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Fall 2022 Newsletter


Warm Greetings to all friends, fans, and students of Ted!

If you’re here for the first time we’d like to invite you to look through our past newsletters. There’s some very interesting articles and stories about Ted that you may enjoy reading. . They date back to 2006, and are rich with some history about the TedGreene com site and other info from those connected with its development, mainly Barbara Franklin, Ted’s partner for many years.

Before we get into the new lesson material, we’d like to share with you some words from guitarist/educator Rich Severson that he wrote for the Ted Greene Memorial Blog back in 2005. Rich is a former GIT instructor and studio veteran. Today Rich owns and operates, famous for its online study courses.

* * * * *

Ted was one of the kindest and gentlest souls I’ve ever met. He was always so nice to me. Last time we spoke he was reminiscing about the guitar I had 30 years ago. Ted remembered everything. He was a one of a kind.

I first met Ted in 1973. I was playing at a bowling alley in Reseda, CA, and the drummer of the band knew Dale Zdenek who owned a local music store. He invited Dale to come down to hear me play. Dale soon after offered me a job teaching at the store, and that’s when I met Ted. At that time Ted looked like a crazed hippy with long hair and a full beard. I had heard of Ted as a blues player, but after meeting him I realized he was into every form of music.

The first piece I heard him play was Bach on his Gibson 345 that had more switches on it then the space shuttle. He had installed capacitors to make it sound like a harpsichord. What a blessing it was to teach in the room next to Ted. When most teachers would have a cancellation, they would take a break. But Ted would say, “Come on in and let’s play,” or “Come on in, I want to show you something.” What a treat!

It was like a family at that store with Ted and Dale and his wife Linda and the others teachers. Ted also rewired my 1968 Gibson 335 during a student cancellation, because the volume control affected the tone. It was a manufacture flaw that he pointed out to Gibson, and which they later changed.

Ted showed me so many things. One evening as we were leaving the store after teaching all day, I told him how I would really like to learn how he did those harmonic rolls of his. So right there in the parking lot he pulled out his guitar and gave me a lesson. That’s how Ted was. When I sit down to play, so much of it I can say, “Ted showed me that,” – even about how to adjust a guitar neck. All of my teaching materials have the fingerprints of Ted’s work

I remember the day Dale received the first shipment of Ted’s Chord Chemistry book at the store. That day changed everything. Ted’s book took off, and so did Dale’s publishing business. Soon after, Dale closed the doors on the store and opened another in publishing. Ted moved his teaching to his home.

I was also blessed to have three books published by Dale, along with players like Tommy Tedesco, Joe Diorio, John Kurnick, Ron Anthony, Leon White, and of course Ted. Most of those books are now out of print except for Ted’s. Ted has always had an underground following from students searching for something new. After the store was sold, I only saw Ted at company parties where sometimes we would play together. But the real treat was to hear him play solo guitar. I still remember hearing his arrangement of “Angles We Have Heard on High” and seeing Tommy Tedesco’s jaw drop. His use of counterpoint, walking bass lines, harmonics, unusual chord voicings, and an overall great harmonic sense was just mind boggling.

The last couple of years I bugged Ted to come up to our Yosemite workshops. He always said, “Someday I will,” but everyone knows he barely got out of his house. I also wanted to interview him for our video magazine, but we never got together. Sadly, I dropped the ball on seeing him during my last trip to LA and didn’t call him.

I did go to California Vintage Guitar store on that trip and found a Guild x50 that I really liked. When Dan, the owner, told me that Ted had just brought it in, I snatched it up. I was holding off on telling Ted about it because I wanted to surprise him with a video segment I did for the magazine where I used that guitar. But that surprise was missed as well.

Here’s a Ted gem: I had been sending him issues of our video magazine for his students, and when I spoke with him last, he said that he wanted to give me a free phone lesson for them in return. I was just happy that he had looked at them!

- Rich Severson

* * * * *

In the New Items this month we continue with our mission of posting of all of Ted’s 5-Note Chord Voicing series. Some of these lessons have multiple pages (7, 9, 10, and 17 pages!) so each one takes considerable time to prepare for publishing. Though many of the chords may seem esoteric, unplayable, or unusable, they do have a place in guitar pedagogy. Ted was exploring, discovering, defining, and cataloging things for the guitar as no one else has done (to my knowledge). Even though he never completed this massive organizational project, he did make a substantial dent in the research and creation of reference pages for application. We hope you’ll be able to glean something from Ted’s efforts to further the guitar’s possibilities.

We’d like to thank the wonderful contributors to this newsletter:

  • James Hober – for his 3-note and 5-note tone gap pages now found in the “From Students” section, and for his help in proofreading some of Ted’s 5-note voicing lessons.
  • Mike De Luca – for proofreading and musical advice and support.
  • Rich Severson – for his stories of memories of Ted.
  • Hak Yu Lee – for transcribing a portion of Ted’s “A Session with the Stars” video.
  • John C. McCain – for sharing his audio tape of two recorded correspondence lessons from Ted.

A hearty applause of appreciation for your continued help in spreading Ted’s music, teachings, and life.

~ Your Friends on the Team


In the “Lessons with John C. McCain” section:

* Ted Greene Recorded Lesson for John C. McCain, 1989. [mp3, 320 kbps – 46:17 minutes. This recording comes from a 1989 cassette tape of a correspondence lesson with Ted Greene. Ted made this tape for him in 1989 (and part 2 in 1991). Here Ted talking and playing to John on his cassette tape recorder.]

* Ted Greene Recorded Lesson for John C. McCain, 1991. [mp3, 320 kbps – 46:11 minutes. This was made in 1991, and is a continuation of the correspondence recorded lesson from 1989. Ted's wit and charm really comes across here. The lesson gives a great insight into how Ted thinks about music and the guitar. Useful information and amazing playing, a rare treasure.]

* Baroque and Classical-Romantic Symmetric Progressions, 1977-08-06 and 1977-08-31. [Here Ted gives us several progressions with Roman numeral analysis and examples for classical ideas. Text translation and grids added for easy reading/studying.]

* Examples of Baroque Modulation, 1974-12-12. [Using Roman numeral Ted describes several examples for modulating from I to ii, I to iii, and I to IV. Retyped text for easy reading.]

* Indicative Examples of Baroque – For Improvisation and Composing, 1974-07-04. [The full title of this page includes “of Baroque Rhythmic, Metric, and Textural Thinking for Improvisation and Composing.” Mostly 4-to-1 or 3-to-1 textures written in standard notation. Ted provided the Roman numerals; we added the chord names. You need to figure out the fingerings. Great ideas for getting starting with Baroque improv.]

* Semi-Contrary, Real Contrary, Accompaniment Techniques, Broken Chords, 1974-08-27. [From Ted’s Personal Music Studies, this page contains a collection of misc. ideas, mostly for Baroque improvisation and general accompaniment. New notation provided and chord grid diagrams where applicable.]

* Typical Key Schemes and General Plans for Baroque Improvisation, 1975-08-07. [This short page is kind of a map to some ways Ted thought about Baroques improvising. Text translation for easy reading.]

* 4-Note 7th and 6th Chords, 1980-02-17. [All with A roots, these are some great hand-stretching chord, many of which are probably best tackled by transposing to the higher regions of the fretboard. New notation and chord diagrams provided. You may discover other chord forms, locations, or fingerings that work also…and don’t forget to try using open strings when available.]

* Bi-Diatonic and Tri-Diatonic Systems, 1978-07-23. [This is new for me! Perhaps Ted coined these terms? He created harmonized chord scales, as well as scale-wise melodies and progressions by combining two related tonalities. In this case (supposedly “Type 1”) he combined chords from the C major and C Aeolian scales. Original written as notation only, we’ve added chord diagrams with new notation. There are several possibilities for other chord forms, but we’ve tried to select common ones that seem to fall on the neck in close proximity to the others in the example. There are some pretty cool sounds here. Check it out.]

* Embellished Chords – Miscellaneous. [This is an early undated page from Ted, probably from the late 1960’s or early 1970’s. Here he wrote a collection of embellished chords: that is, ones that have extensions of the 7, 9, 6, 11, and 13, but no alterations (save #11, thinking of it as a natural extension of the Lydian scale). Ted gave no indication of the names of the chords, nor fret numbers. We redrew the chord diagrams and assigned them all to a C root, and provided a name for each form.]

Under the header “5-Note Chord Voicings”

* Chord Homonyms for 5-Note Voice Chords, 1980-02-17 and 1984-06-08. [On this sheet, Ted lists all 40 of his 5-note chord voicings: P (“Pentatonic”) or F (“Five-Note”) and the chord names in which they can be interpreted. Ted wrote: “There are 40 non-chromatic types, each of course with many names, and in the 40+ rows or spacings, and with five forms [inversions] per row.” We retyped this for clarity, and included both the “original” page and a copy on which Ted added some additional info.]

* 5-Note C7/6, C9, and C13 Chords, 1980-06-15. [Another collection of 5-note chord voicings from Ted. Here he examines C7/6 (or Gm6/9/11), C9 (or Gm6/11, Em7b5, F#7alt., or Am11b9), and C13 (or Gm6/9/11). Ted wrote only them in standard notation, but we took the next step to provide chord diagrams. Some of these are monster hand-stretchers, but with the use of your right-hand on the fretboard they become a little less frightening.]

* 5-Note Major Type Chords – Locational Organization, 1985-12-25 thru 29. [This was a big 14-page project for Ted, which is part of a much larger project of trying to organize all of the 5-note chords on the guitar. This page focuses on major types. We present it here with Ted’s original page, and have provided text translation and redrawn grids only for those girds that appear in the margins. As Ted would probably say, review it and try to play thru it all, but just find a few that you love, concentrate on applying them, and put the others to rest for another time. Enjoy!]

* 5-Note Regular Major Type Chord Extensions, 1985-02-16, 17, 18. [Another collection of major type 5-noters. Ted wrote here: “This series or step of the way involves relisting all of the systematic 5-note inversions (no doubled tones!) by location and/or favorable register, allowing for A as a rough starting point, even if it isn’t always ideal.” And, “I can’t recall with certainty, but this seems to be my earlier attempt at ‘locational’ or ‘geographic’ organization.” We have typed out Ted’s handwritten text and provided redrawn grids for the ones that he drew in the top margin of page 1.]

* 5-Note Voicings (Am9 and Cmajor7/6 Types and Others), 1980-06-15. [These chords come from a page titled simply, “5-Note Voicings,” most of which focuses on Am9 and Cmaj7/6 types. Ted gave us the notation, and we added the grids. Many of these chord forms are quite challenging, and you may discover other possible forms or fingerings. Again, find one or two from the collection that you like, and concentrate on those alone.]

* 5-Note Voicings – Top and Bass Notes Constant, 1984-06-29. [These pages give us a glimpse into how Ted approached the organization of the 5-note chords. One of the many comments he wrote on these pages: “There are between 35 and 50 useable V.G. (Voicing Group) types of 5-noters, each with its inversions (Wow!). So…between 1500 and 2500 chords, not to mention the duplicate and alternate fingerings and forms. I’m overwhelmed, frustrated, and thrilled…so much fussy detail work remains…” We typed out the text and notation to make it all easier to read, study, and absorb.]

* 5-Voice Chord Types, 1980-02-17 and 1984-06-08. [These are some early pages from Ted on organizing 5-note chords. Retyped text and notation, and chord grid diagrams have been added as an aid to studying this collection.]

* Voicing Possibilities for 5-Note Chords for Guitar, 1980-02-17. [Another early page for 5-note chord voicing explorations…this time the focus is on Amaj9 chords. New notation and grid chord diagrams provided.]

* A Session with the Stars – Jazz Progression #4 ending – Transcribed by Hak Yu Lee. [Transcribed from the “A Session with the Stars” video, this covers the ending Ted added to the end of Jazz Progression #4. Standard notation and TAB. Thanks, Hak Yu Lee!]

Under the header “Contributions from James Hober”

* 3-Note Voicing Groups Speculation.  [James Hober (our V-System expert) makes an educated guess about how Ted might have organized and defined all the various voicing possibilities on guitar for triads. Using the standard notation (“soprano tour” or soprano common tone), and showing the chord tone gaps numbering system for all 9 voicings. (See the V-System for a complete explanation of chord tone gaps.)]

* 5-Note Voicings Chord Tone Gap Table.  [James wrote on this page: “In Ted’s Personal Studies, there is a page from 2002 and 2003 entitled, “5-Note Voicings: A Review,” which lists all of his five-note voicing groups from P-1 to P-44. Below is the chord tone gap table that corresponds to these voicing groups. (See the V-System for a complete explanation of chord tone gaps.)]

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* 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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