for the D in measure 26, continue to hold your 3rd finger on the D note and add 4 and 1 for the G and D notes. For the X notes use fingers 1 and 4. For the square notes use fingers 2 and 1.
- Measures 32-33: Use Ted’s fingerings for the D9 chord, and hold fingers 3 and 2 down as you move into the Gmaj7 in measure 33 (fingered as 1,3,2,2,1). This takes a little work to get clean.
- Measure 36: Treat this C13 just like you did the B13 in measure 12.
- Measure 40: Treat this Bb13 just like you did the B13 in measure 12.
- Measure 44: For the A13 chord finger it as: 3,4,1,1,1 and then hammer-on using your 2nd finger. Now play the square notes with your first finger and open first string.
- Measure 49: This is where the extended version of this song begins. Ted added the two A melody notes in the first beat of this measure, even though there’s no lyrics that correspond to them. The melody gets a little chromatic in the next few measures, so allow your ear to accept these as passing notes.
- Measure 54: Ted wrote next to the high D note on the E13 chord, “Lift low D to play” However, if you want you could also finger it as: open, 2,3,4,1 and then slide the 1st finger down to catch the D note.
- Measure 73: For the Gbmaj7 chord, Ted has the F melody note on the 2nd string, which necessitates lifting off all the other notes. Another way to play that F note would be on the 1st string, using the GVE 5th Finger technique. This allows the sustaining of the chord for the whole measure.
- Measure 80: For the Gb9 chord, Ted indicated to play the Gb bass one on the 2nd fret of the 6th string with a finger from the right hand. So, after playing and holding the Fb, Ab, and Bb, reach over with your right hand and fret the Gb.
- Measure 96: To get the X notes on the Db13 chord, you’ll need to use the GVE 5th finger technique.
- Measure 98: Finger the E11 to Ebm11 to Ab7 as: 3,3,3,4 to 2,2,2,4 to 1,1,2,4
If you’ve gotten this far you certainly deserve a pat on the back, for this piece provides plenty of challenges. If there’s a chord that’s giving you too much trouble, just find an alternate voicing that you can easily handle—but continue to work on Ted’s chord, trying to fit it back into the arrangement when you feel comfortable with it. Also keep in mind that Ted intended this piece to be played rubato—free and slowly—so don’t feel that you have rush through it. Savor the beauty of each luscious voicing.