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June 2020 Newsletter


Summer Greetings to all home-sheltered guitarist and lovers of harmony around the world!

In last month’s Newsletter (May 2020) we spoke about Ted and his targeted approach to identifying and communicating various emotional feelings. Chord Chemistry was also mentioned, and as it turns out, there is still some confusion among guitarists about this book. Those of you who are reading this Newsletter probably know how to use Chord Chemistry and when and where it can help your playing. But out on the Internet it seems that there are many guitarists around the world who do not understand this, and sometimes criticize the book.

We’d like to ask your help: to guitarists who misunderstand Ted’s book, especially those who make negative or uneducated postings on message boards about Chord Chemistry – please speak up and offer them some clarity to help them better understand what it’s all about. When I saw the word “useless” to describe the book, it hurt. Perhaps when and if you cross paths with some of these folks (who probably never even bothered to read the Introduction) you could help explain the book’s content, the ways you have used it, and any tips you might have to help them realize what an important and groundbreaking book this was (and still is). It is on its own level, and it isn’t structured like other guitar “method books.”

At we’ve recently re-posted the Trail Guide to Chord Chemistry book to help in this effort to provide some clarity. Everyone who visits the site certainly has their own testimony of the many wonderful ways the book has helped them, the various way it may be approached, and when it may be too difficult for beginners – and most importantly how it has changed your playing and musical understanding. So you all can become ambassadors for Ted. Share your experiences with them.

After hundreds of thousands of copies sold, with published articles, forums discussions, and other sites (like Tim Lerch’s) testifying and praising Ted’s book, we might have come to the conclusion that this kind of “defense” is unnecessary. But there’s a new generation of players who are now just discovering Chord Chemistry for the first time, and I suspect they may never have experienced any teaching quite like Ted’s. Granted, it was printed long before computers were in use for making slick graphic chord diagrams, charts, and music notation. In addition, many of the contents are in Ted’s own handwriting – and this may be a challenge for some. Those comments in the book really capture an aspect of Ted, and we can all enjoy them in one way or another. One needs to look beyond the “rough” presentation and see the magnificent content and thoroughness that the book encapsulates – keeping in mind that these chord diagrams and concepts are not just fanciful musings of a music scholar, but the come from a person who not only played it all, but did so with easy, grace, elegance, and beauty. Ted “walked his talk,” or more accurately stated, he “played his teachings.”

New folks shouldn’t be frustrated with a book like Chord Chemistry, and we can help them understand when and where to investigate it as a REFERENCE, and make sure they keep in mind that it is NOT A METHOD. Ted would be the first person to say that his book was not meant to be read from cover to cover, but, like George Van Ep’s Harmonic Mechanisms for Guitar, one should skip around and find something they love and go deep into that one thing. Then come back later and find something else that they love. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Another possible solution for a response to outward criticism of Chord Chemistry would be to simply direct them to Ted’s other chordal book, Modern Chord Progressions. All one has to do is to play some of the examples in it – immediate gratification may be easily achieved that way.

In any event, we hope you’ll help to support and explain what you know about Chord Chemistry when you encounter these types of confusion or negativity. None of us can really speak for Ted, but we can speak for ourselves and tell others how we have applied Ted’s wisdom and beauty to further our own musical understanding and expressions. There is a definite shortage of beauty in the world right now. Thank you.

* * * * *

Just to add to Leon White’s above message, I’d like to encourage you all to periodically go to YouTube and do a search for “Ted Greene” and then filter the search for recent uploads. It seems that every week there are one, two, or more postings of guitarists playing some of Ted’s arrangements or other lessons. Some of them are simply beautiful. These players are bringing life to Ted’s pages, and this can help others to get at least an inkling of one way to interpret them. Be sure to “like” their videos and also to add a comment if you want to show some support to the artists. It doesn’t cost you anything, but it can be a nice boost to someone who is making a determined effort at trying to learn to improve his playing. These videos do bring some needed beauty to this world, as Leon stated above..

~ Your friends on the Team


* A Ticket to Ride, 1989-11-22. [Here’s yet another one of Ted’s arrangements for our “Beatles Tunes” section. Ted made grids for the A section, but nothing for the B section. There are several places where Ted indicated to use the Intro arpeggiated figure as a fill. We’re provided notation and the lyrics, combined with Ted’s grids, and we also have given the notation for the B section. I guess your homework assignment would be to complete the arrangement. This seems to be about a level 1 lesson: fairly easy to play and a lot of fun.]

* Distinctive Color of bII to V in Minor Key, 1996-05-18. [This is an interesting study that involves the minor key bII to V, partly for the fretboard exercise, but mostly for the ear-training element inherent in it. Ted wants us to make a mental note and file away in our musical memory this “distinctive color.” Notation provided combined with Ted’s original grids.]
* Soprano View of Low-End Dominant Chords, 1987-05-28. [This presentation is another way of looking at the dominant chords you’re probably already using. These exercises can be helpful when you’re getting into learning “walking chords” or walking bass with chord punctuations. At the bottom of the second page Ted wrote: “Please: put emotion and taste into these studies. It’s ‘no good’ if you’re not having fun with them.” I guess that would apply to almost everything, huh? Another noteworthy comment from the first page: “Memorize everything on this page a little at a time. Transposition to other keys is certainly in order, but don’t overdo it here…meaning, once you know something, move on, rather than going over and over the material. Use good judgement.” Notation provided and chord names in blue given when needed.]

Under the “Chord Streams” header

* Mixing Functions of Close Harmony 3-Note Major Extensions, 1985-08-31. [This is a nice study for 3-note “stretch” chords with a pedal for major sounds – very useful for fills. Notation provided.]

Under the “Triads” header

* 1st Inversion Triads and Pedals in Short Song-like Passages, 1985-08-31. [Fun with triads and pedal bass notes. On Ted’s original page he wrote rhythmic instructions for each grid (such as “and of one, two and…” etc.) but in writing up the compilation page we eliminated these handwritten words from the grid diagrams, but followed their instructions for the notation. This make is easier to see the chords. Clutter free. Just follow the notation for details on the timing and the sustained notes.]
* Wild Triad Progressions. [From Ted’s Personal Music Studies files. A few weeks ago, there was some discussions in the Forums about Expanded Diatonicism, so we hunted down anything related to this and/or “Bass-Enhanced Triads.” For this page Ted wrote out the notation only, and we’ve given suggestions for the possible chord forms that Ted may have been thinking, based on the sustained notes. Other chord forms may be possible. New grids and notation given for clarity.]

Under the “Bass-Enhanced Triads” header

* American Expanded Diatonicism or Multi-Key Colors, 1990-08-22. [Here’s another short passage from Ted’s Personal Music Studies files that we dredged up to shed some light on his thinking on expanded diatonicism. Note the use of his 4th finger barre on the first and third chords. This may seem awkward at first, but Ted often used fingerings like this in order to facility the best economy of motion for transition to the next chord. Notation provided and new grid diagrams drawn for a cleaner presentation.]
* Endings, Intros, or ? Using Expanded Diatonicism and Chromatic Triads & Pedals, 1984-01-28. [Another interesting tidbit from Ted’s PMS files. Here the melody (staggered 3rds, as indicated with his see-saw illustration) is the main focus, and the harmony follow the melody using descending parallel chord forms (alternating soprano on 1st and 2nd strings). For the first example (and the alternate variation), learn it first without the 6th string bass note, then add that after you got the fingering and spacings down. It’s easier that way. Hopefully, this page will give us some understanding about Ted’s concept of “Expanded Diatonicism.” Notation and new grids provided.]

* (unknown song), page 2 only. [This page was mistakenly filed in Ted’s comping folder as the second page of “Wait till You See Her.” But it doesn’t fit the progression in any way, and the “Wait till…” comping lesson page is complete and doesn’t need a page 2. The only similarity I can see is that they both are in the key of D, have a B minor section (bridge?) and end on a D add9 chord. They’re even in different time signatures. So, after wracking our brains trying to make them fit, we (Paul V. and David Bishop) concluded that this page is an orphan. (I even checked Ted’s other comping studies to see if any of them were missing their second page. Nada.) So, you’ll have to look at this page as simply a chord study, and try to glean something from the chord choices and voice-leading that Ted put together. (I personally do like the A7b9/D to D/9 at the end!) Notation and chord qualities are given for some clarity. If anyone recognizes this progression as part of some song, by all means contact us and let us know what you think. Thanks.]
* Wait till You See Her, 1993-04-12. [Here’s a nice comping study that isn’t too difficult to play, but there are some challenges, so it’s probably for about a level 2 player. As usual, Ted provided the letter name of each chord and then asked the student to write in the chord qualities. He sometimes asked students who were new to chord tones and chord formulas to write in the chord tones numbers below each string on the grids (3, 9, R, b7, etc.). We’ve gone ahead and added the names in blue, plus added notation and the lead sheet with the standard chord changes and lyrics.]

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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