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February 2021 Newsletter


Warm February greetings to all Ted Greene fans, friends, students, and lovers of harmony.

This month we’d like to share with you some more comments about Ted, taken from the Ted Greene Memorial Blog.

* * * * *

The first time I met Ted at a little guitar store in Reseda, nearly 30 years ago, it changed the way I thought about guitar forever. To this day whenever I come up with something I feel good about on guitar, I think about how Ted might approach it. And I wonder if I could make it better or use a more interesting chord voicing, as he might have. Of his passing, the world will be a much less interesting place without Ted Greene in it. I am honored to have ever known him. I am humbled by his genius, and I am blessed to have shared music and thoughts and ideas with him, and I am deeply saddened by his passing.

We spoke to Ted a couple of weeks ago, and one of the last things he said to me was, “I’m thinking about getting out and playing more because I’m finally happy with my playing.” My God, I thought. I will truly miss Ted’s encouragement on my own playing, and his kind words of inspiration. Every time I saw Ted play, when I picked up a guitar I looked at it in a new way. Thank God that Ted spent his life teaching and passing his great musical knowledge to as many people as possible. There is no greater achievement than this. His death is a huge loss to the guitar community. To Dan Sawyer, thank you my friend for putting this website together. It means so much for those of us who knew and loved Ted to voice our respect for him.
~ Jeff Lund

* * * * *

OK, it’s 1971 and I’m finally old enough to hit the bars. My friend Mike Rogers (son of Shorty) says we have to go see Ted play at some little joint on Van Nuys Blvd. It’s just a hole in the wall, but the band is rockin’ and Ted just SHINES!

Many years later I got Ted a gig at a reception, having talked the people into a solo guitarist. Ted shows up with a little fender amp and Tele, plunks his but down and just plays. A couple hours go by and everyone is having dinner. I arranged for Ted’s meal and go up to let him know he should take a break and sit and eat with everyone.

“Ted, come on let’s grab a bite.”
“No thanks, man.” he says.
“Come on man, the food’s really good here and you haven’t stopped playing for 2 1/2 hours.”

He looks up at me, and without missing a lick says, “I don’t need to eat. I don’t need a break. I just want to keep playing guitar.”
~ Loni Specter

* * * * *

It is so hard for me to write about Ted. Personally, I am devastated. He was my dear friend for almost 40 years. We spent thousands of hours talking over these many decades. I’ve never loved or admired any man as much as Ted. I can hear him saying, now, “Bill, Bill, don’t make a big deal of this.” It’s with mixed feelings that I write about him. He really wouldn’t want us to make a fuss. He was such a modest and good man. I know that he would want all the people that loved him to go on and be happy.

For his music legacy, for those who ask, or wonder if there is more recorded Ted Greene music, the answer is tons. Books? So many complete, and in-progress unpublished. Ted was so passionate about his work.

His memory was legendary. He remembered everything, but he also wrote everything down. His whole life is in notes. Ted recorded so much, and others have recordings of him. My prayer – and others that knew him – is that, first of all: they will be preserved, and handled with dignity.

I was one of the people that saw Ted on Friday. He was happy, excited, and passionate about life. We debated about the time of our next session. Ted, “One o’clock, let’s do one o’clock.” “Ted, man, I hate to do that. It is your day off. I don’t want you working that late on your day off.” (We would often talk for hours if I was his last student, and he NEVER charged me. “Bill, Bill, what would you charge me if I needed your services? Enough said.” You cannot argue with Ted. Well, you can, but you will never win.)

Ted says, “It’s not work, man. This is fun. I love doing this.” He turns to Jim Hindes and says, “I love to help people.” And to me he adds, “You know what it’s like. You help people.” “Yes, yes, I help people.” I think to myself, “But what I truly LOVE is being here with you.” I thank God for the short time we spent together. I would give anything for more….
~ William Perry

* * * * *

I started guitar lessons with Ted when I was 16 or 17 in the 1970’s. I went regularly every week for probably 5 years or more to his home in Woodland Hills. I was a guitar teacher at McCabe’s guitar shop during that time. Then I became a lawyer (big mistake), but still kept playing. In 1993 my home burned down in Malibu (along with all my guitars), and I ran into Ted at the local Ralphs supermarket. He offered to loan me a guitar (but McCabe’s donated one to me, so I didn’t need it).

I considered Ted to be my friend and guitar mentor. I owe Ted pretty much all of my guitar knowledge, and have always been grateful for that. His approach to the guitar and to music was a true inspiration to me.

At the end of June 2005, I went to his place for a brush-up lesson. We were going to set up a two-hour follow-up lesson, but I don’t think he ever got my phone message to do that.

On Monday I drove by his apartment building on Burbank on my way to work and saw a firetruck in front. Having gone through a fire myself, I pulled over to make sure there was no fire. When I saw there was no fire, I left. But now I realize that is when they found Ted’s body.

I will truly miss Ted, and am really sad I didn’t get some more “brush-up” lessons with him. But I will always have good thoughts of him, and I have good memories of the many years of guitar studies with him, which will remain with me forever.
~ Steve Brodie

* * * * *

I first met Ted when I was 17 for a lesson. I knew after that first lesson my life had changed! No one has come even close to reaching the level of harmonic mastery on the guitar than Ted! Truly the most inspiring, humble, and giving man that I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. He was a TRUE genius! This is an inaccurate and wildly exaggerated word when it is most often used. However, Ted absolutely was a genius, not unlike Edison, Einstein, etc. He just (luckily for all of us) decided to apply that great mind to guitar.

He meant the world to me as a hero and as a friend. No matter what was going on in my life, when I was walking up his stairs for a lesson I had a smile on my face, because there was no place I’d rather be. Goodness just poured out of him, and during the time of the lessons, everything just seemed right in the world. I hope due credit is given to the absolute authority of the guitar: one Mr. Ted Greene! His impact on so many of us will not be forgotten.
~ Gabriel Moses

* * * * *

Grids, grids, and more grids! This month we focused on posting some of Ted’s pages that are chocked full of grid chord diagrams. These pages often seem to cry out to be given a cleaner, easy-to-read, and clearer presentation. Ted’s original pages are sometimes difficult to read, either because the pages are worn and faded, or because there is just too much information jam-packed onto each page, giving it a cluttered look that can be challenging to decipher.

In redrawing Ted’s grids, we take the liberty to put the fret number in a more logical position, using the method that Ted adopted in the later years of his life. He thought it best for the fret number to be parallel with the root of the chord form. And the root can be located on any string, not just the lower strings.

If there is no root in a chord form, then Ted would place the fret number parallel with a “visual” root. Ted’s reason for doing this was to help the student see the chord form in terms of chord tones (root, 3rd, 5ths, 9ths, etc.), which also helps one to better learn the fingerboard. In cases where there is no logical visual root that can be easily related to the chord, we then revert to Ted’s old method of putting the fret number parallel with the uppermost fret space. I hope this makes sense and answers any questions of why the redrawn grids have different fret number placements.

Related to the fret number changes in the diagrams is the placement of the dots. Very often the dots on our new diagrams are placed either higher or lower than where Ted originally placed them. The purpose for the changes is to graphically show the movement of a progression of diagrams up or down the guitar fingerboard. This helps one to see the flow of the chords as you would on the guitar neck when playing the sequence. It’s not always possible to do this, but when it is, we make those changes. This doesn’t change anything about the chords as Ted wrote them…it merely adds a bit of graphic clarity. Many of us tend to remember when we have visual aids. If you prefer, you can always look at the original pages, which we always include at the end of each PDF file.

Special thanks to Mike De Luca for proofreading all the new material, and to Mark Fitchett for his monthly audio recorded lesson with Ted. Also, we want to thank Tomás Campbell for one more of his wonderful compilations detailing another facet of Ted’s approach to music and life.

Enjoy the new material!

* * * * *

~ Your Friends on the Team


* 1991-02-20 Ted Greene Lesson with Mark Fitchett. [Mp3 file; time 24:20. Ted goes over harp-harmonics and “chime chords.” Guitar wiring: replacing a 1 meg potentiometer with a 250k one for a richer tone. Double-note harmonics in 4-note chords to create chord clusters. Scales resulting from harp-harmonics.]

* Examples of Common (major key) Chord Progressions, 1975-01-11. [Ted gives us 21 examples of unaltered (diatonic) ii-V’s, 19 examples of altered ii-V’s, and then 7 examples of ii-V-i (diatonic and altered) in minor keys. He advised us to play them all first as given, and then with diatonic decorations. This is where you insert your own personal touch to these and make them your own. We created new grid diagrams for clarity and ease of reading.]

* III – VI – II – V with Contrary Motion, 1975-10-17. [Here Ted has 65 examples of a very useful progression using contrary motion: the melody line moves up while the harmony moves down. Forty-five in the key of Eb, 19 in the key of Ab, and 1 in either Ab or D. Newly drawn grids.]

* Minor7 Family (relative major also) Viewed from Melody, 1973-10-12. [Ted grouped this collection of 126 forms according to the melody or soprano tone. Twenty-five with Root on top; 15 with 9th on top; 20 with b3rd on top; 20 with 4th (or 11th) on top; 21 with the 5th on top; and 27 with the b7th in the soprano. He designated the ones he felt were well-suited for ensemble playing with a red dot, and he gave a star to indicate the ones that should be learned first. We redrew these forms and added chord names to the forms. Since these are meant to be moveable forms, we did not add any root letters to the names. All are interpreted according to the minor chord view. To see it instead as its relative major, simply use the b3 note of the minor chord as the new root, and adjust the chord quality accordingly. For example, for the first chord on the first page we see it as an Fm7; to see it as its relative major would be Ab6.]

* Modern Chord Progressions, 1973-12-17. [Five progressions in the key of A. Ted gives us the grids, chord names, and Roman numeral analysis for each. New diagrams provided.]

* Modern Chord Progressions (V7 – I), 1976-05-29. [This page was originally written in standard music notation using the grand staff. This was not written for guitar, so it is unclear as to how or why Ted devised these voices. Although this page was filed away in Ted’s Teaching Archives folder, it might have actually been something that belongs in his Personal Music Studies collection. We have created new notation to make it easier to read, but still, you’ll need to make modifications in order to adapt these examples to guitar. Good luck.]

* Modern Chords, 1975-01-11. [Here’s another collection of chords that Ted grouped according to chord types: major, m7, m7b5, diminished 7th, m6, minor-major7ths, and dominants. Ted had two copies of his original page: one with yellow dots to indicated important or “essential” forms to know; and the second copy has almost every chord highlighted in yellow. I guess that means they’re all important! Newly drawn grids to save your eyes.]

* Modern Chords in Basic Chord Progressions, 1977-02-18. [In this lesson Ted provides several examples for three basic progressions: 1) I-V; 2) I-V7sus-I; and 3) ii7-V7 (i7-IV7). As usual he gives some advice for practice: “Try in lots of different rhythmic feels, with and without melodic decoration.” And “Repeat each progression (that is, play it twice in a row).” Newly drawn grids.]

* The Real Thing, 199x-09-11. [This is a wonderful jazz tune that is virtually unknown. You can hear Mel Tormé sing it on YouTube – but other than that it seems to be invisible on the Internet. Ted had a lead sheet that he used for writing up his comping study, but we’re missing both Ted’s page 2 and the second page of the lead sheet. We’ve included the last part of the song without Ted’s chords, so you can finish it with your own chord choices. This is a pretty difficult study to play through, so take it easy. Music notation combined with Ted’s grids provided. Good luck.]

Under the header of “Contributions by Tomás Campbell"

* Ted Greene’s Philosophies. [This document is a collection of some of Ted’s thoughts about life, music, guitar, and everything in between – as taken from Barbara Franklin’s book, My Life with the Chord Chemist, from Ted’s notes in the “Other” section on, from Ted’s seminars, and from private recorded lessons with various students.]

* Ted Greene Talkin’ Wes. [This is an updated edition of the document that Tomás posted several months ago. This new version includes material that was not in earlier editions.]

Under the header of “Contributions by Tony Do Rosario"

* Ted Greene Video Lesson with Tony Do Rosario, 1999 (transcript). [This document provides a transcript and a YouTube link to a video recorded private lesson with Ted talking about some Wes Montgomery “tricks.”]

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

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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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