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Winter 2023 TedGreene.com Newsletter

Warm January greetings to all lovers of harmony, guitar, and Ted. Before we get to the new lesson items from Ted’s Personal Music Studies files, we wanted to share with you William Perry’s interesting Introduction in Barbara Franklin’s book, My Life With the Chord Chemist. If you haven’t read it yet, perhaps this article will whet your appetite a bit. William wrote: “Barbara and I had many ‘discussions’ nightly in the year proceeding the publishing of her book. We disagreed on most of the major things, and she was not happy with my Introduction. I didn’t even know if she left it in. She did, however, write me a touching, heartfelt thank you in the copy that she gave to me.”

Barb obviously saw Ted in a slightly different light that William, but you’ll have to read her book fully to understand this. However, she did subtitle it, A Memoir of Ted Greene: Apotheosis of Solo Guitar. Not a commonly used word, Apotheosis is defined as:

  1. The perfect form or example of something: Quintessence;
  2. The highest or best part of something: Peak;
  3. Elevation to divine status: Deification.

The word apotheōsis, from the verb apotheoun, meaning “to deify.” (The prefix apo- can mean “off,” “from,” or “away,” and theos is the Greek word for “god.”) Merriam-Webster’s extended use of apotheosis as “elevation to divine status” is the equivalent of “placement on a very high pedestal.” So, perhaps Barb was alluding to the third definition, and agreed with William on a certain level. She defined his piece as, “A Sort-of Introduction.”

Ted Greene:
Genius and a Saint

For a couple of decades this idea had been forming in my mind: Could it be that my dearest friend might be, not only a genius but a saint, as well? Oh sure, I believed that he was a “musical genius” from the beginning. If anyone can have that title, then certainly it applied to Ted. “Gosh, just look at his fingers, and hear all those sounds. Wow, I’m confused, overwhelmed, could never do that. He’s got to be a genius.”

So one day in my forties – being socially inept and immature for my age – I bring it up to Ted! Oh my God! Have you ever had the wrath of a genius and a saint come down on you? Not pretty; you wouldn’t forget it, and not very saintly. End of discussion. But somehow the idea does not fade from my mind. In fact, the evidence is mounting (as I become more enlightened), that I am right.

A few years later, “So, Ted, can I tell you why I think you are, and where I’m coming from?” “No.” But, at least our friendship and my life were not in jeopardy. More years pass and I’m convinced that it is true. So, a third time I tell Ted of my convictions (why did I feel the need to tell him? I had plenty of affirmation from others). This time he acts in the true spirit of sainthood. Ted just looks at me, and that look says to me: “Ah so, Grasshopper. It is written that some are destined to embrace delusion: It is good if it gives one pleasure and harms no one.” Yes! Finally, I take that as a win.

Saint: I know that religion is not popular today, and the Catholic Church…forget it. But in the Catholic Church, saints are ordinary men (and a few chicks too) who through their kind, loving, benevolent work are nominated for sainthood, and voted on. What could be more fair? Jesus was voted on as God, and won. Not a bad choice considering some of the other candidates. So, I nominate Ted. Honestly, was there a kinder more loving man?

After 20 years of not playing guitar, I call my friend and declare that I want to be a jazz guitarist. Ted could not be more excited and happier for me. He immediately gets out his book and I am there. Ted, “You can never pay me though.” “But, Ted!” I protest and come up with numerous ways to compensate him. Ted: “We are friends. What would you charge me to see you?” As always, Ted has the last word; free lessons for life without any possibility or way of repaying him is our deal.

The first lesson I am trying to play some of the chords in an arrangement of Ted’s. He yells at me, “The G, the G, stop hitting that!” Now, try not playing for 20 plus years and not hit the G. It is always right under the D and those strings are so close and so hard to hit one at a time. So instead of just D we get D/G. I’m sure Ted thought that I was kidding. How could anyone play so poorly? What was he getting into?

Just messing with Ted – which I was addicted to – I respond, “Why can’t you be nice, kind, and patient with me like you were with the student before?” What a mistake! For the next year and a half Ted always asked how I was feeling, was he treating me with patience, was I okay, was he kind enough? I told him then, and on numerous occasions that I was just kidding, but he suffered. Saints take these things very seriously. He could never live with the thought of injuring another sentient being, or vegetation for that matter.

Genius: I know part of the reason that Ted and other true geniuses get upset when called one. It seems to discount the amount of hard work and sacrifice that one has to go through to get to such unbelievable levels of greatness. And, Ted certainly has written and spoken about the tens of thousands of hours he spent behind his precious “wood.”

Arriving at Ted’s one day I immediately say to him, “How many years have we been friends?” “Decades” he responds. “So, in all these years I see you sitting cross-legged on the floor playing the guitar. You hardly do anything else, right?” “True” he responds. “Well, shouldn’t you be better?” Ted breaks out into his spontaneous great laughter, and after a moment there is a pause. And I see that for a millisecond he is considering if, in fact, this can be true. “Naw!” And then greater, deeper laughter. What a glorious moment. A truth: No one has ever spent more time behind, and bent over a fingerboard. Ted knew that he could not do it any better, and I knew that no one could. A genius and a saint.

I want to add just a touch or an aspect of Ted’s personality and his loves. Ted used to make intersections where giants would meet. So, I believe that Ted’s musical soul was at the intersection of Bach, Gershwin, and Charles Avenue. Ted’s playing was the intersection of Bach, Gershwin, Charles Avenue, and George Van Eps.

Ted was an intellectual and the consummate wordsmith. He was the illegitimate child of George Carlin, and Dennis Miller, with the knowledge of details of a Tom Robbins, plus the humor of Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, and Jonathan Winters.

I loved these characteristics and traits of Ted. One day after a student had left filled with awe and inspiration, I said to Ted, “I’m sick of the love, respect and admiration that your students have for you. I am much more intelligent than you, kinder, and spiritually I’ve passed you.” Ted, “I know you surpassed me years ago. I tell everyone that. I don’t get that they just don’t listen.” And, then 20 minutes of Carrey, Carlin, Miller, Winters…ah, heaven. God, to laugh like that again, to have one more minute with this beautiful soul.

Ted was my brother, but he was also my father. He believed in me and encouraged me all my life. And, I love him as I love my son. I was proud of him and blessed that he shared his life and accomplishments with me.

I’ve never loved a man more. I try every day to model my life after Ted. All the good that I do is inspired by him. I wish for all of you, that you get to be in the presence of such kindness and love; it is life changing.

That’s what I think…ah, oh…this book. Could this book cover all that Ted was? No. It would be too much to ask. Many humans haven’t even figured out that animals have feelings. How could we expect anyone to describe the evolution of genius or saint, or even to understand it? Ted was enormously complex.

There is another book that can be written about Ted. It would be written by you. Just as someone could reconstruct almost every moment of Richard Feynman’s life, or Albert Einstein, or John Lennon – one could account for almost every moment of Ted’s. Is there anyone who ever met Ted that doesn’t remember everything about that meeting? I’ve never known anyone who met Ted that didn’t have a “Ted story.” We never forget.

This book, however, is about what Ted did when you weren’t around. A love story. At first I thought the title should be Ted Attempts to Clean His Apartment. It seemed important to them. To me Wow! A young man’s dream, all those cool books, magazines, papers, VCR’s, guitars, amps, cassettes, vinyl, CD’s. Barbara also tells us of their adventures to Guitar Stores, friends’ homes, family, and seminars. If you didn’t already know, you are let in on Ted’s intimate feelings about film composers, cars, cats, the Lakers, and the Angels. (I wish I could have shown him my signed photo of Robert Horry’s shot that beat the Kings.)

Barbara gives us an exclusive behind-the-scenes view of Ted completely exposed, i.e., without guitar in hand. What was that like!? We get to know some of his values and lifestyle. We gain a better understanding of Ted. Armed with these insights, one can even extrapolate as to how Ted would face “current” issues. We can speak unequivocally and with confidence as to why, for example, Ted would never trade his clunker for cash.

Along, and underscoring, this beautiful and joyous journey, Barbara allows us to see her relationship with Ted unfold. Her deep love for Ted is revealed. As it captures my heart, I feel uncomfortable, like a voyeur. Her love for Ted is so personal, so intimate, so deep. Now, I am fearful for Barbara, as it feels so personal, so revealing. “Are you sure you want to publish this?”

It is her story. A story that she feels passionate about, and needs to tell. So here Ted’s history is revealed in the intimate, subtle, and the sublime. A relationship journey told before the guitar story, before the chronology of his achievements, before his character study, and accomplishments. A journey of the heart.

~ William Perry
September 2009, Oxnard, California

* * * * *

Special thanks to those who helped with this newsletter:

  • François Leduc for two more of his excellent transcriptions.
  • Mike de Luca and James Hober for proofreading.
  • William Perry for allowing us to republish his words from Barb’s book.
  • And as always, Jeffrey D Brown for putting it all together, posting everything, and notifications on social media.

One last note: I found a small typo in the notation of Ted’s arrangement of “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” that was posted years ago. The new corrected version can now be found in our Arrangements section.

Enjoy the new items, and all of us here wish you a warm holiday season.

~ Paul and Your Friends on the TedGreene.com Team


* Baroque Harmonizing of Repeated Descending 4ths, 1982-05-18. [Twenty-nine short examples of various harmonizations of a melody that moves up a fourth, and then repeats in a descending manner. (Most of the examples give the first few notes, and then “etc.” added at the end – meaning that you are to continue with this pattern until you run out of fingerboard. Notation only is given, since Ted wanted this to be done with multiple fingerings and locations on the fingerboard, starting from other degrees of the key, and in Melodic and/or Harmonic Minor keys. Written for Am or C, but should be transposed to other keys as well.]

* Complete List of 3- and 4-Note Vertical Structures, 1978-09-15, 2001-12-10. [As part of his exhaustive study on chord voicings, here Ted charts out all the triads and 4-note chords based on a C root. He wrote, “From a C root: by the letter names involved – not by voicing types and layouts here.” He also commented, “Amazing that the seeming vastness of chord types containing 3 or 4 notes (or more if doubled notes are included) breaks down to just these. I would have figured on there being 100’s of them.” Retyped for your easy reading.]

* Impressionistic-Romantic Sounds, 1976-09-01. [From just a quarter page of ideas he jotted down, we were able to follow-thru with Ted’s ideas in notation and grid diagrams. Nice sounding Impressionistic passages immerged, reminding one of Debussy and others, especially if a pedal bass note is added.]

* Texture Catalogue, New – For Fills, Intros, Endings, Interludes, 1980-12-27. [Ted notates and catalogues over 50 examples of different musical textures to be used in a wide variety of situations. These range from single-note lines, dyads, triads, and more. Many of his examples get an idea started, then followed with “etc.” In typing out this page up, we used blue notation show some of the examples that we followed-thru with in order to finish the idea. We retyped the notation for easy reading, but because the fingering possibilities are too numerous, we left it to you to work them out on the fingerboard. And of course, Ted would probably recommend that these be done in many (or all) keys.]

* Texture Catalogue as Applied to Dm6, Dm6/9, G9, G13, G13#11, 1980-09-06. [Please refer to Ted’s other page on Texture Catalogue to get a grasp of what he is laying out here. This page isn’t really meant as a lesson page, but simply shows Ted’s in-depth study and thinking processes on this subject – in this case the harmony being Dm6 and G9 types.]

* Voicings for B, C, D, G, 1978-06-25. [What is it? Cmaj9no3, Am11noR,5, Gadd11, or D7/6sus, no5…or all of the above? Well, Ted gives us 28 chord forms for these four notes to expand your thinking about this beautiful sound. (Some of them are very practical for immediate application; while others fall in the realm of, “Nice idea, but my fingers are in revolt!”) As usual, Ted advocates to “Do on all strings; in various cycles.” He also added, “The ear hears these sounds as being in G.”]

Under the Header of “5-Note Chord Voicings”

* 5-Note Diminished Voicings, 1984-07-21. [Ted discovered that there are nine types of diminished voicing which use 5 different notes. On this page he wrote out the chord diagrams for all that belong to his “P-2” and “P-3” voicing groups. P stands for “Pentatonic” or 5-note chord groups, of which Ted determined that there were 44 (P-1 thru P-44). Most of the chord forms on this page require large stretches and/or the use of the right-hand to add another fretted note after playing the other notes. We redrew the diagrams to save your eyes from squinting at Ted’s itsy-bitsy writing on the original, and we used 7-frets-tall grids so there was comfortable spacings. Find one or two forms that you like and can use, and shelve the rest for another rainy day.]

* 5-Note Miscellaneous Choice Voicings (1989, 1986). [A collection of chord diagrams of various 5-note chords, mostly from 1989. Ted included the “P” number for most of these.]

* System for Discovering 5-Note Diminished 7 Scale Voicings, 1986-03-02. [Ted charts out all the possible chord formulas for 5-note chords in an 8-noted diminished scale. The example here is for C diminished. He has already defined that there are 15 different types; now he’s looking at the specific intervals of the scale that are needed in the construction of these 15 chords. The specific voicings and inversions make “more than 150 - 200 voicings” each. This page lays it out in the simplest terms. Retyped for clarity.]

* Voicings of 5-Voice and 5-Letter Name Pitches Chords for Guitar, 1976, 1980-02-17, 1984-06-27. [Ted wrote out in music notation all the 5-voice chords for Amaj9 (or F#m11noR, or B13sus). We retyped his notation and added grid diagrams to show how these would be played on the guitar. Usually, there is only one form which works on guitar, so we took the liberty to define these. However, you might find slight variations or fingerings that will also work. Ted grouped these as 1) root in bass; 2) 3rd in bass; 3) 5th in bass; 4) 7th in bass; and 5) 9th in bass. He was primarily thinking of these as Amaj9 chord, but those with the 9th in the bass tend to sound and function better as B13sus chords.]

* Arpeggio Patterns (1976-03-15, 1984-01-25). [Three single-note scale patterns for A13sus harmony, and three patterns (plus variations) for Fm7 harmony.]

* Good Single-Line Sequences (1980-1983). [A collection of miscellaneous thoughts Ted wrote on a single page. Re-notated in standard notation plus TAB]

* Japanese Scale, 1978-11-10. [Notes and chords for the 5-note scale of C, E, F#, G, B (interpreted as either: key of Em: 1, 2, b3, 5, b6, or as key of C: 1, 3, #4, 5, 7).
Notation provided, matched up with Ted’s original grid diagrams.]

You can find these 11 new pages by following this path:
The V-System > V-System Lesson Sheets > V-2 > Dominant 7 (altered) Types

* V-2 Worksheet, Top 4 Strings, Dominant 7 Colors, Root on Top, 1984-11-22. [This series of V-2 Worksheets represent just one step in Ted’s efforts to catalogue the V-2 dominant 7 chords. This batch focuses on organizing the chords according to the top (soprano) note. These are all moveable / transferrable chord forms, so they can be adapted for any root. However, Ted listed many of them with a D root as an example. Most of the time he did not include fret numbers, so you’ll need to figure that out based on the top note/interval.]

* V-2 Worksheet, Top 4 Strings, Dominant 7 Colors, 3rd on Top, 1985-01-19
* V-2 Worksheet, Top 4 Strings, Dominant 7 Colors, b5th (#11th) on Top, 1985-01-19
* V-2 Worksheet, Top 4 Strings, Dominant 7 Colors, 5th on Top, 1985-01-20
* V-2 Worksheet, Top 4 Strings, Dominant 7 Colors, #5th on Top, 1985-01-20
* V-2 Worksheet, Top 4 Strings, Dominant 7 Colors, b7th on Top, 1985-01-20
* V-2 Worksheet, Top 4 Strings, Dominant 7 Colors, b9th on Top, 1985-01-19
* V-2 Worksheet, Top 4 Strings, Dominant 7 Colors, 9th on Top, 1985-01-16
* V-2 Worksheet, Top 4 Strings, Dominant 7 Colors, #9th on Top, 1985-01-19
* V-2 Worksheet, Top 4 Strings, Dominant 7 Colors, 11th on Top, 1985-01-19
* V-2 Worksheet, Top 4 Strings, Dominant 7 Colors, 13th on Top, 1985-01-20

* Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Transcribed by François Leduc. [Another brilliant transcription from the ever-prolific François Leduc. This one comes from Ted’s seminar he gave at California Vintage Guitars on December 14, 2003. Complete with standard notation, Tab, and chord grids. Thank you, François!]

* Once In a While. Transcribed by François Leduc. [Taken from Ted’s 1977 “Special Recording” session in a trio setting (with Shelly Mann on drums, Chuck Domanico on bass). Standard notation, Tab, and chord grids. Thanks again, François!!]

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