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December 2021 TedGreene.com Newsletter

Winter greetings and warm holiday wishes to all Ted Greene fans, friends, and students.

Before we jump into the new items this month, we have a few memories about Ted from his friends and former students.

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It was in the spring of 1968, and I was making my second Columbia LP of experimental rock [“The American Metaphysical Circus”]. I needed a guitar player who was far beyond the scope of rock guitarists and who could be more forward-thinking than the accomplished studio players. Someone said there was a guy in the Valley who could play rock, jazz, and Bach on electric guitar equally well. I believe that was the first time Ted recorded.

His talent and knowledge were so vast, I immediately knew I should feature him on the record. But Ted would have none of it; his modesty demanded that his role be a supporting one. I remember that he was also reluctant to join the union, but finally did, as a favor to me.

We worked together for a couple of years, and I kept trying to get him to record a solo album. It was shortly after this that he decided he just wanted to teach...the hectic routine of studio life was not what he wanted. A couple of years later, he shyly gave me an autographed copy of Chord Chemistry. After 30 years, it is still the most advanced book on modern harmony I know.

The next time we worked together was when I was arranging three Bix Beiderbecke solo piano pieces for an album I was producing for Ry Cooder (JAZZ, 1978). Ry doesn’t read music, and the music is very impressionistic, with altered 9ths and 11ths, and I asked Ted if he could do the guitar parts in tablature. As with everything Ted touched, the result was masterful, and where I had written something he found not to be idiomatic for guitar, he had quietly and anonymously fixed it.

In a business where self-promotion and big egos are the rule, Ted was a pure and dedicated artist. I left LA in 1986, so I never met Barbara [Franklin], but I am grateful to her that Ted’s last 13 years were blessed with love and understanding and happiness. I also thank all this remarkable man’s students and friends for this beautiful outpouring of love.

~ Joseph Byrd

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It was 1973 and I had sat in late one night at the Baked Potato, and after the set I asked the other guitar player (whose playing had impressed me) if he knew anyone in the area worth studying with. I had just moved out from NYC and was making the transition from R&B to Jazz and was lost.

When Ted answered the door, I knew I had the wrong address! He was as bookish and professorial-looking as my last history professor at NYU – and I just knew he didn’t know the difference between Joe Pass and Kenny Burrell. But, my God, was I wrong! I don’t want to go on and on about the talent and skills he possessed as a player and teacher, but I did want to mention a few things that changed my musical life.

Ted didn’t teach one how to play the guitar – your style was yours, and he didn’t really want to change that. But what he did that was so amazing was, he was the first person I ever met who actually taught music theory through the guitar. Normally if one really wanted to get serious about theory he had to study with the piano – but not with Ted. He laid the guitar on his lap and nothing was out of reach.

Ted taught me how to play music in a way that influenced everything I did the rest of my life. He gave me an old Tele body and rosewood neck that I used to build my first true jazz guitar.

I studied with him for almost two years, and then left and played in Europe a few years before almost cutting off the little finger on my left hand when I drunkenly tried to open oysters for a beautiful girl’s birthday. I called him after that and told him that “All I can play now is country music!” He told me to listen to Willie Nelson and Wayne Jennings and not to worry – good music was good music.

Ted was the most generous and unassuming man I ever met in my life, and I will miss knowing that he was always just up Haskell Ave., waiting for me to come back.

~ Jay Morran

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We all know what a terrific, talented, gracious, generous, loving, and modest (I could exhaust the Thesaurus!) man Ted was. He was so good to our family. When we arrived from New York City in 1987, my husband, Bob, asked every musician he met (including many top studio musicians) who he should study guitar with. They ALL said, essentially, “Well, a lot of guys study with Ted Greene.”

Bob had been Ted’s bi-weekly student (every other Thursday at 2 p.m.) for almost 20 years. In all that time Ted only raised his rates one time by $5 to a grand total of $25 for an hour of a genius’s time. When my husband asked him why he left his prices so low, he said that he didn’t want to price out any talented guitarists just because they couldn’t afford to be there. Even so, many of Ted’s students charged more to teach others. But that’s just how dedicated Ted was to the profluence of the art of guitar. Ted often talked with my husband long after the allotted time period for the lesson. Ted was a most generous man, and loaned out so many of his instruments to students and friends. When the wildfires last year were impinging on our house, the first things we loaded in our car were Ted’s loaned gear and notes.

As gentle as a man he was, Ted did not suffer fools. A student must be on time. No excuse for canceling a lesson would be accepted; like booking studio time, you better be here. And, while he was patient regarding our family distractions (since we, like any family, often have a lot of other stuff going on!), he expected his students to be prepared! So, our lives have kind of revolved around Bob’s being able to be ready for the next lesson with Ted on Thursday – for the past nearly 20 years.

Ted always agreed to play at my legal business functions, even though the lawyers in suits usually did not appreciate his talents. And he even graced our daughter’s birth by playing at her first Christmas party.

Last September (2004) while playing at one of our events, Ted started to put his guitar on the ground because he didn’t have a case for it. I scolded him, saying that he shouldn’t do that. He said that he had been given the guitar by someone who thought it didn’t sound right. But Ted could make any instrument sound right.

~ Carla & Bob

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This month’s new items come to you with the help of these generous contributors:

  • Mark Fitchett – with another recorded lesson with Ted from 1992 Christmastime.
  • Jan Jakut – with his transcription of one of Ted’s audio recordings. Jan has also offered to do other transcriptions of Ted recordings upon request (please submit your requests in the Forums).
  • Mike de Luca – for proofreading all the lesson pages, and for his suggestions for “Chi-Town Blues”
  • Nick Stasinos – for providing the Ted lesson sheet of “Layla.”

THANK YOU all for everything you do each month to help, and to all those who continue to support this site.

Happy Holidays!

~ Your friends on the TedGreene.com Team


* Layla – from Eric Clapton’s Unplugged album, 1993-01-07. [This isn’t really an arrangement, but simply Ted mapping out the chords that were used in Eric’s acoustic version of Layla on his “Unplugged” album. Written up as a request during a private lesson.]

* Skylark (Arrangement Sketches), 1996-01-02. [This fragment is for measures 15-18 of the song, which is the second half of the Bridge. It is unclear if Ted was writing this for himself or at the request of a student. We added the notation with Ted’s grids, and put them in the context of notation for the entire song, hoping that this will prove useful to those who already know this piece. Good luck.]

* 1992-12-17 Ted Greene Lesson with Mark Fitchett. [Found under the header: “Lessons with Mark Fitchett” Mp3 file with 320 kbps bit rate. Length: 20:20. In this lesson Ted explores different reharmonizations of “The Christmas Song” with Mark.]

* Chi-Town Blues, 1994-03-28, 1994-05-02. [I had been putting off writing up this page from Ted for several years. What scared me was, “How in the world will I be able to decipher this page?” Finally biting the bullet, I took a stab at it and sent samples to Mike de Luca and Tim Lerch for their feedback and ideas. The main this is that the notation can be interpreted many different ways: 4/4 with triplets, 4/4 with quarter-notes played as swing triplets, or maybe 12/8 time. I chose to notate with triplets (since Ted wrote on his original page “Triplets”), even though it may look a bit cluttery on the page. I hope you are able to get the ideas expressed by Ted, and to make them your own by playing it as you hear or feel it, and not get stuck on the dots on the page. The section at the end “For future use” has a place inside this blues, but you’ll have to find out where you think it sounds like it fits. Good luck!]

* Ascending Bass (stepwise) key of Em – Assignment, 1995-12-27. [Ted assigned the student to come up with voicings for his chord symbols, while following the ascending stepwise bass line. We humbly offer a page of suggested chord forms as one possible solution. Please explore other the many other possibilities.]

* Chord Fragments and Their Decorative Notes, 1989-09-11. [Ted might have termed this page as a “chord heart” with all the other surrounding notes that are related to the core of the harmony. Ted might have quizzed the student to describe each note – such as 9th, b9, #5, 13, etc.]

* Using I-ii/TR, I-ii/3, Imaj7-ii7 and Various I-IV or Sus Dom. V’s in Short Phrases, 1985-08-31. [14 exercises of simple progressions using various harmonic devices (such as pedal bass tones). For the first example, the “TR” in the ii/TR = the ii chord with the “Tonic Root” note in the bass (the root bass note of the Tonic or I chord of that key). Undoubtedly Ted would encourage the student to make the sustained notes ring cleanly as the chords change. On this page he wrote: “Notice that the color tone is basically the same throughout the page. It is so important to store away the sounds of music by their affinity of color (or at least I have found it to be so). It takes a long time for the stuff to flow out creating the colors you have in mind, but it’s worth all the work you can put into it.” Notation included combined with Ted’s chord diagrams.]

* Common Chords Derived from Scales, 1974-01-23. [Ted lists five “basic” scales (Major, Melodic Minor, Harmonic Minor, Melodic Hungarian Minor, Hungarian Minor) and all the chords that can be built on the various scale degrees. Each scale degree scales (mode) is also listed in terms of chord tones, or intervals. He also includes some info about Whole Tone and Diminished scales. Ted includes his “Scale Preferences” list. Typed text for easy reading and reference.]

* Solo Guitar – Song Lists, Reminders, and Notes. [This is a compilation of 10 pages in which Ted jotted down some ideas, reminders, song lists, and chord grid diagrams from various performances or playing sessions. I believe he used a letter inside a box to indicate the key he playing it or modulated to. Typed text and redrawn grids to help you read through and absorb some of these ideas.]

* Oh! Susanna – Transcribed by Jan Jakut. [This transcription comes from a short piece Ted played during his “An Afternoon with Ted” informal recording session (found in our Audio section). Thanks, Jan (keep ‘em coming!)]

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November 2021 TedGreene.com Newsletter

Greetings and welcome to all Ted Greene fans, friends, students, and lovers of harmony!

Ted had a lot of guitars. When asked how many guitars he had Barbara Franklin wrote:
“Hundreds over the course of his lifetime. During our 13 years we never counted them. Ted didn’t want to know.” And they all had unique personal names. [see Gear] And he shared them regularly with students if there was a need or special interest. Barb also wrote, “Ted’s Ibanez L-5 lived mostly at his apartment, as he loved using it during lessons and sharing her with his students…. He had a favorite saying, ‘Guitars should be played, not displayed.’” And sometimes he would help a student with the purchase or selection a guitar.

In her book, My Life with the Chord Chemist, Barb wrote: “On many occasions he would loan out guitars and amplifiers to his students, sometimes for months on end. He truly believed he could trust most people, and this was borne out, considering the hundreds of guitars and amplifiers he loaned out over the years, only rarely were they not returned.”

Below are a few accounts from the TG Memorial Blog, the TG Forums, and from emails. If you have a related story of Ted loaning you one of his instruments or helping you buy one, we’d love to hear from you in our Forums or on Ted’s Facebook page.

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I remember seeing a Guild T-100D at a pawn shop one day and told Ted about it a few days later. He recommended that I buy it, so I did. As time passed, I told him I was not too happy with the sound, that I preferred the archtop sound of his Guilds – you know how he loved his Guilds! By coincidence I saw an ad in the Recycler for a Guild X-500, and I called Ted for advice. It turned out that one of his students was selling it, so Ted put in a good word about me. I drove 60 miles to check it out. His student told me that I could take it home and try it out, without leaving a dime for it. I was shocked. This guy trusted me because he trusted Ted. I ended up buying the guitar, and all payments were made through Ted. Ted even bought my Guild T-100D so that I could use that money towards my new Guild. Just another Ted gem....
~ (no name given)

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Ted went with my mother-in-law and picked out my first guitar. He restrung it for me and showed me my first chords (playing them left-handed). It was the best birthday present I ever got. He always had such kind words, telling me “I know you’re going to do it.” The next time I saw him I was so taken by his talent I couldn’t even play, but he still told me how much I’d improved. That feeling of awe never changed, nor did his words of encouragement. He said if you ever get down on yourself, just switch hands and it will show you how far you have come. I feel so honored just to have known him. He will truly be missed!
~ Dave Kerbeck

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…I remember the time Ted insisted I borrow an early priceless ‘Broadcaster’ to check out: “Bring it back when you feel like it.”
~ Dennis Belt

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I took lessons from Ted for many years in the 80’s and 90’s. For a while he let me borrow several of his semi-hollow and archtop guitars (really fine instruments), just because I enjoyed playing them at the lessons. I remember one lesson where we took a walk to Trader Joe’s, bought a couple of sodas, and discussed the chord changes to “My Funny Valentine.” It was a great lesson even though we didn’t touch the guitar! He was a special person, a big influence and, as everyone knows, a brilliant musician.
~ Haskel Joseph

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When a luthier was re-working my neck on the Les Paul, Ted let me borrow his ‘65 Fender Jazzmaster and take it home. I had a gig during that time. I was playing with a small jazz combo out of Orange County and the baseball All-Stars wives had a dinner after the All-Star game, and we were the entertainment that year. I played Ted’s ‘65 Jazzmaster at that gig.
~ Jim Handy

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When I started studying with Ted, he loaned me one of the “Granny’s” for a while. He didn’t even really know me yet. He just said something like “Guitars are meant to be played. I know you’ll take good care of it – just be sure to keep it in the case at night.” It was one of the kindest acts of faith that anybody had ever directed towards me. Of course, I enjoyed the guitar, practiced my butt off, and returned it unharmed a few months later. I still regularly think about the experience of being trusted.
~ J. Hammond

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Once I bought a Gibson 335 clone and Ted really loved it, and said that if I ever wanted to sell it, please tell him about it first. Another time Ted offered to help me select a guitar by going to Norm’ s with me. He offered to give any guitar a thorough inspection before I laid down any cash. I thought was very nice of him.

During one of my lessons there was a knock on the door and a guy brought in a Tele that Ted had loaned him. He was so happy to see it once again, and said that guitar was named “Eggman.” Ted told me that he often loaned out guitars and sometimes forgot about them! He was extremely generous.
~ Dan Sindel

An addendum to the above story: In her book, Barbara Franklin shared the following:

Ted granted the most ardent wish of one student, “7/15/04 Chris N. is absolutely overjoyed with his new purchase of my ‘70s natural finish, ash bodied Tele, ‘Egg,’ or ‘The Egg Man’ with the ‘50s lead pickup and the Gibson humbucker in the neck pickup.”

Ted had asked me about selling Egg, and expressed to me how much his student loved it. I told him I thought that was wonderful. Egg was a bit too heavy in weight for me so I never played it much, nor had Ted for a long while. Actually, Egg had been out “on loan” on and off to several students for quite some time. So, we were both grateful it would have a good loving home.”

* * * * *

Oh man, Ted was so generous with his guitars! He frequently told me I could borrow his guitars. One time I mentioned I never played a Gretsch guitar. He was playing one (I think it was green), and he immediately handed it to me and said, “Take it home.” I could not do it. He was so sincere, but I just couldn’t take on that responsibility. He told me that he frequently loaned his guitars out to his students.

We talked a lot about buying/selling guitars, etc. One time I mentioned I was in the market for a Tele, and he immediately connected me with one of his students who was selling a ‘68 Tele (Cesar?). I’ve had it ever since. Like everything that interested Ted (muscle cars, baseball cards, etc.), he knew the market so well.

He also worked on all my guitars. We would spend part of a lesson or two tearing my guitars apart or setting them up. He helped me rout, wire, and update my sunburst ‘71 Tele as well.
~ Mark Levy

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This month we got a lot of help with the new material (you guys are making my job much easier!), and I really appreciate it. The contributors this month:

Mark Fitchett – what can we say? Each month he pulls another gem out of his collection for us.

Xavier Riley shared his transcription of Ted’s “Someday My Prince Will Come” plus he hunted down the 2005 Just Jazz Guitar magazine memorial article on Ted.

François Leduc is a monster transcriber, tirelessly notating great guitar solos, and he often focuses on Ted. We are very grateful that he continues to share these with our site. Merci!

Mike De Luca for his expert proofreading and musical advice.

And finally, a round of applause for all those who shared some of their stories of Ted for the newsletter message.

~ Your friends on the TedGreene.com Team


* I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise (fragments), 1993-01-02. [Ted wrote out grid diagrams for measures 8-12 in the key of Bb, then he modulates to Gb and gives us with another measure of grids. That’s all. We provided the lead sheet to help you navigate though the piece and perhaps finish it. Ted also had alternate grids for both sections that you can find at the end of the write-up. “Suggested” chord names are provided in blue.]

* Miscellaneous Arrangements Fragments. [A collection of short snippets of 7 songs: A Sleepin’ Bee, Giant Steps, Mona Lisa, Mr. Lucky, Scrapple from the Apple (comping), Yesterday, and What’ll I Do?]

* Song List with Arrangement Sketch Ideas, 1963-07-09. [This is a very early (1963) song list of some jazz standards, with Ted’s rough sketch ideas for playing a solo guitar arrangement. Typed text provided to save you from squinting eye syndrome.]

Under the “Classical Pieces” header:

* Mozart – Symphony No. 40 in Gm, Minuet. [This is Ted’s very early arrangement for guitar of the 3rd movement of Mozart’s famous symphony in G minor. Ted wrote out the notation, but didn’t include grid diagrams or fingerings. This is a very challenging piece, and we have provided clean notation with “suggested” grids and chord names. You’ll notice that the measures and bar lines are formatted more like a jazz or pop lead sheet with 1st and 2nd endings, rather than classical scores with incomplete measures at the beginning and end of the sections. I hope this doesn’t offend any classical purists.]

* Just Jazz Guitar Magazine, November 2005 – Ted Greene Memorial. [This article is actually three separate pieces written a few months after Ted passed. “Loss of Legendary Guitarist Ted Greene” and “Ted Greene Memorial: A One-of-a-Kind Man” were both written by Harvey Barkan, and by Rich Severson of Guitar College shared some of his memories of Ted. Thanks to Xavier Riley for tracking down this article and sending us a copy to post. Also, thanks to JJG magazine for giving us permission to reprint any of their articles relating to Ted.]

* 1991-12-19, Ted Greene Lesson with Mark Fitchett. [Found under the header: “Lessons with Mark Fitchett” Mp3 file with 320 kbps bit rate. Length: 36:54. In this lesson they review “Silent Night” with reharmonization experiments, then the same for “O Christmas Tree” (“O Tanenbaum”).

* Mixing Major Scale Ext. Primary Colors, 1985-08-31. [Three examples in the keys of Eb and D. Notation provided combined with Ted’s original grids.]

Under the “Triads” header:

* IV-I in Open Triads – Descending Chains with Voice-Leading, 1984-10-31. [Excellent exercises for good voice-leading of IV to I progressions, with an emphasis on sustained notes. Notation provided combined with Ted’s original grids.]

* Giant Steps (V-2 comping fragment), 1995-06-18 and 1996-09-21. [This is a quick study for comping chords for the first 6 measures of this classic jazz tune. We provided lead sheet notation for the whole piece, with notation for Ted’s chords. Part of the “homework” for the student was to add the chord qualities to the letter names of the chords. We did this using blue font. We also provided blank grids for the rest of the piece, in case you wanted to continue where Ted left off.]

* Solo Guitar Concepts and Reminders. [This is a collection of miscellaneous notes from four pages from Ted’s Personal Music Study files. This was never intended to be a lesson hand-out, but simply reminders for his own playing. We typed out the text and included newly drawn graphics so you wouldn’t have to strain to read Ted’s small handwriting.]

* Original Theme (from the Ted Greene with Rowanne Mark collection), transcribed by François Leduc. [François wrote: “This is another one from Ted Greene. It was requested a few years ago, but I was having problem with the tuning and it ended in a ‘drawer’ for a while.” Ted tuned his guitar down 11/2 steps for this one, but the notation reads as if it is for standard tuning. Notation + Grids + Tab. You can find the recording in our Audio section: Ted Greene with Rowanne Mark or find it on Francois’ YouTube channel,

* Someday My Prince Will Come, transcribed by Xavier Riley. [This is a transcript of Ted playing an improvised arrangement while at the same time giving instruction and running commentary, during a lesson given to Cesar Pineda. This is on a YouTube video HERE. This is a different recording from the other transcripts we have of Ted playing this same song on the recording collection, “An Afternoon with Ted.” Notation + Grids + Tab.]

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October 2021 TedGreene.com Newsletter

Welcome to the October Newsletter for the Ted Greene legacy website.

Before we jump into the new lessons and other goodies for this month, we want to share with you some thoughts and reminiscences from one of Ted’s students. Bill Cooley attended G.I.T. with me back in 1978-79, and we lived at the same apartment complex in North Hollywood. Bill was an excellent guitarist back then, and like a good wine has gotten even better over the years. During the course of the year-long program at G.I.T., Ted came to the school and gave a jaw-dropping seminar for our class. Many of the students went on to study with him (some even while attending G.I.T.). Bill talks about some of his early exposures to Ted in an article he wrote and in a letter to GP magazine, followed by an update from him written last week.

We start with an excerpt from Bill’s article, “On Teaching, Tirades and Ted Greene” as published in Mel Bay’s Nashville Notes newsletter:

Ted was a L.A. guitar legend. He was a quiet, gentle soul with towering musical talent. Hearing him play moved me like few have. In 1979, I took 3 lessons from him. I’m still working on what he gave me, still finding inspiration in his lessons and in his books. His solo guitar arrangements, with their perfect voice-leading and one-of-a-kind chord fingerings, were often composed on the spot as he would play through a standard several times, each chorus modulating to a new key with a different feel. I was lucky enough to hear this shy and reluctant performer play once in public and watched how his beautiful touch and tone mesmerized a bar full of businessmen at a Friday night happy hour. By the end of the second song, you could hear a pin drop.

From Bill’s letter to the Editor in the January, 2006 issue of Guitar Player magazine:

I was extremely saddened to learn of Ted Greene’s passing in your November issue. It reminded me of a Friday in late 1979, when I saw Ted playing at a Holiday Inn in Ventura, California. As it turned out, Tommy Tedesco had asked Ted to fill in between sets for Laurindo Alameda, who had injured his thumb. After an hour of Tommy’s trio playing to a noisy crowd of chatting businessmen, Ted and his Telecaster appeared.

As he began playing, I watched in amazement as the bar crowd, one by one, quieted down and turned their attention to the solitary figure playing quietly in the corner. By the second song, people were coming out of the nearby restaurant to listen. These were not musos, and they didn’t know a G7th from a three-piece suit. They were simply drawn to this pied piper playing beautiful music with his otherworldly touch, gently pushing down on the shimmed neck of his guitar as those impossible chords rang out, giving them a subtle rotating speaker effect.

I still vividly remember his playing that night. It was that powerful. There is a legion of guitarists that have been forever changed by his music and instruction. I can echo the heartfelt tributes in your article – he was a gentle and generous musician and teacher whose talent was astounding and unique. His music and memory will inspire me for the rest of my days.

Finally, a recent update from Bill:

I have retired from the road after 40 years as a touring musician. Teaching is my regular gig now and I love it! I give online lessons and it seems to be working out well for me and my students. I think a lot about Ted from an instructor’s viewpoint now that I am one. I’m always on the lookout for those “aha” moments from students...when the lightbulb comes on, a door opens, when concepts come together to show the bigger picture...those leaps in learning we’ve all experienced. How can I facilitate those?

I remember the day in 1979 when Ted handed me his “Systematic Inversions” page: taking 4-note chord forms and moving them across the strings – allowing for the “B string bump.” I had my light bulb moment right then and there. Like most epiphanies, it suddenly struck me as obvious and...why hadn’t I thought of it already? I think it hit me so hard because of the way it was presented.


In the upper left of the page, Ted had logically laid out diagrams illustrating the fingerings. In the upper right, he explains how to practice them, and then how to vary your practice routine. Also how to apply them, how to most efficiently get them under your fingers, and then how to challenge yourself as you progress. At the bottom of the page he is talking about how to make music from this exercise and ends with one of his famous quotes, “Continue to practice – nature has a way of reshaping your hands.”

Ted’s lesson, “Phrases in Chord Melody Style” took longer to absorb, but that’s because it’s a graduate level arranging course on one page! Taking four progressions as examples, he lays out: back cycling, scale wise embellishment, diatonic embellishment, pedal tones, ascending and descending bass lines, and b5 substitution...and combinations of each. Forty-two years after I got this, I look at it as maybe the single most important page of music instruction I own.


Is it any wonder Ted is still remembered and revered? Or that there’s countless guitar players still learning from and inspired by him? Many have been exposed to his genius through his books and some online videos, but those of us lucky enough to have taken lessons in person from him are the most fortunate of all. The experience has lasted a lifetime.

~ Bill Cooley
Sept. 20, 2021, Nashville, TN

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Special thanks to Mark Fitchett for his lesson recording with Ted; François Leduc for another wonderful transcription; Mike De Luca for proofreading, and to Bill Cooley for his tribute and reminiscences of hearing and studying with Ted.

~ Your friends on the TedGreene.com Team


* Bidin’ My Time (progressions), 1985-03-31. [“Bidin’ My Time” is a song composed by George Gershwin, with lyrics by Ira Gershwin. It was introduced by The Foursome (Del Porter, Ray Johnson, J. Marshall and Dwight Snyder) in the 1930 musical Girl Crazy. This page contains 6 ideas (plus variations) of progressions Ted wanted to pursue for this tune. It also shows how he was working at applying the various V-System chord voicings to those progressions. Transcribed text for easy reading/study.]

* Cheek to Cheek (fragments), 1989-02-13. [This page comes from a lesson written during a private lesson. It shows two approaches to measures 8-11 of this tune. Ted wrote: “Rub. in Db” – meaning that it is to be played rubato in the key of Db. Notation provided showing the excerpt, combined with Ted’s grids.]

* If. [This is another arrangement written up for a student during a private lesson. Ted didn’t include the Bridge or ending. It could be that this was continued at a subsequent lesson, or perhaps never finished. Using Ted’s comping study as a basis, we completed the arrangement with suggested grids. Ted would certainly have advised to use a lot of right-hand fills to give the chords some motion and life. Notation with lyrics provided.]

* 1991-11-07, Ted Greene Lesson with Mark Fitchett. [Found under the header: “Lessons with Mark Fitchett” Mp3 file with 320 kbps bit rate. Length: 38:01. In this lesson they review “The Little Drummer Boy” reharmonizations with Baroque, blues, pop, and jazz application. Mark’s homework assignment: do the same with “Home on the Range.” This recording is a wonderful demonstration of how Ted could take a simple melody or song and spontaneously improvise, in a variety of styles, beautiful and creative arrangements for guitar.]

* Bass Line Progressions, 1973-09-07. [The main focus in this lesson is the bass line movements. Ted’s original page is a collection of miscellaneous thoughts jotted down for his own study and exploration, also possibly for future student lesson pages. We’ve provided notation, suggested grid diagrams, chord names, and transcribed text – along with a Figured Bass guide to help understand some of Ted’s progressions in Roman numerals.]

* Samplers, 1979-09-25. [It’s unclear what these “samples” are illustrating – possibly just a collection of different progressions that Ted was studying. He wrote this in notation and grid diagrams, and we re-notated it and drew new grids for extra clarity. Ted’s notation was done without using key signatures. We added the key signatures in order to eliminate the necessity of so many accidentals. There is some faint scribbling at the bottom of Ted’s original page that we didn’t transcribe. In it he is detailing progressions with specific voicings: forward slash to show the soprano voice; backward slash to indicate the bass note. Figure it out if your interested -it’s not that difficult!]

* All the Things You Are (fragment), 1985. [This page has a few V-1 voicings for measures 3-7 and 13-15. For those not afraid of long stretchy chords. We provide notation married with Ted’s grids so you can see where they fit in the song.]

* List of Common Progressions in Standard Type Songs, 1980-10-01. [Ted wrote: “After analyzing 150 or so standard type songs, it was observed that certain progressions kept appearing over and over. Here then is a list of common progressions in standard type songs (with song listing for reference).” Transcribed to save your eyes from squinting!]

* Solo Guitar Songs by Their Initial Tones, 2001-12-21, 2002-01-01. [Three (short) pages of some songs with reminder melody notes in music notation. Ted began this page and left a lot of room to continue, but it appears he never finished. He grouped them as: Root as 1st note, 4th (as first note), 2nd, 5th as 1st note, 7th, 3rd as 1st note, and 6th as 1st note. I’m not clear of the purpose of these lists, but could have been related to ear-training and/or memorization of tunes.]

* Song List (key centers) with Progression Reminders, 1974-05-31. [Ted listed 43 standard jazz/pop tunes with Roman numerals as reminders for the chord progressions. Transcribed text for easy reading.]

* Meditation (from lesson with Nick Stasinos), transcribed by François Leduc. [Another fine transcription from Mr. Leduc, using standard music notation, grids, and TAB. This comes from an audio recording of a lesson one of Ted’s long-time students and friend, Nick Stasinos on November 8, 1980. Found in the Audio section of our site:

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September 2021 TedGreene.com Newsletter

Fall Greetings to all friends, fans, and students of Ted Greene. Welcome to any newcomers.

Barbara Franklin wrote:

Ted had a collection of harmony and theory books that would rival any music store! There was no particular book he gave preference to over any other. All offered something valuable; in turn, all had their faults (in Ted's learned opinion).

Ted read thoroughly, underlined everything he thought important, elaborated upon some of the author’s concepts, even argued with the author, and in some instances improved upon or even made corrections to the text!

Ted did not read or comment on every page. Usually when Ted read a book, he would not start at the beginning, but just go to a chapter of momentary curiosity or interest, then start skipping around. Generally, he would go back to the beginning at some point. However, in many instances he never read an entire book and certainly not from front cover to back cover. Only when he was at the beginning stages of study (late '60's early '70's) did Ted read some of the books from cover to cover – in chapter order – but at that time he didn’t make extensive margin notes. The notes in the Aldwell and Schacter book end on page 229 (the book has 290 pages). The pages after 229 appear to be unread.

~ Barbara Franklin (excerpts from The TG Archives and the Forums)

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This month we’re posting in the “Other” section of the Lessons, a few excerpts from music theory books that Ted marked up. These were first posted by Barbara in our Forums, but we wanted to move them to a more permanent and more accessible spot, plus we included transcribed text for some of Ted’s handwritten notes. The subjects involve harmony, voice-leading, and the likes, and Ted’s comments are worth reading.

Recently we received a box of old magazines that Ted owned and had at his Encino apartment – mostly jazz and guitar related magazines. Ted had a copy of the November 1977 issue of Downbeat, with an interview of Benny Goodman which he extensively marked up. We’re sharing that whole article as one of this month’s New Items.

In the Downbeat May 5th, 1977 issue has interviews with Ray Charles and another with Sarah Vaughan. Ted highlighted a few paragraphs in each of these articles, and we wanted to share those excerpts with you, since they show thoughts that Ted agreed with or found interesting or inspiring.

First from the Ray Charles interview:

“My feeling is that what we try to do is to take the songs that we know have proven themselves – not only at the time they were recorded, but ever over the years – songs that people still love to hear, and we try to get about 65 or 70% of the songs that we know people have spent their money to come to hear. The programs may change. For instance, I might do Born to Lose one night; at another show instead of doing Born to Lose I may do You Don’t Know Me or Take These Chains, which were very big songs too. One may change the position of the songs, and also, me, I’m very spontaneous. I don’t sing written notes; I sing whatever I feel on that night. So Georgia is never the same, not because I’m trying to make it different, but just because that’s how I sing.”

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“I still listen to Artie Shaw; I’m a great lover of his. I got to tell you that even during the era when everybody was saying the King of Swing was Benny Goodman – you know, that’s the way he was considered – then and even now I still feel that Artie Shaw played as much as him but with more feeling. That’s my honest opinion. To me there was a guy that really and truly was a bitch of a musician. He had a great band.”

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“I feel that the kids of today – and this is not a putdown, I just think it’s an honest statement – I think the sad thing is that far too many youngsters don’t take the time to really learn their instruments like musicians use to. So, as a result, there’s not that much creativity in music nowadays.… See, I think that what’s helpful, and what cats had to do in earlier years, is that they did have to try to expand their musical ability. Just because it was a matter of survival, so that was the motive for their doing that….”

“Musicianship is de-emphasized. I think what a guy should want to do is to really go and learn his instrument and find out what the hell is going on with it, actually learn it inside out…. This goes for young listeners too, because for whatever reason, I think they are not exposed to enough of what instruments can do, and what musicians out to be able to do with these particular instruments.”

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Pete Welding, interviewer: “Given the painful difficulty with which he acquired his own musical education, Charles appreciates, as do few performers, the value of a solid grounding in the fundamental principles of music and a thorough mastery of the full potentialities of whatever instrument is studied. He is genuinely saddened, and perhaps even nonplussed, by the present devaluation of what are, to his mind, proven, time-honored principles. He views them as critically valuable, necessary aids to genuine, and what’s more important, sustained creativity – qualities he finds woefully absent in much of contemporary music….”

“Rock is not expansive enough for Charles, one feels, and this is the major reason he largely is indifferent to it. The level of its musical thought is too low, and this the singer feels is the direct result of the general lack of real musicianship among younger musicians. Coupled with and compounding this problem is the related factor of present-day radio programming practices, a subject Charles views with some concern.”

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And from the Sarah Vaughan interview:

Vaughan: It’s hard enough to get a gold [record]. How do you get platinum? Honey, I have never had a gold nothing. My biggest record was Broken Hearted Melody, and they still ask for it and it drives me nuts.
Smith: How do you avoid that?
Vaughan: That’s easy. Record stuff you love so you don’t mind singing it for the rest of your life.

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Smith: You did an a cappella version of Summertime. Was that the first time?
Vaughan: Well, I was in South America and I was asked by a producer, Herminio Bello Carvalho, to sing that without music. The first time was not quite a cappella. The mic was giving me so much trouble that I threw it down on the stage and sang to 2400 without the benefit of amplification. So it sort of started out as an accident.

I don’t do it more often because at the end of the tune Carl usually hits the key I’m supposed to be in. I’m usually a little off and I hate that. Sometimes I’m a half-step away, and it drives me nuts. So if anybody says I have perfect pitch they are mistaken.

* * * * *

Vaughan: But it seems to me that these people [pop/rock artists] have the right idea to get the money. Get the audiences to come and buy, and then once you got ‘em, do your own thing. I can’t do those kinds of things, but bless those who can. They’re not going to drown. I love music and I can’t do all of those things just to get money.

If this Beatle album doesn’t do anything, I’ll be a little disappointed, maybe, but I did what I wanted to. [In 1981 Sarah released her album, Songs of the Beatles.] Of course I want a gold record, but just like the rest of my life, if it don’t happen, it just don’t happen. I was glad to have been nominated for a Grammy, and I know the album didn’t deserve it. Ella [Fitzgerald] came backstage after the show and actually apologized for winning. She said it should have been mine. She almost had tears in her eyes. I’m never going to say that we’d better record some shit just to get some gold or a Grammy. My musical integrity prevents that.

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As always, we want to thank the usual suspects for helping out with the new items this month: Mark Fitchett for his recorded lesson with Ted; Mike De Luca for music proofreading; and David Bishop for help with the “Minor Key Progressions…” page. Having these experts (as well as others) available for music consult, checking, and suggestions is what helps to keep the presentations of Ted’s lesson pages on this site on such a high level. Our thanks to them; and thanks also from so many guitarists all around the globe.

Enjoy the new material!

~ Your friends on the TedGreene.com Team


* Autumn Leaves – Intro, Ending, and Improvisation Ideas, 1974-09-04. [This early page shows some ideas Ted had jotted down for his playing of this song. Transcribed for easy reading/study.]

* 1990-10-01, Ted Greene Lesson with Mark Fitchett. [Found under the header: “Lessons with Mark Fitchett.” Mp3 file with 320 kbps bit rate. Length: 33:53. In this lesson they review the ending of Ted’s arrangement of “When You Wish Upon a Star.” Ted then briefly reviews the basic chords for “Over the Rainbow,” and then a deeper review of “Night and Day.” At the end of the lesson Ted plays an impromptu version of “When You Wish Upon a Star.”]

* I (or iii) - VI - ii - V Variations (parts1-3), 1975-07-31, 1975-08-11 & 22. [This is the first 3 pages of a 5-page series that Ted made for iii-VI-ii-V progressions. These are classic and unique voicings, many of which you may learn to love; others that may challenge you or may not find useful to you. On Ted’s first page he marked some of his favorites with a red dot. He would encourage the student to check out all the examples and highlight ones he loves. Also, make note of the ones you want to work on to eventually learn to play smoothly. We provided redrawn grids to save you from squinting. Parts 4 and 5 will come soon….]

* Minor 7 Sounds (continued), 1974-08-17. [This sheet obviously belongs with another “Minor 7 sounds” page, since Ted titled it “continued.” But we have no record of the first part. We assume that the first page(s) would include basic, common voicings for the minor 7 sounds. This “continued” page seems to have some basic forms, but also several more advanced voicings – some with considerable stretches! You may find some new ones that you love. Redrawn grids to make it easy to read.]

* Minor Key Progressions Generated by Chromatic Inner Voice, 1990-03-19. [This lesson has 5 cool examples of (mostly) triads with a chromatic inner moving voice, and some tonic pedal tones. We added notation and chord names to Ted’s grids. The analysis was provided by David Bishop, and this will help you to understand what’s going on harmonically. (Thanks David!)]

* Sequences of 7th Chords, 1973-09-22. [This is a very early page by Ted, written when he was still using his red grid stamper, and he hadn’t yet developed his “playing order” symbols. On this page, a circle (hollow dot) is to be played after the solid dots (just like his later used of the X symbol). The harmonic sequence he is creating here is a diatonic cycle of 4ths (up a 4th or down a 5th). For almost all of these examples, Ted provided just the first few chords and then wrote, “etc.” We’ve finished the sequences for each example so you can see what direction he was heading, and we added music notation and the new grids.]

Under the Triads header:

* Melodic Figures, and Triad Connected with Passing Tones, 1974-02-16. [This is an early sheet Ted wrote that combines some single-note A triad arpeggio exercises and some A triad inversions with inner passing tones. Ted wrote: “Do these exercises in all octaves on all diatonic degrees. (Example: in key of A, do on Bm, C#m, D, etc.) Let chords ring (at least the bass note) whenever possible, while passing tones are added.” That alone will keep one busy for a long time! We didn’t include any suggested grids, since each example can and should be played in multiple positions, and also modified for different diatonic degrees. That’s a ton of possibilities to choose from – that’s work for the serious student.]

* Benny Goodman Downbeat Article, 1977-11-17 – with Ted Greene comments. [This is a scan of Ted’s copy of this magazine article, with all his markings. It shows how involved Ted got when he was reading something of interest.]

* Common Standards for Ensemble Playing (Ted Greene Song List), 1985-07-18. [Ted’s 1985 list of songs for playing in a group setting.]

* Gibson Guitars Letter to Ted Greene, 1974-11-22. [This is Gibson’s response to a letter Ted must have sent them with his observation of wiring mistakes. It seems that anyone who purchased an ES-335 after 1974 has Ted to thank for having the correct wiring.]

* Harmony – Robert Ottman – Ted Greene comments. [This file contains scans of pages 68, 69, and 285 of Ted’s copy of Harmony with his handwritten comments. On page 285 Ted provides three definitions of a chord “cluster.” This is definitely something Ted had on his mind, as he was developing and refining his V-System (voicing groups system) around that time. Transcribed text for page 285 is provided as an additional page.]

* Harmony and Voice Leading – Aldwell & Schachter – Ted Greene comments. [This file contains scans of pages 104, 105, 110, 111, 228 and 229 with Ted’s comments. As Barb Franklin mentioned, Ted often argued with the author in the margins. Transcribed text is provided as two additional pages.]

* Structural Functions of Harmony (pages 4-7) – Schoenberg – Ted Greene comments. [You can see here how Ted disagreed with many points stated by Schoenberg. On page 7 Ted wrote in reference to Schoenberg’s comments about descending progressions, a fourth down: “Sorry, but this is pathetically out of kilter with the human ear. The whole thing is wrong. Sad…. This is the hardest part of his books for me, due to my extreme disagreement in many ways.” Also, “How can he possibly say awful things like this?”]

* Los Angeles Vintage Guitar Show 1981-05-02 & 03. [Ted wrote on the flyer for this event: “One of my finest weekends. Thumbs Carlisle, Albert Collins, and I played. Norm sold me a clean ‘52 Esquire and the exquisite ‘52 Tele (“Lulu”), which became the model for Fender’s 1982 NAMM show relaunch of their Vintage program.”]

* C# Harmonic Minor – Scale, Modes, Arpeggios, 1974-03-05. [Using grid diagrams Ted lays out the C# harmonic minor scale in 5 positions, showing the correlation between the scale notes and arpeggios for each of the chords of the scale. Redrawn grids for easier reading/study.]

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August 2021 TedGreene.com Newsletter

Welcome to the legacy website “for all things Ted Greene.” If you’re new here you’re in for a truckful of treats that will keep you musically engaged for years.

We start off this month with a message from Leon White, who is the founder, manager, custodian, guardian, archivist, bookkeeper, historian, and supporter of this site. We have much to thank him for keeping all of Ted’s material freely available to guitarists all over the world.

* * * * *

Leon White here. The very first impression I had of my first actual lesson with Ted was the emotions he evoked inside me, almost at will. We talk about Ted as a guitarist, a musician, and a teacher/arranger. But for those of us who heard him play in person it is always the emotions that impacted us the most – and we rarely discuss this. I’m going to take a stab at his efforts there because it really eclipses the music, if you think about it.

Just for a moment think beyond all the music – it’s not easy, but worth it – Ted could evoke a huge range of emotions, and it just happens he used his music to do it. Here’s what I mean:

Let’s play a few basic chords: Open E major followed by E/G# and then a barre A major chord on the 5th fret. Every student I’ve ever had will recognize the “pull” as we describe it, that those voicings have. They are about the most basic fingerings I can think of that can sound good on almost any guitar. Playing those three chords as a progression communicates an emotion. (Don’t ask me what emotion it is.) Try it. The third in the bass does communicate a feeling, doesn’t it?

Now this example isn’t from any particular music from Ted, it’s just a short sample that we can all hear. The point is that we all respond to emotions coming from simple guitar music, even when we don’t realize it.

Now let’s look at a Ted example. The recording of “Old Man River” on his Solo Guitar album is especially suited to our listening as it was composed with the intent of communicating a feeling or emotion. I know this, as I was in the studio as he worked it for the album. He and I discussed the opening section (“Dixie” played faintly and sweetly to evoke the old South). The descending bass line introduces a wistfulness or bitter sweet memory, or whatever you feel from that short passage. Ted’s question was this: “Should I start with something like this?” (He plays it in a slightly different way than the record.) I answer “YES! Are you going for a ‘Gone With the Wind’ feel?” He nodded and said, “Sort of.”

We then sit as he experiments with different feelings (not licks, not fills, not chords, not overdrive pedals). He tries a bigger set of chord voices, then moves them down to a lower range, then he walks through several keys and modulations to take him into the song. Eventually the key and simple voicings you hear on the record end up being the ones he settled on.

Why do I think this is worth mentioning? Frankly, I can’t think of any guitarist who is even trying to do this, and I’d like to think we should be trying. The emotions are there. They sometimes get rammed at us in modern film scores, so we know it can be done. And we hear Ted do it, so we know they can be produced on a single instrument (no orchestra required). And he shows us how beautiful they can be on the guitar.

How did Ted do it? I don’t know for sure, but in all the years I knew him we always spoke about film score melodies and harmony. With his great memory he just remembered a sound, tied it to some emotion (probably unconsciously), and then pulled out that emotion with its musical sounds right into our ears.

Many of Ted’s students heard him do this “on demand.” One day we were talking about the film Casablanca, and Ted started to play a version of it while sitting there. I’d never heard this arrangement before, and I stopped him while I tried to write it down. We both laughed at that! But I stopped writing, as I didn’t want to stop the “flow” that he had. I then asked him (as I had many times in the past), “Now play it in the big western style” (like “How the West Was Won,” for example). He did it. “And now as ‘classical’?” He quickly jumped into playing a triadic Baroque passage with large intervals between the bass and other voices. When I left his apartment, my head reeling with a diverse assortment of sounds and emotions, I was still trying to remember the first pass that he played on Casablanca.

At the first night of his gig at the Smokehouse restaurant, Ted was quite nervous. He asked some of us who sitting around him, “What should I play?” Someone said, “The Theme from Highway Patrol.” And he just went with it, emotions and all: on six string solo guitar, from memory, note-for-note, with the feel and spirit of the original piece. For one great moment it seemed that Broderick Crawford had walked into our world in stunning black and white.

Perhaps some of us can really listen to the emotions of Ted’s music, and not just the chords. We need to learn to share a little of that – and of ourselves – when we play our instruments and create the magic of music.

* * * * *

Along those same lines of emotions, we wanted to share something that Tim Lerch wrote some years ago in a YouTube recording of Ted playing “Both Sides Now”:

“I would say that Ted Greene is perhaps the most emotionally evocative guitarist I have ever heard. Lots gets said about his mastery of harmony, his dedication to his students, his encyclopedic knowledge and his kind spirit, all of which I agree with, but his ability to convey emotion in his playing is a very special quality that I appreciate more and more as time goes by. Thank you, Ted for putting your fingers on the strings.”
~ Tim Lerch

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Now, before jumping into the new items we want to thank our contributors this month: Mark Fitchett for another awesome recorded lesson with Ted; Xavier Riley for his transcription; Mike De Luca for proofreading; Tim Lerch; Larry Hinds, Leon White, and Jeffrey D Brown.

Enjoy the new lesson material!

~ Your friends on the TedGreene.com Team


* 1990-10-22, Ted Greene Lesson with Mark Fitchett. [mp3 files, 320 kbps, length:29:51. During this lesson they review Ted’s arrangement of “When You Wish Upon a Star.” Ted’s handout sheet for this is in our Arrangements section HERE > ]

* Baroquish Wonder – Other Chords and Progressions, 1993-02-04 and 1995-11-24. [This is a short page from Ted’s personal music studies: a couple of ideas he wanted to jot down for future exploration. Notation provided.]

* Exercises to Help Learn Chord Inversions, 1973-10-12. [This another early page Ted wrote out before he developed his “V-System.” He gives us a collection of A6 (or F#m7) chords, grouped as either Type 1, 2, or 3. His instructions ask the student to convert all the chord forms into eight other chord qualities: 7th, m6, m7b5, 7b9, 9th, 7b9+, major 7, and m9. Great exercises for mastering your inversions. Translation pages included for easy reading.]

* Harmony Through Melody Course, 1986-01-03 and 1986-09-27, 28. [Ted titled each of these 5 pages as “Harmonization of the 1st and 5th (or 1st, 3rd, and 5th) Degrees of the Major Scale via I.” But at the header of page 1 he gave the series the name “Harmony Thru Melody Course,” so we went with that title. We added extra pages that provide the “homework answers” as well as a translation of his handwritten comments (for those who have difficulty in reading Ted’s handwriting.]

* Mixolydian Chord Progression, 1997-06-21. [This is a short, simple lesson page, probably written up for a student who was learning Mixolydian sounds and scales, and wanted some progressions to use for recording his own backing track to solo over.]

* Using m7\11/R and m7b5\11/R Voicings as ii7 Chords, 1985-10-30. [There are 4 examples on this page: the first 3 are I-vi-ii-V progressions. For the ii chord, Ted is using a minor 7/11 chord (that is, without the 9th), and voiced with the 11th in the soprano, and the Root in the bass. Example #4 is longer and in the minor key, which then goes to the major key, then modulates. This example uses m7/11b5 chords for the ii chord. At the top of this page Ted wrote: “It is the various processes as well as the voicings that should be gleaned from this page.” Notation is provided and combined with Ted’s grids for easy analysis and reading.]

Under the “Triads” header:

* IV-I in Open Triads – Ascending Chains, 1984-10-31. [This is a fun page. Make sure that the tied notes are sustained as you switch chords – this may require you to finger the first chord differently that you’re accustomed to do so, or what seems easiest. Standard music notation provided, combined with Ted’s grids.]

* Diatonic Major Key Triads and Soprano Pedal, 1986-10-13. [This page is a collection of 11 different IV-iii-ii-I progressions using triads with soprano pedals. We’ve included an extra page for showing the chord names.]

* Progressions, 1973-04-05. [This is a very early lesson from Ted’s “red grid stamp” days. There are 3 sets of diatonic progressions in the key of A: I-vi-ii-V, I-iii-IV-V-I, and I-V-vi-iii-IV-I with descending bass.]

* Successive 1st Inversion Triads: Progression by Step, 1980-06-24 and 1980-10-31. [On this page Ted examines B diminished triads moving 1/2 step up to C (52 examples) and B diminished moving 1 step down to Am (47 examples). Ted wrote this out in music notation only and didn’t specify any grid diagram, fingerings, or position numbers. Since some of the examples are “very challenging” to execute, it could be that Ted’s notation was just the first step in a process of finding all possibilities for this exercise: first on paper, then working out the practical application, and finally selecting his favorite choice ones. New notation was generated for your easy reading, plus we added “suggested” diagrams for each. You may discover other forms on different string sets that you prefer. Good luck!]

* Tonality Establishment and Modulation Using Close1st Inversions, 1986-01-15. [Ten examples using 1st inversion close triads in simple diatonic progressions. Notation and chord names provided, combined with Ted’s grids. Note that the chord names are based on the basic triad being used at the moment, and not necessarily taking the moving line into account for naming the chord. That is, if a 7 to R melody is played, the chord was not named as a 7th chord.]

Under the “Chord Scales” header:

* Diatonic 7th Chords, 1976-08-08. [This page was written before Ted developed his “V-System” of chord organization. At that time, he grouped chords into 3 basic sizes: small density, medium density, and large density – and these were accompanied by further distinctions between their inversions: root in bass, 1st inversion (3rd in bass), also, but not on this page, 2nd inversion and 3rd inversion. All examples are given in the key of A; the grids are to be read vertically for the chord scales. We included an “answers” page and used blue dots for the “fill in the blanks” homework.]

* Ted Greene Original Progression, 1986-09-09. [This page is from Ted’s personal studies files, and is probably something he wanted to remember and later add a melody. I don’t believe he ever intended to hand it out to students, but if he did he probably would have assigned the homework to come up with chord forms that are true to the chord names and which provide nice melodic flow and good voice-leading. Give it a shot and make it musical.]

* People Get Ready– Transcribed by Xavier Riley. [This comes from Ted’s seminar at Boulevard Music on 2004-08-22, part 5, starting at 12:09: https://youtu.be/luf9k4F1TZM?t=729
Xavier gives us both the notation and Tab for this short, fun piece. Thanks, Xavier!]

* Eight Days A Week – Bridge. [Ted’s arrangement of this tune is missing the Bridge section. You can find it posted in the Teachings area under Arrangements/Beatles Tunes: HERE >

At the prompting of his guitar teacher, Larry Hinds wrote out his arrangement for the Bridge in order to follow through with Ted’s arrangement. Larry writes:

“I tried to stay in the flavor of the chords that Ted selected. In addition, I thought to also keep the descending bass motif as well. Lastly. I recall on the Beatles recording the second go round of the ‘Eight Days a Week’ the vocal harmony is on the 3rd, so I did that as well.”

Larry wrote in standard music notation with chord diagrams. You’ll need to add the moving lines in the chords, since the grids don’t incorporate Ted’s X, dot, square system. Find this file under the header: “Contributions from Larry Hinds.”]

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July 2021 TedGreene.com Newsletter

Summer Greetings to old fans, friends, and students, and a warm welcome to all new visitors — we hope you find something on this site that will interest you, inspire you, and bring greater knowledge and joy to your playing.

Taking up where we left off last month, we’re continuing with the transcript on voice-switching from Ted’s lesson for Mark Levy.

* * * * *

Ted Greene Lesson with Mark Levy
July 20, 1992 (mp3 #19) – excerpt

Voice-Switching (part 2)

Mark: Is that going to be sort of----. How is that going to turn out? I mean, is there going to… Am I going to find some crystal god-like logic in there that I’m going to go, “God! All this is like really because of this…?”
Ted: Every voice-switch and every voicing group yields its own special magic or lack of same.
Mark: Okay.
Ted: Yet, diatonic – those are the lines you’re hearing – that’s the one overriding thing. If somebody said, “Define it all in one word,” you’d say, “Diatonic.” That’s the nature of the color we’re hearing. If somebody said, “Yeah, but is it always like the inner chord or the passing chord is like the V of where you are?” Say, “No.” Let’s go back to the other…
Mark: To the ear maybe?
Ted: Let’s see. Let’s see if that holds up. When we did this [he plays their first example: G,F#,B,D > G,E,B,E > G,D,B,F#] I feel that the second chord is either a) the same chord we’re on, or b) the vi minor of where we are.
Mark: Okay.
Ted: Like [he demonstrates G to Em examples] Or it’s just the same [he demonstrates Gmaj7 – G6 – Gmaj7, then continues to the ii chord, iii chord, etc.] To me it feels like that’s: I with friends, ii minor with friends, iii minor with friends.
Mark: Okay.
Ted: Whereas this one [their second example] felt like we actually (because of that bass, that bounding bottom movement) seemed to progress to a different chord. In this case it was a V.
Mark: Okay.
Ted: What if we had swapped---in this chord we had swapped 3 and 1. We get. [he plays]
Mark: Okay.
Ted: That was a I…
Mark: I-V-I.
Ted: Yeah. I swapped [he demonstrates] And I repositioned them and ended up here. I just did a fast-forward and tried to recompute fast. I could see I wasn’t going to be able to hold that.
Mark: This is going to teach me a lot about the guitar, isn’t it? Think so?
Ted: I think it does if you’re willing to be patient. Don’t worry if you get a V passing chord, that’s okay.
Mark: Just treat it all as one sound?
Ted: Yeah. And the main thing is: find the stuff that appeals to you the most. You see, Mark, you have one danger zone here, which is the same one I face: Everything interests you.
Mark: Right. I know.
Ted: You were born that way, apparently.
Mark: It blows my mind.
Ted: Just say, “Is this interesting, or do I love it?” If it only falls into the domain of “interesting” – leave it alone for a while. Put it aside. Write it down if you’re afraid you’ll have to start from scratch again. To remind yourself that you did the work, write one example of it. Say---you can have a note that says, “Interesting, but…” and then dots after it, meaning that you didn’t love it. Because if you don’t love it, don’t---you don’t have time for it. There’s so much to---
Mark: No. I understand. I mean, I have a huge, huge insecurity because I love so much that I can’t get to it.
Ted: You may not love it. You may like it. See, try to be your best judge. Go ahead, you finish what you were going to say.
Mark: Yeah, but there’s so many things that I want to do---even, I’ll tell you, and I’m sure it’s like where you’re at: Even if I wasn’t working, even if I had all day just to play music, I would probably get the same feeling that I have today, in a lot of respects. That even though there’s satisfaction, that I didn’t get to everything, and sometimes I feel overwhelmed, so maybe I just dabble a little bit and get nothing done. Which is a danger.
Ted: Mark, you must choose between that which you like, and that which you’re mad about. When I discovered [he plays Baroque music] – this is voice-switch that I got into at one time – I’ve been waiting all my life to play that. Because I heard Bach playing this in some of his better concertos. He’s use it to get these progressions that didn’t sound “normal.” They just had a whole new vibe. You can hear the logic. [He continues to play]
Mark: It’s crystal clear. Yeah.
Ted: Then he might start….he might take…
Mark: That’s beautiful stuff.
Ted: …that figured bass harmony…
Mark: Right
Ted: But that was born of going [he demonstrates] which I found by initially going, “Hey, let’s start with maybe C major 7 and swap these two parts.” Say, “Wow, it turns into B6.” And then one day you do it in reverse. And then one day you’re in the mood for that Baroque [?] And you don’t want to stop, and you just see the parts go. (Somehow that doesn’t sound like Bach on that last chord as much.) So you say, “What if I tried to start earlier that the first chord? Maybe I could bring a new chord in the front of it, instead of trying to continue it.” You know where I’m coming from?
Mark: Right.
Ted: So suddenly you say, “Hmmm. This was…” [he demonstrates] “then this would have been…” Because if I tried to keep that line going more, it would have been… It would have started---in front of this would have been this.
Mark: Okay.
Ted: Which belongs to no voicing group, because it’s got two 3rds, a root, and a 7th. These are incomplete chords, or doubled chords, ---this has two 3rds. This is not an invertible chord. You could try to get the two next G major 7ths by moving each note up. 3 would go up to which tone?
Mark: 5.
Ted: 7 would go up to what?
Mark: 1, Root.
Ted: Root would go up to?
Mark: 3.
Ted: And 3 would go up to?
Mark: 5.
Ted: Good. Now we’ll have this. [Ted plays 5, R, 3, 5] No 7 around. It’s nobody’s fault, it’s just that when you have doubled voicings they don’t produce the exact same chords as you invert them. That’s why we don’t put them in a Voice Group as such. [in Ted’s V-System]. But this baby [he demonstrates] sure lives near V-6, and it sure lives near V-7, so I call it a hybrid. There’s going to be separate doubled groups right between them, when I publish the whole theory someday, God willing. [Referring to Ted’s “The V-System”]
Mark: I hope you do.
Ted: Man, if the Creator keeps me here long enough, I really intend to do this.
Mark: Right. Lot of people will benefit from it.
Ted: Anyway, [getting back to the subject of voice-switching] there are beautiful ones. There’s just going to be some that you adore. Those are the ones to work on first. The others they’re just like, okay. But before you make a decision, try it on all 7 degrees of the key – major key at first – and bring some texture into bear, because sometime that’ll make or break it. This was okay when I did it this way [he demonstrates]. I can hear that I love the lines, but it didn’t really “gas me” completely until I started breaking it up. When I started breaking then I said, “Wow, I really like this.” I like how this little babies just shine up in the…
Mark: Sure.
Ted: You can hear these big mamas down here, you know. It just thrilled me to hear that. Sensible intervals in the bottom that have power, against these little shinny guys.
Mark: Right.
Ted: You’re going to find your own things that you love. Could be some of the same stuff that I love, too.
Mark: Well, right now I just want to get the concept really solid.
Ted: So, I’ll be one of your musical pals who plays keyboards or a guitar player or harp, and you’re going to teach me this concept.
Mark: Well.
Ted: I’m game. I’m listening.
Mark: “Ted, my guitar teacher, showed me a pretty hip concept right now called ‘voice-switching.’ And what you basically do is: take the voicing, and take the voices and you would switch it. We’re going to start with…” I can’t remember whether it was…
Ted: Start with any two… This is how you can remember it – it’s so sweet this way, it’s so easy: start with numbers that are next door to each other in the formula of the chord.
Mark: Okay.
Ted: So for instance: 1,3,5,7 you can swap 1 and 3,
Mark: 3 and 5, 5 and 7, 7 and 1.
Ted: That’s right. Ideally you can swap all of those without using the far-away numbers yet, like 1 and 5. That’s a big, big long thing that usually gets you into trouble. It usually doesn’t work with anything but close numbers. Does that make it easier?
Mark: Okay. Close numbers. Got it. “1 and 3, 3 and 5, 5 and 7, 7 and 1. We’re going to swap strings, and then we’re also going to---. With the passing tones that they create – because they’ll be going down in 3rds, most likely…”
Ted: Going down?
Mark: “Or up, or I mean, going to their ‘brothers’ which are a 3rd away.”
Ted: In thirds, usually.
Mark: “There’ll be a passing chord tone automatically created.”
Ted: So, I’m your friend and I go, “So, if I have a C7 chord, what should I start with? And what should I do?”
Mark: “So, let’s say we go: we’re going to swap 1 and 3. We’ll take the C. The C will go to E. And the E will go down to C. There’ll be passing tones of D.”
Ted: “How do I know where to get these passing tones?”
Mark: “Diatonically. They’ll be diatonic tones.”
Ted: “So what scale for C7 should I use?”
Mark: “The C7 dominant scale.”
Ted: “Wow, that makes so much sense now when you explain it that way. Can I see one example of one of those things?”
Mark: “Okay, so you’d go---. We’re going to take---. Ted, my guitar teacher calls this V-2 voicing. Okay. I don’t know whether you’re hip, but…”
Ted: He says, “What’s V?” And then you say, “V stands for Voicing Group.”
Mark: “Hopefully you’re going to buy his book when it comes out.”
Ted: You say, “Voicing Group just means what size and chord…”
Mark: “They’re all logically grouped by size.
Ted: By size.
Mark: Intervallic size.
Ted: Different sizes is another way of saying---saying the same thing as Voicing Groups.
Mark: Right. “So, in this case we’ll take a C7, V-2 in first inversion. Okay? And the voices will go like this.” [Mark demonstrates]
Ted: “Wow, that’s interesting.”
Mark: Octave right there. Uh.
Ted: “Which two notes did you swap?
Mark: “I swapped the 3rd and the root.”
Ted: “And what was the first chord again?”
Mark: “C7, first inversion”
Ted: “So, can we hear the results of all this?”
Mark: Okay. [He demonstrates]

Ted: Oh, you’re being smart tonight. We love it, Mark. You repositioned the fingers to make it work. You had it. I like it.

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Thanks to the following contributors for this month: Mark Fitchett for his audio lesson; David Bishop for proofreading the comping page; Mike De Luca for proofreading the other lesson pages; Mark Levy for his audio lessons; and of course, Jeffrey Brown for technical guidance. Enjoy the new items!!

~ Your friends on the TedGreene.com Team


* 1991-07-10, Ted Greene Lesson with Mark Fitchett. [320 kbps mp3, length: 67:16. The exact day in July is unknown. They discuss: Triads. Blues and cycles of 5ths, or “IV of.” Blues turnarounds of I-io7-iv6-I and variations. Terry Kath. Rag = European music with syncopation feel (but they don’t swing). Ted gives an overview and explanation of his V-System (29:00 – 39:00, and 42:00 – 67:00 approx. times)]

* I-bVI7-ii7-V7-I, 1974-08-01. [In this lesson sheet Ted gives us 33 examples in the key of Gb of turnarounds using a bVI7 chord. Each one seems to be a perfect illustration of good voice-leading, along with some excellent contrary motion moves. Notation with newly drawn grids for easy reading and study.]

* Progression in E, F#7-C7, and A7-D. [This untitled, undated page comes from Ted’s Private Studies, and are unrelated ideas he collected. Notice the ascending line in the F#7-C7 example, and remember that these two chords are related by the flat-5 substitute principle.]

Under the “Chord Scales” header:

* Major Scale Harmonized in 7ths, 1995-06-29. [This page was written during a private lesson with a student working on diatonic harmony with 7th chords. Ted provided specific picking order for the first two chord, and then instructed that the “same pattern in right hand” be applied for the rest of the page. Notation provided and combined with Ted’s girds.]

Under the “Triads” header:

* Open Triads, 2003-12-18. [Here’s another untitled page written for a student during a private lesson. It contains some nice musical studies for getting open triads under you fingers. Notice that in the first example after playing the F chord, the progression goes through the cycle of 4ths (down in 4ths or up in 5ths) using very nice voice-leading. Notation and chord names combined with Ted’s grids.]

* A Time for Love, 1991-06-02. [This is the final “comping” lesson page in Ted’s archive library. Our posted collection is now complete, unless of course new ones emerge from the collection of Ted’s students. This one has a few fairly challenging passages, using some long stretch chords…but as Ted wrote, “But fun to make it interesting and manageable.” Notation combined with a lead sheet with basic changes and lyrics. We also added the chord quality names whenever Ted left them blank for the student to fill in.]

* Impressionistic Harmonic Tendencies, Choice, 1975-05-23 &1976-10-28. [Ted lays out an extensive list of two chord progressions for Impressionistic harmonic sounds. The relationships are given from C. The chord families in the red boxes are to progress to any of the various other chords listed below them in the other family types. It is unclear what the yellow highlight or the circled chords mean, but based on Ted’s other lesson pages, he often used those indicators to point out either his favorites or good examples. We typed this page out to save you some eye strain and to make it a bit easier to understand (hopefully!).]

* Impressionistic Harmonic Tendencies and Modulations, 1975-02-25 & 1975-03-23. [This is similar to the other page on Impressionistic Harmony, written around the same time period. Apparently, the other page has “choice” selection, and this one includes Modulations. Typed out to make it clearer.]

* Modulating to Key of V (and IV, iv, v), 2003-06-18 & 2003-07-02, 09. [This was written up for a specific student interested in learning how to modulate to the V, IV, iv, and v of a given key. The first two examples deal more with 2- and 3-note movements, whereas the other studies use fuller chords with moving lines. Notation combined with Ted’s grids.]

* Diminished Runs, 1990-10-04.
[Single-note diminished runs written up for his student Cheryl (“Future friends, current acquaintances”). Ted commented at the top and bottom of this page, “The cool notes are: a) 1/2 step below, and b) whole step above the arpeggio notes.” And “All the non-colored notes are ‘extensions’ of the basic diminished 7 [chord]. They are found one whole-step above and one 1/2 step below the basic chord tones. They end up being the major 7, 9, 11, and b13. And they end up making the ‘diminished’ scale when combined with the basic tones.” Thanks, Ted. Good to know! Standard music notation provided.]


Under the “Contributions by Mark Levy” header:

* Ted Greene Lesson on Voice-Switching, 1992-07-20. [This pdf file contains parts 1 and 2 of the transcript of Ted explaining to Mark the concept and application of voice-switching. Also included are Mark’s homework pages of grids with various voice-switches and their passing chord.]

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June 2021 TedGreene.com 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.]

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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 TedGreene.com 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.”

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May 2021 TedGreene.com Newsletter

Welcome to the TedGreen.com 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 TedGreene.com 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.

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I’m lucky enough to have some international students in my teaching. Recently they have begun to ask about using the TedGreene.com 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.

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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 TedGreene.com 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 TedGreene.com 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.]

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April 2021 TedGreene.com Newsletter

Spring greetings and welcome to the ever-growing Ted Greene website, with new material from Ted added each month. We begin this newsletter with some excerpts from a thesis by Terrence McManus, “Ted Greene - Sound, Time, and Unlimited Possibility.”

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Chapter 3 – The Blues

Throughout his career Greene used the blues as a vehicle for improvisation in his music. Toward the end of his career the blues became even more of a dominant force, becoming a major part of his teaching, specifically several of his 2003 – 2005 workshop videos. His sound also underwent a change, though not a complete one. While Greene had always played solidbody and hollowbody guitars, the late 1990’s and 2000’s saw an increase in his hollowbody use. His tone when using hollowbody guitars did deviate from his normal sound. The sound was noticeably grittier and earthier, with a bit less sustain and a bit more edge.

Greene’s use of the blues as a teaching vehicle was prolific, and deservedly so. The simplicity of the harmonic movement of the blues makes it a great tool with which to superimpose concepts of voicings, chord substitution, and rhythm.

On his recording Solo Guitar, while certain moments have the feeling of the blues, there is not a blues piece that cycles through the traditional 12-bar blues form. This is not to say that Greene was not using the blues early in his career, his book Chord Chemistry has an entire section devoted to the blues. (See section 18 of Chord Chemistry.)

Greene was also an enthusiastic fan of blues music in general, not just jazz-blues. Greene’s affinity for the blues can also be to connected to one of his major compositional influences, George Gershwin. Gershwin’s work features elements of the blues and Greene even commented that Gershwin’s music was a combination of classical and blues.

Greene’s various versions of playing the blues are also important because of his rhythmic approach. While Greene clearly displays a mastery of feel and groove in a jazz vein, he also does the same when playing the blues in a more traditional, non-jazz feel. The Rare lesson set of two videos show Greene displaying a number of different types of blues chord playing, including what he defines as Chicago-style.

A very special piece in Greene’s documented work is his 1978 recording of an improvisation called “Blues Colors.” The work is important for a few reasons, including:

1. It appears to be improvised
2. Possibly his lowest tuning, guitar tuned down a fourth
3. You can hear a harmonic/melodic Gershwin influence
4. Multiple, instant tempo changes
5. His guitar taking on an organ-type sound
6. Very smooth and relaxed feel

The piece is incredibly interesting from the outset. Right from the beginning three distinct voices emerge, which is noteworthy because Greene has just started the piece and he is improvising. The opening section and other components, including the tempo changes, sound as if the work is a composed sketch, a rare sound in Greene’s discography. It is also a very impressionistic use of the blues for Greene, which is singular; other blues pieces he plays are much more traditional....

Greene’s harmonic sound in this piece, influenced by George Gershwin, as well as Debussy, is a good place to address Greene’s philosophy about blues tonality. “Blues Colors” is, in the most primal sense, a B blues, though through various chromatic gestures and harmonic superimpositions, Greene opens up an entire new tonal landscape for himself. In his teaching, Greene breaks down tonality into three main categories, two of them, major and minor, are of course common. His third defined key, which he says a large amount of American music exists in, is what he calls a blue tone key.
~ Ted Greene - Sound, Time, and Unlimited Possibility, pages 26-29
by Terrence McManus.

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I’d like to spend a few minutes to acknowledge and thank some of the members of the TG.com team of helpers and contributors who loaned a hand with the New Items this month.

Recently our Audio section has been getting regular additions from Mark Fitchett’s collection of lessons with Ted. These recordings allow us to be a fly on the wall, to sit in on these sessions, and to hear Ted teach one-on-one with an advanced student. This provides valuable and detailed explanations for some of Ted’s lesson pages and his general concepts and approaches to playing solo guitar. Because Mark was a seasoned player at the time, Ted was able to discuss and work through some advanced level lessons with him, and now for our benefit as well.

In writing up this month’s page on “Urban Blues,” Tim Lerch took the time to jump in and help with deciphering the cadence of the chords on this page. Undoubtedly this was one which Ted hastily jotted down during a private lesson, and there was some confusion without hearing Ted explain and demonstrate it. We always appreciate Tim’s experienced insights and tips for playing solo guitar al a Ted, especially when dealing with the blues.

Looking through some older files, I recently discovered a couple of Ted pages that Leon White had notated several years ago. These somehow got displaced when the site was going through some growth and changes. Leon was one of the first to start notating some of Ted’s lessons with the idea of sharing them with the world through this site – which he cofounded along with Barbara Franklin, Dan Sawyer, Adam Tyler, and Jeffrey Brown. We all have much to thank him for in keeping the TG.com strong, healthy, and in the spirit of Ted.

As the Lessons section on this site grows, it becomes increasingly evident that some kind of index or method is needed to help students navigate though the thousands of pages. Not long ago Leon White published a free Trail Guide to Chord Chemistry booklet (sixstringlogic.com), which is a valuable aid for working though Ted’s classic book. This month, Mike Simonelli created another handy tool for locating specific chords in Ted’s book, titled Chord Chemistry Chord Index. It’s just a single page but may be able to save you time of hunting around to find just the right chord voicing that you wanted.

Recently James Cooper posted a short letter on the Ted Greene Appreciation Group Facebook page that he received from Ted in 1984 while studying with him. James has kindly allowed us to post it permanently on our site.

Our expert music proofreader, Mike De Luca has been diligently reviewing all of our notation and newly drawn chord grids to be sure that we don’t make a botch of Ted’s work. Mike lives in France and is a superb guitarist with a wonderful grasp on Ted’s concepts and teachings. This allows him to help us to correctly interpret some of Ted’s pages, such as chord diagrams, chord names, and music notation.

Another long-time team member on the music proofreading end of things, David Bishop, still continues to contribute when able, and he has been a precious aid and supporter since we began posting Ted’s lesson write-ups.

Last but not least, each month, Jeffrey Brown brings his computer and music business skills to our site and puts all the pieces of the digital puzzle together, presenting you with these Newsletters and New Items for your education, upliftment, and enjoyment.

Please join me in a hearty round of applause to all of these selfless contributors.

~ Paul and all your friends on the TedGreene.com Team


* 1991-06-12, Part 1, Ted Greene Lesson with Mark Fitchett. [33:10 minutes. This lesson is an in-depth deconstruction and review of harmonizations for “The Days of Wine and Roses.”]

* 1991-06-12, Part 2, Ted Greene Lesson with Mark Fitchett. [46:56 minutes. Continuation of their review of “The Days of Wine and Roses,” including a discussion about “Expanded Diatonicism” and other reharmonization techniques.]

* Chord Phrases on the Urban Blues Side, 1995-03-08. [This page was written up during a private lesson. It’s a 12-bar blues, but the bar lines are not easily apparent from a casual glance on the page. So you’ll definitely want to refer to the notation page for navigation. There’s a nice “gospel influence” measure that Ted put in measure 4 that you may like. In measure 12 there is an Eb major 9 chord for which Ted provided an alternate voicing. We were not able to fit that Eb major 9 chord diagram on the notated page, so you’ll need to refer to Ted’s original page for that one, which is a real stretcher...fingered as 4, 3, 2, 2, 1.]

* Modern Chords (condensed list), 1974-12-31. [Here we have yet another collection of chord that Ted deemed important or essential for the serious student. He grouped them according to the basic types: Major, Minor 7th, Minor 7b5, Diminished 7th, Minor 6th, Minor-Major 7th, and Dominant 7ths (extended and altered). Newly drawn grids added for easy reading. You’re welcome.]

* Modern Dominant Chords Viewed from Melody, 1973-10-11 &12. [This is a large collection of dominant 7th chords, grouped according to the highest (soprano) note of the chord. Ted did not assign any specific letter names to these chords, as they are all to be understood to be moveable forms. He actually wrote, “Try chords on high and low frets. Some chords sound poor and/or cannot be played on low frets.” To figure out the letter name of each one, you need to use the soprano note as a reference to determine where the root is located. These pages can be a handy tool for when you need to find a new voicing when working on your arrangements. Newly drawn grids and chord qualities added to save your eyes. Thank you very much!]

* I’m in Love, 1997-05-16. [This is Ted’s version of the guitar part for Wilson Pickett’s song. Ted arranged the into to include some additional chord tones. This was written up at the request of a student. Notation provided for most of the song, combined with Ted’s grids.]

* Single-Note Soloing Over I-VI-ii-V in G Major, 1997-03-26. [Ted wrote out these three examples of a solo line over a standard jazz progression during a private lesson. Notated by Leon White, this page was posted on our site years ago, but got lost during some revisions.]

Under the header “Contributions by Leon White”

* Blues in F# - Walking Bass Jumpback Blues, 1989-10-09. [This is Leon’s early write-up of one of Ted’s blues pages, posted in the “Blues” section as “Walking Bass Jumpback Blues (key of F#). Leon’s page was misplaced years ago, only to resurface now.]

Under the header “Contributions by Mike Simonelli”

* Chord Chemistry Chord Index (4th Edition) – Compiled by Mike Simonelli. [Looking for a specific chord in Chord Chemistry? Use this handy index to instantly locate it in Ted’s encyclopedic book. Mike’s page numbers refer to the 4th edition, but it may apply to other editions as well (you’ll need to check against your own copy).]

Under the header “Contributions by James Cooper”

* Ted Greene Letter to James Cooper, 1984-10-31. [Just thought you might be interested in seeing a sample of an example of a personal letter Ted would write to his correspondence students. One has to wonder if Ted would be using Skype, Zoom, or YouTube to give guitar lessons if he were still with us today, trying to survive thru the Covid-19 situation.]

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March 2021 TedGreene.com Newsletter

March Greetings to the Ted Greene family!

Here’s a short excerpt from Barbara Franklin’s book, My Life with the Chord Chemist:

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[In 1984] Ted’s parents sold their house in Encino and made a final move to Palm Springs. A new home was found for his grandmother, and, after apartment shopping, Ted rented unit #9 in the El Dorado Apartment building in Encino. Just prior to signing the lease, he received the somber news that Lenny Breau had died on August 12th. Then on September 30, just after his 38th birthday Ted moved into his new apartment. Less than a month later his beloved grandmother passed away.

Other than a few short excursions exploring different living situations away from his family, the move into his new apartment found Ted living on his own for the first time in many years. His student roster steadily increased and by the end of the 1980’s he was teaching 12 hours a day, three days a week, and even reserved some Sunday afternoons for students with special circumstances, such as those traveling from out of town exclusively for a lesson. It never ceased to amaze him that students would travel from all parts of the United States and occasionally even other countries, just to take even one lesson with him….

Despite his growing student roster and the VCR infatuation, this was the beginning of Ted’s most productive years in formulating new music systems and new student lessons. He began seriously developing and elaborating on his Voicing Systems Formulations, a pet project he continued working on and improving throughout the remainder of his life.

Through the rest of the decade Ted concentrated most of his energy on his teaching and personal work. Ted was so incredibly productive during this period.

The onset of 1984 found Ted deeply involved with improving old lesson material and formulating new concepts to develop into student lesson material. He worked extensively on clarifying his Cumulative Chord Studies and Harmonic Vocabulary for his students.

In May Ted devised a new plan for himself to finally learn double-line textures by

  1. Watching the top note, after you are friendly with the fingerings, which must be tested at a brisk tempo.
  2. Play the top voice as a single line occasionally, if necessary, for visual purposes.
  3. Learn one key really well before moving to others.
  4. Stay mainly on lower string sets when you have a choice.
  5. Do 3 types of studies; arpeggios traversing the whole fingerboard, at least 3 separate positions horizontally, little fragments within these positions, lots of reverb is virtually a prerequisite,
  6. Lift the fingers - don’t hold the “back two” down unless doing double hammer-on’s or pull-off’s,
  7. Lean back from the guitar so you can see more of what’s coming up next,
  8. One of the main vehicles: Blues (in Eb) of various types, low strings - upstairs register.

Ted was inclined toward writing out extensive reference and organizational material. By using this method, he derived the optimal choices, and loved discovering surprising new ones. This type of systematic work also proved to be very relaxing for him to do.
- pages 17-18

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As you can see from the above quotes, Ted himself was the ultimate guitar student. For the past few months, we’ve been posting more of Ted’s pages that he had filed away as “Student Individual Files.” These are generally one-off pages made during private lessons. Ted would hastily write out something that targeted a specific thing that the student was interested in, and which Ted’s usual hand-out sheets didn’t cover. Undoubtedly a lot of explanation and demonstration went along with these pages, so a review of them now without Ted’s comments might not always obviously reveal all the details of the ideas meant to be conveyed. Still, they are helpful to see how he uniquely fashioned lesson pages on the spot. The student was usually asked to make a xerox copy for Ted’s records and bring it to their next lesson.
These pages usually have additional handwritten comments, such as “For Joe Smith. Next Ted: Thursday, July 23, 1983, 6:00.” Barbara Franklin requested that these personal comments be removed when we post these pages, so that’s why you haven’t seen them. An exception is in this month’s sheet, “Scale Studies (private lesson for Joe).” We still have quite a few of these pages to post, and we’re always interested in adding to the collection, so if you studied with Ted and have some of these pages (or know somebody who does), we’d love to hear from you.
We want to extend special thanks to this month’s contributors: Steve Herberman for a transcription and a Ted-inspired chord progression; François Leduc for two transcriptions: a new one and an update to a previously submitted one; Mark Fitchett for another wonderful audio lesson with Ted; and of course, Mike De Luca for proofreading all the write-ups, and catching all my typos. Thanks, Team!!!!

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~ Your Friends on the TedGreene.com Team


* Embraceable You (last 8 measures), 1997-09-03. [This was probably written up during a private lesson which the student was asking how Ted might play the last 8 bars of this beloved Gershwin tune. It was combined on the same page as Ted’s version of “September Song.” It must be remembered that all of Ted’s arrangements that he wrote down were done so for the sake of his students. Ted didn’t need to document his arrangements, which were constantly changing and evolving. His written arrangements and other lesson pages give only a glimpse into some of the many possibilities that were swirling around in his head, and they were meant as a starting point for the student’s personal exploration into the song at hand. Standard notation combined with Ted’s grid diagrams. Now...you’ll need to come up with the first part of the song!]

* September Song, 1997-09-03. [This song is normally played in the key of C, but Ted put in the key of B for the student. Maybe he was trying to get him to play in different keys and expand his thinking, or perhaps Ted was just bored with the key of C that day and wanted to change things up a bit. He left off the very ending, so we followed the lead sheet and made a very simple II7 - ii7b5 - bIImaj7 - I ending. You may prefer to do something completely different. Notation is provided, which attempts to show at least one way that the chords could be arpeggiated, as Ted suggested – but you’ll still want to add more movement with right-hand fills in order to give it more “life” and interest.]

* 1991-05-15 Ted Greene Lesson with Mark Fitchett. [Mp3 file, 320 kbps, time: 33:00. Subjects discussed: Five most common things for guitarists to do with chords: 1) Comping playing; 2) Rhythm playing; 3) Chord soloing; 4) Unaccompanied guitar (also called Solo guitar or Self-contained guitar); 5) Accompaniment playing. They reviewed “The Days of Wine and Roses” as a vehicle to learn altered dominant chords. Lydian b7 chord scale (Ted often calls it “Overtone dominant scale”). Dissonances can be softened in 3 main ways: 1) by not playing it at all; 2) by breaking the chord up; 3) by burying it under a more stable tone. Gap third chords.]

* iii-biii-ii-V (or bII), 1975-08-06 and 1975-09-20. [Ted gives us 33 different variations on this common progression in the keys of Ab and Eb. Ted’s original page #1 is all about contrary motion, while page #2 seems to be more about melodic sequences. Some great stuff here. Newly drawn grids provided for easy reading.]

* Modern Chord Reference Page, 1975-01-11 and 1978-08-18. [Here Ted organized various useful chord forms according to their basic type: major, minor 7th, minor 6th, minor-major 7th, minor 7b5, diminished 7th, and dominant 7th. In addition, he grouped the dominants according to “Group 1 & 2 sounds” (unaltered and extended dominants), “Group 3 sounds” (extended with #11ths), and “Group 4 sounds” (altered dominants). Newly drawn grid diagrams for easy reading. Also to note: Ted had 2 different copies of this page (one with some added colored highlights), and we’ve included scans of both copies.]

* The 7 Position Theory – The G Major Scale, 2000-01-12. [Many guitarists learn 5 positions for any given scale. Here Ted is showing how those can be expanded to 7 positions. He used the G major scale, and focused on the top 2 strings (mainly). It’s the students’ job to then expand these to include the other strings. Ted also provides “Visual Chord Anchors” and “Remembering Slogans” for each position. Standard notation and Tab combined with Ted’s grid diagrams.]

* Contemporary Fingerstyle (Folk), 1995-04-13. [This page has several progressions in G that Ted intended to be played as “fingerstyle (folk)” – whatever that exactly means. They’re both nice progressions that are fairly easy to play. We added simple notation, without any attempt to indicate fingerpicking patterns, arpeggios, chord “break-ups” or right-hand fills. That’s your job.]

* Fingerstyle, 1994-11-03. [Here’s another nice progression in D major with interesting voice-leading. Written during a private lesson for a student interested in fingerpicking. Ted wrote, “Apply Travis picking,” so it’s up to you to decorate these chords. Simple notation combined with Ted’s grid diagrams.]

* New (Electric) Folk, 1993-07-01 and 1993-08-19. [This is a combination of 2 lessons on modern folk for electric guitar. The first one incorporates some wonderful voice-leading, and Ted provided 3 “groovy” right-hand patterns for them. These patterns are for the top 4 strings only. You’ll need to work out right-hand fingerings for adding the lower bass notes when they are required. Simple notation added with Ted’s grids. At the bottom of the page Ted recommended that the student listen to guitarists Pierre Bensusan, Alex De Grassi, Mike Marshall, and the guitarists in Acoustic Alchemy. The second page involves more moving lines with hammer-on’s and pull-offs. He titled it, “Am Americana” [A minor Americana]. All of this is wide open for your interpretations.]

* Bb7 and G7 Runs, 1990-10-10. [Some dominant runs given to a student during a private lesson. Notation and Tab combined with Ted’s grid diagrams.]

* Different Tonalities in D, 1995-12-27. [For a student working on hearing different modes and scales, using an open D string to drone while playing the scales up and down on the A string. This could also be used as an ear-training lesson. Yes, you can play the notes, but do you hear the effect of the scale? Can you sing it before you play it? Ted often emphasized these issues. Also included are some fundamental triads for the key of D major. Notation combined with Ted’s grids.]

* Scale Studies (private lesson for Joe), October, 1990. [Given to a student working on his single-note soloing. Notation combined with Ted’s grid diagrams.]

* Someday My Prince Will Come (Baroque variations) – Transcribed by François Leduc. [Standard notation, Tab, and chord grids. It’s on the TedGreene.com site, but I’m unsure exactly where!!?? But you can hear it on YouTube here:

* Summertime – It Ain’t Necessarily So – Transcribed by François Leduc. [This is an updated version of the classic Ted arrangement he recorded on his Solo Guitar album. François made some corrections, so you’ll want to replace your old copy of this more accurate file.]

* Gershwin-esque Minor Progression From 2003-05-18 CVG Seminar – Transcribed by Steve Herberman. [Taken from the end of part 4 and into the beginning of part 5 in the video series of Ted’s seminar at California Vintage Guitars on May 18, 2003. Notation plus chord grids.]

Under the header “Contributions by Steve Herberman”:

* Ted Greene-Inspired Minor Progression with Descending Lower Line – by Steve Herberman. [After transcribing Ted’s “Gershwin-esque” progression (listed above), Steve was inspired to write up this little gem. He also made a short video of him playing it, posted on the Ted Greene Appreciation Group Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/20104448333/.]

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February 2021 TedGreene.com 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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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!

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~ Your Friends on the TedGreene.com 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 TedGreene.com, 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.”]

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January 2021 TedGreene.com Newsletter

New Year’s Greetings!

We start off this new year with a continuation of the transcribed audio lesson that we posted in November. This excerpt contains only the parts of their discussion relating to Wes’ playing. The complete transcript is available as a PDF in Mark Levy’s “From Students” section. (See our “New Items” below).

* * * * *

“All About Wes!”
(Part 2)

Private guitar lesson with Ted Greene and Mark Levy, October 18, 1993

Transcribed from the Audio Recording
[Starting at around: 23:50]

Mark: Would Wes use a chord stream on a minor?
Ted: Oh yeah. [he demonstrates…then they talk briefly about Wes’ “Bumping on Sunset”]
Mark: In certain degrees, does he [Wes] have certain sounds that he likes on certain degrees?
Ted: Yes, he surely does. That’s a very wonderful question. Let’s take all families: For major he certainly loves the I and the IV. He certainly is not afraid of a borrowed major 7 type – a major 9 or whatever – if the prior chord seems to suggest itself as a V, pulling you in there.

Like here’s one of his very favorites: bVI. [Ted demonstrates]. He just likes the bVI. So when he wrote….[he plays]
Mark: “West Coast Blues”?
Ted: There’s one of those cases: bvi minor – bII. It takes time to learn to hear the key center as all being there – as not changing keys. It’s so easy to think, “change of key.” But that would mean that this is really in that key….and it’s not; it’s all in Bb. So, you do better for your ears by thinking: I – bvii – bIII – bVI – bII – I. Which is a take-off on this progression: I – bIII – bVI – bII7 – I. So his lines… [he demonstrates]. Volume – volume difference.
Mark: All with the thumb? He never used…
Ted: All thumb.
Mark: See, I don’t play that way. I do a lot thumb, but mostly….
Ted: It’s the only way to get his sound right. It really is. If you try to do it this way, like on the octaves, if you try pinch them, it’s a nice sound, it really is. It’s very clean and focused. But you don’t get that [he demonstrates the octaves thumb brush]. It’s like a little drum. [Ted plays single-note lines and describes the progression he’s outlining.]
Mark: Flat two right there?
Ted: Sure was. Flat three – flat six – ….
Mark: Do you use that #11 on the bII?
Ted: Oh yeah. He loves that sound.
Mark: Yeah. I love that too.
Ted: So yeah, majors appear on I, IV, bVI. Not much bIII major for that man, from what I can remember. Some bII Lydians. Some. He’s not like “Lucy in the Sky” John Lennon using IIadd9. I don’t hear that sound in Wes. I just don’t associate it with him.

So, he’s fairly sparce in the major territory. Dominant: he plays all 12 dominants. He uses all 12.
Mark: Flat-Five, sharp-Five, flat-nine, sharp-nine….
Ted: Everywhere, everywhere. I mean he uses all 12 degrees.
Mark: Okay. On all 12 degrees he plays.
Ted: He plays dominants on all 12 degrees. On those as we’ve discussed before, there’s certain ones that love to have alters. Do you remember ever discussing? Or was it too many years ago?
Mark: I think it was a long time ago. I could sort of get some certain things, like I think I could…
Ted: Overtone dominants work great on everything except for — and they’ll even work on these in exceptional cases, but generally stay away from them on: III, and VII, and be careful on V.
Mark: Okay.
Ted: So, things we don’t hear in Wes Montgomery that we love in music would make a huge list. Maybe 500 things. He’s not---his palate is small, but what he does with it is fine and wonderful.

Harmony-wise, what else can I tell you, man? He’s going to play altered dominants on any degree where it pulls in by a fourth to the next chord. You know, like, if you’re on C7 going toward some kind of F?
Mark: Right.
Ted: He loves to throw in altered dominants. Just loves it!
Mark: Just the #5 for the b5 or what?
Ted: Well, there are a lot of altered dominants, but you can list them into categories. He doesn’t do that [Ted plays C7#9 and then moves the whole chord form down in half-steps] I don’t ever hear him doing what Kenny Burrell does. Kenny Burrell plays “White Christmas” and goes….[he demonstrates] But I bet you when Wes heard him do that, if he heard that record, he went, “Wow, that’s a nice use of that chord!” He doesn’t seem to play regular old #9’s that much. In fact, most guitar players who play jazz don’t.

Altered dominants consist of groupings: #5’s sound natural to the ear. You don’t have problems with those. [Ted plays G7#5 to Cmaj9] If you’re going to alter it [the dominant chord], they sound normal. If we add a b9, it still sounds normal. If we add a #9, sounds normal. If you add the natural 9, there better be a good reason because that note [the A note of the G9#5 chord] is less normal than the altered 9’s on the V.
Ray [Charles] and Joe Pass know because they go: [he demonstrates a blues lick using G9#5 to C9, then C9 to F7, etc.] It’s just a sweet sound, an altered V chord. [He continues….] That was iii, Lenny Breau style: the melody, then the bass, then the inside notes, while this is still ringing. Comp and sustain. Comp, meaning just let go of it. A9 while that’s still ringing. Very Lenny-ish, that texture. You don’t hear Wes do it. You don’t hear GV [George Van Eps] do it. No guitar player before Lenny did it. Lenny just put that piano texture on the map.

Back to Wes, though. So, he’s got all these [#5 dominant sounds] grouped in his mind. You can hear him. If you say, “How about the b5? Well, that’s a more pungent note. We notice them when they’re on the top especially. When you add an altered 9, a natural 9, #9, even the root, b7, 13 – these are all great top notes. But this note [the b5] take over the shading. It’s so powerful. Kind of like what that sus4 does to a dominant. [Ted plays a C7sus chord.] No matter what we put over this (within limits of sanity) it’s subservient to the fact that this note [F, the 4th or 11th] is in the chord now, coloring every one. The top notes are just little “window dressing.”

Say, “We’ll, that’s a 11th chord, and that’s an 11th with a 17; that’s a 13 with an 11.” Doesn’t change. You’d think all those would sound drastically different, but they don’t. They all sound like variations on, “frosting” on this big, big, big cake. I mean, it just has so much influence. The frosting is a second thought, or an afterthought, or less important.

So, the natural 9 and the raised 5 is completely different from the others. When you voice those from the 5th string root…. Let’s say we’re in G now. And you put b9 [on the V chord, or C7b9], we know that people associate #9 with b9. We all do it. They sound like they’re friends. We could put raised 5 on top of either of those…. [he demonstrates] Those are pretty similar.
Mark: I gottcha on that one.
Ted: A b5 again is more pungent. It jumps out differently than the other do.
Mark: Does it want to be sort of an appoggiatura sound?
Ted: Yeah, it does. Either down or especially up in jazz. It loves to come up. When guys go…[he plays Am9 (B on top) to D7b9b5 (Ab on top) to Gmaj9 (A on top) and other examples.]

So, Wes has got all that stored away. He uses all those chords. He even occasionally will use a raised 9 with the b5, but less than the other three.
When you say 13b9, that’s real diatonic, and real smooth and easy and pretty.
Mark: 13b9 on any degree?
Ted: Watch: “Misty” key of G: Am7 (with the melody way up high) – D13 (b9 with a 13) to [G major 9]
Mark: Yes.
Ted: The melody if you never heard “Misty” could probably go…[he demonstrates]. That’s a song called “Poinciana”
Mark: I used to play that song.
Ted: “Ebbtide” just like “Misty” [he demonstrates].
13b9’s to Wes often involve not playing the root. He likes those little dark ones, instead of… He likes both. 13#9 I don’t hear him using. I don’t hear almost any guitar player. I hear big bands use it. I just don’t know any guitar players that made a career out of it. Barney Kessel and Tal Farlow used the wildest chords at one point, because they both played at least two strings on demand with their thumb. So they have chords like that, and they can use them.
Mark: Wow.
Ted: But that’s another era. Most of us aren’t as influenced by their chord style as Wes. He just kind of took over for our ears on how to play chords. And Lenny [Breau] for the other way. And George Van Eps for the solo guitar way. Between the three of them, you just get three massively different approaches to textures, and voicings, and general approach; rhythmically, and everything – it’s different, between those three giants. I keep them all separate in my mind. I know that they’re all tremendously easy to love at their best, and they’re all doing completely different things. It’s incredible!

In the altered dominant arena, you have suspended types with lowered 9’s — that’s a unique sound too. Now we come over to something that Wes Montgomery is fond of: he’s one of the only guitar players to play sounds like that, that I’ve ever heard. That’s A11 (key of D): he’s got A11 with a b9. [A, G, Bb, D, A] There’s the 11; there’s the b9. So here’s a tune [Ted demonstrate using the A11b9 chord] …[end of tape side 1] So, expect a blue tone on occasion.

Here’s a real unusual chord you never see in the charts: A11#5. [A, G, B, D, E#] I’m putting it on A in case you want to use the open strings. Where might you use that? [Ted plays some blues using the A11#5 chord]. It’s got a blues sound because of that [#5].
Mark: It sure does.
Ted: Instead of… [he plays a A13sus chord]. “Milestones” That’s that other vibe. So…[C13sus] not [C11#5].
Don’t look for that in Wes Montgomery, that 11#5.
So, that about---for now, that’s about all about altered dominants. He uses them on so many degrees. Again, if the next chord is a fourth higher, expect---don’t be surprised if he’s using them.
Mark: Rhythmically, how does he put that in? Is it like, an off-beat that he throws that stuff….?
Ted: He might push it in the last half of a bar, or he just plays the whole bar of it.

So, we have some loose ends on Mr. Montgomery to patch up this evening. Mark, we’re going to do that, clearly, okay? But if you have questions, I want you to ask.
Mark: Right.
Ted: Let’s go back. Single-lines: loose ends on that: he loves triplets, man. Just loves, loves, loves to deliver triplets. Much more than any guitar player I’ve ever heard. Closest thing is Freddie King, believe it or not, with triplets. They both love triplets. Most guitar players…[he demonstrates]. Wes is… [he demonstrates same tempo but with triplets].
Mark: I love that. I love that too!
Ted: Yeah, man. He just loves to play triplets.
Mark: Just like arpeggiating them, or…?
Ted: Well, when you say, “arpeggiating them” – who doesn’t play arpeggios? He plays off of arpeggios, okay. He’ll make a melody, always it seems, out of an arpeggio. He just doesn’t go…
Mark: Right. It’s not straight; square.
Ted: Seldom. He’ll just try to come back where he’s just been, and go lower than that, maybe, in kind of semi-pattern ideas. But he never carries it far enough to where you’re upset.

What else with his lines? He’s the most “half-step slide guy.” He’s always doing that. Tal Farlow was famous for it too. His top notes are almost always vocal-like. He’s not above a little vibrato every now and then. Not real often, though. No reverb; no tremolo. No wang-bar.
Mark: Would you consider him basically not a real chromatic type of guy?
Ted: Correct. He’s not real chromatic. Not at all. George Benson is really chromatic. At his best George is an extremely chromatic player. But Wes wasn’t. But he’s piquant, spicy. Those are spicy notes. But it’s not chromatic music. And it’s not diatonic. Chromatic music is… [he demonstrates.] All those chromatic effects, where it starts to even lose the key if you’re not careful. But when Wes goes…. [he demonstrates]
Mark: You still hear a key.
Ted: Yeah. Like if he’s playing [he plays and hums “’Round Midnight”] On that One [i]…if he… [he plays single-line]
Mark: What kind of sound was that?
Ted: Melodic minor. [he plays] The two most important arpeggios in melodic minor have to do with… [he demonstrates] You know, minor-major 7 with or without more color after that. And the minor 6.

Triplet’s, rhythmically. Start-and-stop stutters: the true sign of Bop phrasing. [he demonstrates] Because a lot of those bop heads are stuttering. Yeah. Wes is---he’s a heavy stutterer, man. His solo on “Caravan” is full of those stutters.
Mark: That’s a good analogy. I’ve never…I mean, I’ve known it. I’ve heard Bird… [Mark sings]…you know, start-and-stop-stuttering” – that’s really great, Ted.
Ted: Yeah, thank you. There’s a little stuttering in there.
Now, harmony-wise let’s see if there are any loose ends. Hallmarks: his V inserts. When he’s on the Two minor [ii] one of his very favorite things is to go backwards in the cycle and insert its own V. Of all the sounds he does, that’s to me the most identifiable – other than that “co-minor” thing – as a Wes thing. If I’m listening to a record and I hear a guy go…say he’s already on the Two [ii] chord, you know, like the song goes…[he demonstrates…] And later it’s just on the ii, and he’s going to improvise, he goes…[he demonstrates]
Mark: You’re doing a b9 or…on the VI?
Ted: Just b9s. Usually almost always just as on b9s. That’s his sound for when he moves around on the VI – exactly – which is the V of that ii.
Mark: Like you said, he didn’t have a large palate, but he was very sophisticated with the use of it.
Ted: Yeah, very musical. Yeah, it’s semi-sophisticated. It’s sophisticated enough that’s it’s interesting intellectually, but especially it’s just so musical.
Mark: Musical – that’s sure!
Ted: He’s got a warm approach to that sound.
So, that’s---. For minor keys he definitely is a “Dorian man” – he loves to go forward – the opposite of “co-minor.” You know, associate with the Four dominant [IV7]? [he demonstrates]. He’s got a million tunes like that.
Mark: Yeah, “Unit Seven.”
Ted: Just a lot of them. Here’s….[he plays]
Mark: He seems to fade out chromatically. Is that chromatic sort of…?
Ted: Yeah, that’s more chromatic when he goes…[Ted plays and sings] if he wrote a tune….
It’s that flat-5 relationship.

So, anything else about Wes? Let me think: Timing, Harmony, Sense of Form – we’ll save that for another time. That’s a big subject: Form.
Mark: Octaves?
Ted: Yeah, of course. I was going to talk about the octaves. I’m not 100% convinced, but I tend to think he’s watching the lowest note because his brother’s bass thing. Hand is free when he does octaves. For lines he plants the fingertips down; touches the [pick]guard and pushes on it, kind of. But for octaves he lets go of everything. Does backstrokes sometimes. When he wants the real fast thing that he does, he uses the nails – the back of the nails, not the fingers, surprisingly. I thought for sure he was using the thumb. If he wants an occasional one of those, he’ll use the thumb. But when he does that real fast thing, like when he goes…. [he demonstrates] I thought he was going to use the thumb, but he’ll use the nails.
Mark: That’s cool.
Ted: It’s hard to get it just right with nails, though. I’m using one finger to do it. I find that’s more controllable.
Mark: Was he a guy you think that practiced 8, 10 hours a day when he was growing up, or what?
Ted: You see, he couldn’t. And when you read the bio, as a young boy he had a guitar. The myth that he started at 19 is a myth, because he did fool around on the axe from about age 10, 11, whatever. But he just fooled around; didn’t make the serious strides he felt he made later. But other people thought he was really good already, including when he was a young boy, so. That came out later. But when he was---really got deep into that Charlie Christian thing, remember....
Mark: Right. He bought an album and he learned all the licks, or something.
Ted: You know the story: he was a newlywed, he was working a gig in the day and playing afterhours at night, late. (No, what I was going to say.) He was working a gig in the day, and he’d come home and practice after dinner. He might have gotten 5 or 10 [hours of practice] in those day, huh? Because he got awful good in a couple of years. He went out on the road with Lionel Hampton. Did it for a while, about a year. Missed his family, came back.
Mark: Right.
Ted: That’s when he started performing live, just doing [Charlie] Christian solos, and started to jam afterhours. Then he got a gig working afterhours, too, as a musician. So, there’s a long story in the Wes Montgomery biography book about a typical day: how he’d go to work, he’d do the welding. He’d get off at, say, 4:00; he’d come home, take a nap. He’d eat and take a nap, and then go to the second gig. And then he’d come home at 6:00 in the morning and sleep for maybe an hour, and get up and go to work again.
Mark: Wow! Hard.
Ted: Yeah, he had two jobs, and then later he had two jobs and he would sit in at other clubs. So, he barely would sleep in those days. In other words, he was making the rounds besides gigging at night.
Mark: Yeah. He didn’t drink either.
Ted: Wasn’t a drinker. Heavy smoker.
Mark: Big smoker.
Ted: Coffee drinker, so I think the caffeine and the nicotine, man, both… Well, they may have got him, but they also gave him all that energy a little bit too, I would think. They say he was a quick study, though. He would listen to a song, and just after hearing it once he could join in and play.
Mark: He had great ears. Wow!
Ted: That’s a remarkable study, man.
Mark: So, he had great ears.
Ted: They say he had perfect pitch. So, he was one of those genius cats.

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~ Your Friends on the TedGreene.com Team


* bVII7 - VI7 - bVI7 - V7, 1977-10-02. [Twenty-eight examples of turnarounds using this descending progression, broken into “root in the bass” and “3rd in the bass” variations. Examples given in the keys of Eb, G, E, Ab, F, and Db. Notation combined with Ted’s original grids.]

* III7 (or I) - VI7 - II7 - V7, 1977-10-02. [Thirty examples of this often-used progression, all in root position, and all given in the key of G. Newly drawn grids provided for easy reading.]

* I - IV’s with Melodizing and Bell-like Rings, 1988-06-15. [This is a fun lesson wherein Ted shares some chord “moves” that emphasize sustaining a note between chords. He wrote here: “…Please let all voices ring and sing as much as is possible and musically sensible. Naturally this means you’ll have to choose good fingerings that may be a little off from what you’d normally do. Everything should flow and sound rich. Some of this won’t be easy, but a real listener will hear (and appreciate) the difference when ‘things ring.’” We’ve combined standard notation and chord names with Ted’s original grids.]

* I - VI7 - ii7 - V7 and Friends on Top 4 Strings, 1984-02-22. [There are very few progressions in jazz more commonly used than this one. Ted gives us 19 examples for the top 4 strings, some with a moving line (the X notes). We have added an “answers” page with the chord names added in blue, and some of the text typed out for easy reading.]

* I’m in the Mood for Love (bass line), 1978-12-08. [Ted wrote a walking bass line for this standard with “double-time changes,” but he didn’t include the melody. We created new notation and added the melody. At the end he asks the player to D.C. (to go back to the beginning), but in a new key. You’ll need to work that one out for yourself.]

* Arpeggios with Extensions, 2001-03-21. [This is a small collection of some extended arpeggios that Ted gave to a student during a private lesson. Some of them he indicated as “Wes,” “Trane,” “3-note post-bop or ultra-jazz,” “rows of 3rds,” or “couplets.” New notation with TAB (can you believe it? !]

* The Little Drummer Boy, transcription by Mike Simonelli. [Taken from a private lesson with Nick Stasinos that was video tapped. Ted doesn’t play the song straight thru, but stops and starts, discusses, shows alternate ways to harmonize, etc. “Big Mike” Simonelli pieced the segments together to create a complete version (with some alternatives). Times stamps are provided to aid in seeing where the various parts occur in the video. Notation with Ted-style grids provided. Thanks Mike!

* All About Wes - Ted Greene Lesson with Mark Levy, 1993-10-18 [This is the full transcript of Mark’s lesson with Ted wherein he spoke about Wes Montgomery. Excerpts of this was shared in our November 2020 and this current January 2021 Newsletter. The initial reason for transcribing this recording was to provide some text of Ted’s insights about Wes for a book that is being written about Wes. This book will be in Italian, and it’ll have an entire chapter featuring Ted’s thoughts on Wes. We look forward to sharing more about this once the book is published. For now, you can read this unabridged portion in English, which can be found in our “From Students” section under the header, “Contributions by Mark Levy.” Be sure to listen to the audio recording!]

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