Newsletter Archives:

2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

Subscribe to Advance Updates to get early access notifications.
You can contribute here! View our privacy policy

June 2021 Newsletter


Summer Greetings to all Ted Greene friends, fans, students, and family!

We begin this month’s newsletter with a transcript of an excerpt from one of Mark Levy’s private lessons with Ted. In this lesson Ted explains Voice-Switching. Part 2 of this transcript will be posted in our July newsletter. You can find the full recording in our Audio section / Lessons with Mark Levy.

* * * * *

Ted Greene Lesson
with Mark Levy

July 20, 1992 (mp3 #19) – excerpt

Voice-Switching (part 1)

Mark: I’m talking about---I want to get the terminology right: “voice-switching”?
Ted: Yeah. A voice-switch is when you actually switch the parts. Like a 3rd becoming a 5th, and maybe a 5th becoming a 3rd.
Mark: Okay.
Ted: I don’t know what else to call it. I once saw it in a book called “swapping the parts.” That’s what Spud Murphy called it. I was already into it and called it a “switch,” so I didn’t change my term.
Mark: Now, there are some techniques that for guitar, because of the physics of the guitar, that I have to know, and…
Ted: It just happens automatically. Like…
Mark: It’s during the switching.
Ted: Yeah, exactly. You know, so like when we had those notes and I said, “reposition them.”
Mark: Right.
Ted: It wasn’t re-voice them.
Mark: No.
Ted: And it wasn’t re-finger them. I would have said, “Stay there and re-finger what you got.”
Mark: Uh-huh.
Ted: But I literally had said, “reposition.” That means to change strings on at least one of the notes, maybe both if we were playing more than two notes.
Mark: Okay. And the assignment was to take major 7th chords and swap…
Ted: The 3 and the 5. Let’s start with that. Just switch 3 and 5. That means 3 becomes
Both: ….5, and 5 becomes 3.
Ted: Let’s take any major 7’s you like. Now, you’re going to see these run into each other and it won’t work.
Mark: Right.
Ted: Because they end up with the same thing, but it’s all fingered screwy. Now you’ll luckily get an open string 3rd up there, and the 5th will be way up on fret 7. It’s interesting, actually, because the tone is in a different place. It’s [ ? ] in this chord. It’s not worth the effort in any other key just about.
Mark: So what do you do then?
Ted: It’s not cool for that one. When I say when it doesn’t work, try 5 and 7.
Mark: “When it doesn’t work swap 5 and 7.” So, 7 would go down to the 5…
Ted: Does it go down to 5? Yes, you said it right. Sorry.
Mark: It should be open.
Ted: Oh yes, this is going to work.
Mark: It would be open?
Ted: Now, if you put it into closed form, no open stings….no, right there; right where you were.
Mark: Okay.
Ted: That same voicing. Play that voicing, the way you had it; beautiful sound. Take the D open and finger it as a stopped note. Now you got a form you can use in other keys too.
Mark: And that’s…isn’t that…
Ted: Voicing Group number?
Mark: V-5.
Ted: Thank you, sir. So, V-4 became V-5. Two of your friends. One becomes the other just by swapping two parts with each other, switching two parts.
Mark: I see.
Ted: A little voice-switch. Now, if you made them go through a passing tone. Instead of [he plays D up to F#, and F# down to D] Like which tones---show me on each string what would happen.
Mark: [Mark plays Gmaj7 1,7,3,5 with 5 to 6, to 7.]
Ted: and the other one.
Mark: [Mark plays Gmaj7 1,7,3,5 with 7 to 6 to 5.]
Ted: Okay, now play the resulting stuff.
Mark: Ooh, this is going to be bitchin’ I think.
Ted: Good concentration now.
Mark: [he plays G,F#,B,D > G,E,B,E > G,D,B,F#] That’s way cool. I love it.

Ted: Now, do it on every degree of the scale. [Ted demonstrates:]

Mark: That’s what I want. I like that.
Ted: That’s 5 to 7. You know who does a lot of this? George Van Eps likes it.
Mark: Really?
Ted: When I went to see him, he was doing that, and I didn’t want to tell him that I had already “wigged on to it” from Bach.
Mark: Right.
Ted: Because he was so thrilled to show me. I didn’t have the passing ones yet, I was still… In fact, I know what it was: I was doing the “stormy” ones. I got on to these [he demonstrates] and I was doing all those from Beethoven. He [George] had these great diatonic ones. These are actually in his books. But for some reason I decided, “Well, look man, he’s swapping 5 and 7. You can swap anything, in theory.”
Mark: Yeah, sure.
Ted: So let’s swap 1 and 3.
Mark: 1 and 3 would be….
Ted: Look at that little baby. It’s going to turn into something you know, Mark. Watch out now. You got to keep everything else in there.
Mark: Okay. Well, these stay [7 and 5, or F# and D] These are frozen.
Ted: Agreed.
Mark: This [the G, or 1] goes up to 3.
Ted: What does the 3 do?
Mark: 3 goes down to the 1.
Ted: You got it. Let’s avoid open strings so you can get moveable stuff for other keys.
Mark: Love it. Okay, so I got to switch that baby… Where do I switch that baby?
Ted: Can’t. But you can switch something else. When you can’t switch one thing, switch something else. I don’t mean “switch,” I mean “reposition.” Re-locate one of those other notes.
Mark: Sure. The D I can. Well, no. Not---.
Ted: Play the stuff that isn’t troublesome, without the troublesome notes. In the new chord. Get rid of the one note that for, temporarily, that’s farther away than the others. Play the remaining three. Hold it as if there is no nut. Put a finger down that…yes. Hold it. Uh. Hold it. That’s good. Now, where was the note that we got rid of way down on the 7th fret bass string? Can you reposition that note on another string?
Mark: Sure.
Ted: Do we have a form you’ve ever seen?
Mark: Yes.
Ted: In which voicing group?
Mark: That’s V-2.
Ted: Yes, so V-4 became V-2. Now let’s pass through the passing tones. Find the passing tones on each voice.
Mark: Oh boy! I can see this---this is going to be---.
Ted: You see why it’s a long project?
Mark: It’s great, but it’s going to be time consuming, man.
Ted: It does take time. But you get little moves that you can use maybe.
Mark: I can write these down. Better write them down because I’ll forget them.
Ted: I made a deal with myself that I wouldn’t write these down because I saw how staggering it was, and I said, “I’m just going to memorize my favorites – a few favorites at first. And then if I love it, I’ll go back to it.”
Mark: Do you find that some of them are that much different? that some you really love…
Ted: Oh, it’s like everything, man. You’re just going to---. You’re a human being, you’re going to love some stuff much more than others. I’m crazy about this chord [he demonstrates] I dig the way it sounds. I use it more than I use [he demonstrates]. Because when that happens I want “sauce” in there. I just go for a full major 9, if it’s going to be that. But that bass note in this cluster [he demonstrates]
Mark: That’s great.
Ted: You don’t need that 9th or anything, it just says a lot already.
Mark: Okay.
Ted: So, you’re going to have your favorites in everything.
Mark: Yep. Okay.
Ted: So let’s take that one and find the passing tones. Show me the two lines that we move.
Mark: Okay. We were talking….
Ted: You’re such a candidate for this, man, because you like logic and systems and order. You’re just the perfect candidate…
Mark: Well, especially if the fruits are there.
Ted: Yeah, if it yields something that’s musical.
Mark: That’s going to be beauty as the end result, I’ll do the---I’ll put the time into it. Root goes to 3rd, and the---. Was that right? The 3rd goes down to the root? We’re switching 1 and 3?
Ted: We were going to switch---. We decided 1 and 3. Yes. So, what’s the 1 do? Play me the line. [Mark plays] Sure. And what’s the 3 again do? [Mark plays] Great. We can hear that it wants to pass the 2.
Mark: So it goes to there.
Ted: That’s where it’s going to end up. Yeah, we found that out.
Mark: Okay. So… Oh man. Okay.
Ted: It taxes your concentration. You’re close. You didn’t quite follow your bass line.
Mark: Ah, yes.
Ted: Now, that’s an interesting sound, man. What happened there is you lowered string three to A instead of kept the B. Right?
Mark: Yep.
Ted: I’m testing you.
Mark: They go all at once, right?
Ted: Oh, pardon me. You lowered string---. No, it’s my fault. You lowered string four to E. That’s what you didn’t mean to do.
Mark: Okay, okay. Gotcha. But here’s the line. The line will be like this. May I should do this. This will help me.
Ted: That’s what I used to do: I would take the two parts, and then bring the frozen ones back.
Mark: Okay. So. [Mark plays: G,F#,B,D > A,F#,A,D > B,F#,G,D]

Ted: That’s it. Now, down there you could give your hands a break. [playing the last chord in 2nd position, using an open G.]
Mark: That’s I-V-I isn’t it?
Ted: It ends up being that. You could play it with the open string. [Ted plays it, then continues to the ii chord, iii chord, etc.]

* * * * *

You can find Ted’s lesson sheet on Voice-Switches in our “Chord Studies” section. There’s an explanation page, but it’s always better to hear Ted explain it himself. So be sure to listen to the recording. Ted’s page deals with inversions of E7b9 and the resultant “in between” or passing chord. Be sure to check it out. DOWNLOAD HERE

And here’s a Mark’s homework page that he did a few days after the 7-20-92 recording. This one is found in our “From Students” section, under the header “Contributions by Mark Levy.” DOWNLOAD HERE

As always, we want to thank the contributors who helped out this month: Mark Fitchett for providing another one of his recorded lessons with Ted; Mike De Luca for proofreading all the new lesson material; Dale Zdenek for supplying the early 12-bar blues pages; Nick Stasinos & Gareth Rixton for the updated transcription of Ted’s “Watch What Happens” from Solo Guitar; Mark Levy for his awesome collection of recorded lessons with Ted, and of course Jeffrey D. Brown for his technical expertise. Thanks, Team!

~ Your friends on the Team


* 1991-09-26, Ted Greene Lesson with Mark Fitchett. [320 kbps mp3. Time: 44:40. Another great lesson recording from Mark, made on Ted’s birthday. In this they discuss: Baroque improvisation: 1-to-1 ratio counterpoint, diatonic, added over descending bass lines in a major key. 2-to-1 ratio mixed in. Meter of 3. Fugue. Different keys for fresh sounds. Sequences and “chases.” Bass lines. Handel progressions. Modes on the Melodic Minor (Cm). 12 Degrees of the major scale. Favorable Matings page. Blues guitar players.]

* 12-Bar Blues – A Beginning, circa late 1960’s [A couple of very early lesson page on the blues. It’s undated, but seems like one of his oldest sheets we’ve seen. Thanks to Dale Zdenek for providing them. These studies are for beginners at playing the blues, but as always, Ted takes it to a more intermediate level at the end. He was always pushing us to reach higher and higher. Re-formatted to make it easier to follow, but still using Ted’s diagrams.]

* Modern Blues Progressions, circa early 1970’s [Two fairly easy blues progressions in the key of C. At the bottom of the page Ted suggests a couple of guitar instruction books to buy and where to buy them, and also some guitar albums to listen to, and some record stores in the Los Angeles area.]

* Romantic Chord Progressions, 1978-07-15. [Using notation only, Ted wrote out 56 different examples of iv(6) to I progression in the key of C, some of which include a passing or “in between” chord. New notation and suggested chord diagrams are given. Other chord forms may also be possible, but most of the grids probably represent the forms Ted had in mind for each example.]

Under the “Triads” header:

* I-IV and i-IV with Open Triads. [In this lesson, Ted provides chord diagrams for a series of I (or i) open triad inversions and the letter name of the IV chord in between each inversion. The student is to add the diagram (or notation) of those IV chords. These two chords will often share a common tone which should be tied (sustained) if possible, or played again. We provided notation and “answers” in blue for the “in between” chords.]

* Major Keys Poly-Chords – Complete Vocabulary in Modern Harmony, 1974-11-25 [Using Roman numerals (triads above bass notes), Ted systematically lists 54 different poly-chords and their resultant chord names. This was not intended as a lesson for his students, but for his own study, observations, and analysis. It’s up to you to work out various voicings and chord forms. Typed text provided to save your eyes.]


Under the “Ear-Training” header:

* Condensed List of Ear-Training Progressions (for Jazz and Pop), 1980-09-15. [This is an extensive list of chord progressions using Roman numerals. Based upon the major key, Ted breaks it into 3 main categories: I) Diatonic, II) Chromatic Type 1 (quality changes), and III) Chromatic Type 2: b5 substitutions. These three are further defined with 1) Derived from Root movement, 2) Bass Pedal, and 3) Derived from Bass Lines (descending stepwise, or stepwise diatonic or chromatic). Ted must have considered these important for the serious musician’s ear-training regimen. He would often encourage the student to record samples of progressions like these for regular listening drills. Typed text for easy reading.]

* Ear-Training and Progression Catalogue, 1980-09-09. [Another list of Roman numeral progressions, similar to the above, but less “complete.” Typed text provided.]

* Ear-Training Progressions, Organized by the Soprano, 1985-09-07. [Using the key of D major, Ted defines all the possibilities of a two-note melody of D going to every other note (diatonic as well as non-diatonic). Then he shows possible two-chord progressions to harmonize those melodies. Here is an interesting comment that Ted added at the bottom of his page and marked with a star:

“There’s 1) the Appreciative Ear, 2) the Knowing Ear, [and 3) the Appreciative Knowing Ear]. Then there’s transferring the latter (2 and 3), to your instrument (knowing where it is and being able to draw on it when you deem [it] appropriate.)”

Typed text provided for clarity.]

* Hearing the Different Tonalities, 1988-10-13. [Another page geared toward helping the musician hear and differentiate between Major, Mixolydian, Lydian, Aeolian “dark,” “mellower” Major, Aeolian “light,” and Spanish Gypsy. New notation combined with Ted’s grids.]

* List of Progressions for Ear-Training, 2003-03-28 [Yet another list of progressions for the student working on improving his hearing. Using Roman numerals, Ted breaks them into groups of progression starting with the I, ii, iii, IV, V and vi (diatonic only). And then another set with non-diatonic harmony: starting with I, ii and II, IV, #iv, V, vi, vii. And another set with expanded diatonic harmony: starting with I only. Typed text for easy reading and study.]

* Watch What Happens (from Solo Guitar). [This is an update from Nick Stasinos for his transcription that was posted a few years ago. About this new version Nick wrote:

“In the course of Gareth Rixton learning how to play Ted’s arrangement of “Watch What Happens” he contacted me with a PDF, all marked up in red ink, of my transcription posted on this website back in 2016. His corrections? Many were good catches! Remember all those ghost notes I was so reluctant to add before? They are now added to this revised copy. In the course of updating my copy of “Watch What Happens,” I even found more silly notations errors I had missed in my haste to post. So now that all my “Easter Eggs” have now been discovered and removed, here is my updated transcription, revised for 2021 – free for you to download from this website. A special thanks goes out to Gareth Rixton for his incredible ears, persistence, and prodding me to take this to the next level.”

Ted on YouTube

Ted on Facebook

Ted on Twitter

The Official Ted Greene Forums

* Of course, most of the videos are posted right here in our Video Section

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - My Life with The Chord Chemist - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

My Life with The Chord Chemist
A Memoir of Ted Greene, Apotheosis of Solo Guitar
By Barbara Franklin

BUY NOW - Available at

Publication Date: Nov 24 2009
Page Count: 276
Trim Size: 8" x 10"

A retrospective of Ted Greene, virtuoso solo guitarist, beloved music teacher, world-renowned author and innovator of unique music concepts for guitar. This book also includes an overview of Ted Greene's early life and musical development, plus an insightful narrative of the 13 years prior to his death

Six agonizing months after losing my beloved Ted, I slowly emerged from a state of profound disbelief, almost coma-like. At that time I didn’t know what to do with the remnants of my life; then a path began to unfold before me. This website was started and became a saving grace.

During the ensuing years, I organized and categorized Ted’s material and personal studies. Upon completion of that massive undertaking, once again, I didn’t know what to do, so I began writing.

I wrote pages, and then threw them away, until once again a path began to unfold. What I wrote is mostly a personal memoir. I suppose it was what I had to write first.

From the preface:

“The decision to reveal parts of our personal life was something I deliberated over for a long time. Because our lives became so inextricably bound, I included what I felt necessary, but not without a considerable amount of apprehension. This book illustrates the many parallels between Ted the musician and Ted the person. I felt it was important to convey how Ted was driven compulsively not just to pursue music, but so many other things he loved.”

With this in mind, here is our story. It IS very personal and I still have apprehensions about publishing it. My hope is that it brings you closer to Ted, as you begin to get to know and understand this unique and extraordinary man and musician.


Don't forget to visit the Newsletter Archives :)



Your contributions keep this site healthy and growing.
Every contribution is gratefully appreciated. Get more info HERE

Visit the Official Ted Greene Forums

Read Our Latest NewsletterSubscribe to Advance Updates

Follow us on Twitter • Like us on Facebook


© 2005 - 2021 |