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May 2021 Newsletter


Welcome to the monthly Newsletter!

This month Leon White shares with us some of his observations about Ted’s guitar lesson pages in the Teachings section of the site., and he offers some suggestion for how a beginner might approach this immense library. It should be noted that Leon and Barb Franklin are the ones responsible for scanning and organizing Ted’s entire archive of lessons, arrangements, student pages, his personal music studies pages, and more…a herculean task to say the least.

* * * * *


I’m lucky enough to have some international students in my teaching. Recently they have begun to ask about using the site and its contents. After answering their questions, I thought we’d share some thoughts about making the most out of the site. Below is a casual list, inspired by questions, and is my opinion only. It is not meant to be all-encompassing, but some may find it helpful.

As you review the many pages of teaching material that you find on the Ted Greene site, you will see that there are often many different explanations of the same subject. This can be overwhelming to players that are new to the site. Some of the reasons are as follows:

1) Ted wanted to communicate to each student no matter what the playing level, interest, or knowledge base they might have. He spoke to his more senior student/player friends often about this. He wanted to meet the student more than half-way. He was willing to create different explanations of the same subject for different groups of users.

2) Ted studied and reviewed music all the time and was extremely sensitive to even the tiniest sound. He often discovered things he had overlooked, or more often, things that were now of interest to himself or a student and which had not been before. His depth of knowledge empowered him to see subjects from different perspectives. His empathy and experience helped him see what his students were trying to learn. For example: On the recorded lessons you’ll often here him discuss early rock, blues, and do-wop musical styles. When he does, he has the same encyclopedic knowledge that he shows in more traditional topics. It’s a great example of his detailed listening and analysis. I once received a 15-minute lesson on the old blues rock song “Money,” including the various melodies and parts included in the first recording, etc. Who knew?

3) Ted was a very critical thinker. When he reviewed a page of his own lessons and found them lacking in some way, he would attack them in order to make them better. You’ll often see multiple versions of the same page, which is why we started dating the file names to distinguish them.

A Little Goes a Long Way

One of the greatest challenges on this site is the omission of our views on how to learn Ted’s material. This is deliberate. Presenting the material for your review is fair and unbiased, and it’s all Ted. When we have to explain a “Ted-ism,” that explanation gets a LOT of thought, and we carefully note that it is NOT Ted’s text or instruction, but ours. A little opinion may slip in sometimes, but we try to be transparent as to who is saying what. We rarely speak for Ted, and certainly not for his teaching. This leaves the new user with the task of exploring the lessons on his/her own.

With that in mind, players newly approaching a Ted topic might consider the following approach:

1. Always start with the oldest material first. I’ve found Ted’s pages from the 70’s tend to be much more accessible for new students then some of the later pages. You may choose to study the later ones, but if you read the older ones first you can often see his “thought-tracks” over time as he worked to explain something.

2. As students, we always seem to be in a hurry. Stop. Take a page in small bites, no matter how obvious you may find the information. Ted often sequenced ideas in a particular order so as to lead the reader someplace – perhaps to an unexpected place. Be ready to go with him. Remember, he rarely gave out ten pages in a single lesson. To see the value of the “little bit” approach I encourage you to view the opening 8 minutes of the Musicians Institute Video Seminar here:
(This link can be found in our “Transcriptions” section under “Musician’s Institute Seminar.”)

Ted’s casual explanation of minor sounds in this seminar is a whole series of lessons crammed into just a few minutes. That small section of the video is a real guitar lesson, whether just playing it by ear, or analyzing the harmony. The discussion applies not only to Ted’s chord tools, but to rock and blues improvisation. Not bad for 8 minutes or so.

3) Feel free to explore the wide set of topics the site has to offer, but do NOT become a professional tourist. When you find something interesting, apply it immediately. These pages are not collectable baseball cards – Ted created them to help you to enjoy music and to expand your playing. Help share all his care and love of playing through your playing.

4) Have courage if you find some of the material (or the size of the collection) daunting. This site has a unique part which everyone should use: the other players here. Ask questions (in the Forums or through the contact pages). Someone will answer. Thousands of guitarists have travelled through this material over the last 50 years. They can help. In fact, in looking back over the site’s history I can’t recall when a question was NOT answered. That commitment is pretty unusual for any website, but, as new players discover every day, Ted inspired players in their heart as well as their music. If you’ve been around this site for several years, revisit the Forums and help yourself learn. The community is waiting.

Now let’s see what is new.

* * * * *

Paul here: Hold on for a moment, Leon. Before we get to the new lesson pages, I wanted to give a quick “thank you” shout-out to our contributors this month: Mark Fitchett for his recorded audio lesson with Ted (keep ‘em comin’!); Mike De Luca for his diligent proofreading of all the new material; and to John March for providing us with his copy of Ted’s “How Long Has This Been Going On” arrangement.

I also wanted to mention that we at the team have now posted (almost) all of Ted’s arrangements and comping pages. Our “Official TG Archive” doesn’t claim to have everything Ted ever wrote. Some things got misplaced or lost over the years, and so there are bound to be some unique “Ted pages” floating around the globe, sitting in some spiralbound notebook on the shelf of some of Ted’s old students. Case in point: the new arrangement this month came from John March’s private collection. We didn’t have it.

So we’d like to encourage any of you who were lucky enough to study privately with Ted to please: look through your pages and compare them against what we’ve already posted on the site. Do you have something we don’t? Well, we sure would love a copy of it... and would benefit many other guitarists around the world. Please contact us so we can work something out. Even if you don’t have a scanner…we can help. All too soon the time will come when all of Ted’s private students will be gone, and some of those missing lesson pages may be lost forever. So please check your library of lessons. Thank you!

Now, let’s check to see what’s new this month…

~ Your friends on the Team


* How Long Has This Been Going On? [Here we have Ted’s take on a classic Gershwin tune. Interesting to see that Ted began in the key of G, and then after the bridge modulated to the key of Gb – 1/2 step down! Kind of unusual. but of course Ted makes any modulation work and sound great. This arrangement is rather challenging in places, so don’t feel bad about substituting some of the tough chords with ones you’re comfortable with. Thanks again to John March for providing us with his copy of this arrangement. Notation and lyrics combined with Ted’s grids.]

* 1991-09-04, Ted Greene Lesson with Mark Fitchett. [mp3 file, 320 kbps, time: 48:23. Some points discussed in this lesson: “Isn’t everything really I, IV, V?” Every chord has its own vibe in the key.
Review of lesson page on “10ths and Inner Pedal.”
Review of “Long Diatonic Cycle of 4ths Progressions” page.
How to begin improvising in Baroque style. Voicing Group V-11, V-5, V-12.]

* Classical and Romantic Progressions, 1975-11-08 and 1976-05-09. [Ted wrote: “For establishing a home key or new key using two modulators to new I or other chords in new key.” All these examples begin with some Cm chord and end with some Eb chord, and a “transitional” chord in between. This makes for some moving lines that you may find interesting. Newly drawn grids for easy reading. And we added the chord names, since Ted just named the first ones of each group and assumed you’d know that they apply to the rest of the examples as well.]

* Descending Chromatic Bass Line, Voice-Leading Progressions, 1977-09-19. [This is a nice collection of progression with descending bass lines utilizing diminished 7th or dominant 7b9 chords between the diatonic chords. Notation combined with Ted’s grids.]

* Good Modulating Progressions, 1976-03-10, 19 and 1977-04-23. [This lesson was tacked on at the bottom of Ted’s “Classical and Romantic Progressions” page, but 4 months later. They’re related, so you might want to work on both of them together. He presented us with progressions using chord names only, so you’ll have to work out your own voicings, voice-leading, and fingerings. Typed text for easy reading…you’re welcome!]

* Key of Eb Diatonic Movement Modulating to G. [This untitled and undated page is from a lesson Ted intended to give to his students, but it seems he didn’t finalize it, since he was usually religious about titling and dating his “formal” lesson pages. Here you’ll find several ties between the chords, so watch your fingering to be sure those notes sustain while the others move. (That’s one key to getting the “Ted” sound.) Notation and chord names provided and combined with Ted’s diagrams.]

* 20th Century Chord Progressions (1977). 1977-04-05. [Ted wrote: “In general, the sounds on this page can be given the name: Color Chords.” All of the examples are given in Roman numerals, so you’ll have to work out your own voicings. This requires more thinking and experimentation on your part, but the reward is the creative discovery of your own collection of chord moves with a deeper understanding of how they were derived. Typed out text for easy reading. On this page Ted also wrote the following, which I think is worth adding here in its entirety:

All progressions can be played in various voicings and inversion, and, because each progression is so short, it is wise to learn to string them together into long chains of sounds.

Especially, please note that sounds of great beauty arise out of stringing together progressions from different groups.

To make all sounds really come to life, think melodically, that is, try to link your progressions together with nice melodies. (This is pretty easy, fortunately, because melodies are built right into chords, if you look for them.)

For clearer understanding of all this, see the example pages and notice in particular that voice-leading (the science of minimum movement) is the norm rather than the exception.

Finally, with the application of the concept of modulation, you will really have something going for you.]

* 20th Century Chord Progressions – Major Key, 1975-01-18. [Using Roman numerals, Ted lists a ton of examples for major key progressions. He groups them as: 1) Diatonic Types, 2) Diminished 7th and Blues Progressions, 3) Modern Secondary Harmony, and 4) Borrowed Majors. Retyped text to save you from eye strain.]

* 20th Century Minor Key Chord Progressions, 1975-02-22. [Similar to Ted’s page on 20th Century Chord Progression – Major Key, yet on this page Ted has grouped them differently. The groups are: 1) Streams, 2) Two-Chord Progressions, 3) Three-Chord Progressions, 4) Four-Chord Progressions. He then lists Longer Cycle Patterns and Parallel Voicings or Voice-Leading. Retyped text so it’s easy to follow.]

Ted on YouTube

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The Official Ted Greene Forums

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

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- - - - - - - - - - - - - - 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.


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