Greene was renowned world wide as the author of “Chord
Chemistry,” one of the most in-depth studies of chord
harmony & theory ever published for guitar. Ted was also
a brilliant, innovative and diverse guitarist capable of playing
dazzling solos from jazz to neo-Baroque improvisation. Yet his
chosen and most beloved path was as a teacher. He was highly
sought out for his insightful and instinctive gifts in this
area. As a testimony to his teaching abilities, for many years
there remained a long list of guitarists waiting for an opening
in his schedule.
©2005 Barbara Franklin
Ted was born in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sept. 26, 1946 but grew
up primarily in White Plains, N.Y. where he spent most of his
early musically formative years. During this time he was exposed
to everything from Gershwin and show tunes at home, to rhythm
& blues in the city. In 1957 at age 11 his father bought
him his first guitar. Shortly afterwards he began lessons, used
various guitar books and learned to read music.
In 1963 Ted moved back to Calif. and subsequently took a
teaching position at Ernie Ball’s Guitar Shop, which after
11 years would ultimately become a private teaching practice
from his home. The range of students he maintained spanned
from beginners to professionals. Ted’s dedication and love
of music compelled him to assiduously study and analyze all
aspects of music. This not only enabled him to impart a vast
and diverse knowledge to his students but also became the
seeds for his first book “Chord Chemistry” published in 1971.
The following year Ted availed himself of the opportunity
to study with the legendary George Van Eps for two months.
The insights gained here enabled Ted to refine his technique
as well as fueled a new passion, Film Music: listening to,
analyzing and transcribing.
Come autumn of 1976 he was hired for his first extended solo
guitar gig, Sunday nights at the Smoke House in Toluca Lake.
Within this period he wrote and published his 2nd book “Modern
Chord Progressions Vol. 1”. However the most momentous event
to occur around this time was the recording of his amazing
album “Solo Guitar”, released in 1977. Shortly thereafter
followed two new books, “Single Note Soloing Vols. 1 & 2”.
Despite numerous offers to make more recordings and take
well paying jobs, Ted’s teaching remained the mainstay of
his life and his personal preference as far as “work”. Nonetheless,
Ted did enjoy playing occasionally at the NAMM Shows and giving
seminars at a variety of venues, such as colleges and music
stores. On rare occasion, Ted would also play for weddings
and private parties. However his preference for live performance
was backing female singers at intimate nightclubs and restaurants.
His most recent solo guitar performances began in April 2004
at Spazio’s in Sherman Oaks.
Some twenty-odd years back (Sept. 1984) Ted had moved to
the Encino El Dorado, finally settling in #8, the “famous”
apartment where he continued doing what he loved most: teaching
and spending countless hours fulfilling his never ending quest
for knowledge, musical or otherwise. This pursuit was always
with the ideal of utilizing all he gained to imbue his students
as well as the lives of others with a spiritual beauty, sensitivity
and understanding whether it be on a musical, personal or
Ted Greene transcended his earthly body on July 23, 2005.