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Fall 2023 TedGreene.com Newsletter

Autumn Greetings to all Ted Greene fans and friends!

We’re pleased in this newsletter to feature the following article from one of Ted’s students, Tsuyoshi Ichikawa. I’d like to encourage you all to watch and listen to some of his YouTube videos, especially his “’Round Midnight” arrangement that was inspired by lessons with Ted’s. Tsuyoshi has contributed several lesson materials for this newsletter, and we look forward to more from him in the future.

Studying With Ted Greene
By Tsuyoshi Ichikawa

How I First Met Ted

In 1990 I took a single guitar lesson at a very small music school in Los Angeles where they accepted overseas students. During this lesson the guitar instructor checked out my knowledge of music theory, my ability to improvise over chord changes, my skills at sight-reading, etc. I had been working as a full-time guitar player for 8 years in Japan before coming to America, so already I had a degree of aptitude and competency on the instrument. After hearing me he said “I have nothing to teach you.” This is not meant to say that I was at an “advanced” level, but just that most of the other students at this school were either children or beginners, and that this teacher was not able to give me the level instruction that I craved.

The teacher asked me what style of music I wanted to study, I answered “solo guitar.” Right away he said that Ted Greene would be the perfect teacher for me. At that time I didn’t know who Ted Greene was. I had never heard his album or seen any of his books. After the first lesson, the principal of the school called Ted, and he accepted me as his student.

I went to Ted’s El Dorado apartment in Encino to take the first lesson. Everything he showed me was mind-blowing. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! I immediately synchronized my thinking and playing into Ted’s way of playing. I took one-hour lessons each week. Every lesson was shocking and informative. After 6 months I had to return to Japan, so unfortunately those glorious lessons had to come to an end.

After returning to Japan, I again started gigging and teaching as a full-time guitarist in Osaka. But the feeling that I really wanted to study more with Ted again and for longer sessions, continued to grow. Eventually I decided to move back to LA to continue studying with him.

In-Depth Studying

In February of 1995 I resumed my lessons with Ted, but this time I took 2-hour lessons each week, sometimes twice a week. I wanted to take as many lessons as possible during my stay in Los Angeles, because I didn’t know how long I would be able to remain in the US.

I recorded every lesson on cassette tapes, and then tried to transcribe what I learned by the next lesson. As Ted’s students know it’s very hard to transcribe everything! Every lesson started with my question of how he played something from the last lesson.

I always brought to each lesson something that I wanted to study. Ted would always let me play my arrangement or my ideas first. He would listen carefully, then give me his thoughts and show me all sorts of other options or things that could be done. Ted explained everything based on the theory, almost never saying, “I don’t know why I play this; it’s just because it sounds good.” No. He always knew the whys and was able to explain it so clearly. Luckily, I was the type of player who always thought about theory first when playing. This is the result of having a guitar teacher who stressed the importance of music theory to me early on when I first started learning back in Japan.

Memorable Words

Back then I just played the songs in the keys in which people usually play them. For example, “All the Things You Are” in Ab, or “Girl from Ipanema” in F. I had given up on transposing to other keys. But I really wanted to be able to play like Ted. Ted told me, “Tsuyoshi, if you want to be a shredder or heavy metal guitarist you don’t need to study how to transpose, but for the style you are pursuing this topic is vital.” When I asked him how a person could memorize so many chords, songs, etc., and he told me, “Stay home a lot; give up going out!”

Previously I used to think about the degree of each chord while playing, but after I learned Ted’s “Road Map” method it became so much easier for me to transpose into other keys. When Ted and I were talking about this he said, “Earlier today I was thinking about the chord changes of “Stella by Starlight” in the key of B when sitting on the toilet”! One time when I was tuning up right before the lesson started, Ted said, “‘Have You Met Miss Jones’ key of D” and then he counted off the tempo. I managed to recite the chord changes, but it was very hard. Another time during a lesson we were working on a solo guitar arrangement of “All the Things You Are” and he changed keys. He said that staying in one key is boring – but to me it felt very chaotic! Ted always told me that I should think about each note degree-wise. He asked me “What is b6th note of Ab?” I replied, “It’s E or Fb” — taking 3 seconds to answer. He said, “Quicker!” I should’ve been able to answer right away!

A Kind and Gentle Person

Ted was a very warm-hearted person. Sometimes, because of my poor English, I couldn’t understand what he was explaining about his playing or the theory behind it. When I said, “I’m sorry.” Ted said, “No, it’s me who has to say sorry. I need to find an easier way to describe these things for my students to clearly understand.” Then he would try other ways to explain until I finally got it.

If my memory is correct Ted charged only $18.00 for a one-hour lesson, while many other guitar teachers at that time were charging $50.00 an hour. One day Ted said in an apologetic way, “I have to raise the lesson fee. Very sorry.” I said “Of course! You can raise it to $100.00.” Several days before this I was speaking with John Pisano at the “Papashon” restaurant in Pasadena, and he agreed that Ted’s lessons were easily worth $100.00 an hour. Nevertheless, Ted raised his fee to just $20.00! If during our lessons he would get a phone call that lasted a long time, he would insist on giving me a discount for that lesson. Ted once said, “I just barely get by and can only save a little bit of money, enough to buy more guitars.” I suggested that maybe if he taught more, he could save more money, but he replied, “No, I want to practice!”

Some Guitar Techniques I Learned from Ted

I learned some unique left-hand guitar techniques from Ted:

  1. Using the flattened ring finger
  2. Using the flattened middle finger
  3. Using the side of the first joint of index finger (The George Van Eps “Fifth finger technique”)
  4. Single-finger double-stops: Pressing 2 strings on the same fret with the tip of the middle finger

These are difficult to play, but when you get used to using them, they are very helpful for grabbing difficult chords.

Ted talked about his guitars set-up during a lesson.

  • The neck should be as straight as possible; no relief.
  • The strings are as low as possible, without buzzing.
  • The nut cut as low as possible.
  • The action should be set as low as possible, but without any buzzing.

Playing Out

I once asked Ted why he didn’t play solo guitar in front of people as a live performance. He said, “I’m not ready for it.” I thought, “Well, if Ted says this then nobody can ever play in front of people!” Ted wasn’t satisfied with playing a perfectly executed performance if the arrangement was entirely prepared. He wanted his arrangements to be spontaneous, with key changes, interludes, groove changes, adding his Baroque improvisations, weaving in and out of pop, blues, Gospel, jazz, Americana, etc. There is no one who could play guitar like Ted. He was a true master of harmony.

Ted completely changed my musical life. I will treasure the time I had with him forever. I learned so many things from Ted: songs, walking chords, intros, endings, interludes, modulation, artificial harmonics, Baroque improv., etc. Ever since then I’ve been studying, practicing, and researching everything that I learned from him — one life time is not enough to assimilate everything! Ted Greene was the consummate teacher, player, and friend.

Thank you SO MUCH Ted.

~Tsuyoshi Ichikawa

Tsuyoshi at Ted’s apartment for a lesson.

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We’d like to give special thanks all those who helped with this newsletter and the new lesson write-ups:

  • Tsuyoshi Ichikawa for his article on Ted, the ‘Round Midnight arrangement, three From Students pages, and a transcription.
  • Mark Levy for his work on Ted’s “Modern Dominants Organized by Outer Voices” page.
  • Mike Deluca, our ace musical proofreader.
  • Marcus Tardelli for his transcriptions.
  • James Hober for V-System input and proofreading.
  • Nick Stasinos for his extra set of eyes on the ‘Round Midnight arrangement.
  • And the site’s backbone: Leon, Jeffrey, and Paul.

As a final word for this newsletter message, we’d like to invite anyone who might interested in joining our “TG Team” in helping us with the writing up of Ted’s lesson pages, to please contact us either through the Forums or our Contact page. We are a volunteer-run website, and the contributions that come in are used for the technical upkeep of the site. So, if you are willing to pitch in, it would be as a volunteer like the rest of us here – a labor of love. You can help as little or as much as you like. The “job” would require a very modest amount of graphics skills in order to notate and add Ted-style chord diagrams, and of course a fair degree of musical understanding and of the guitar. We’d be happy to work with you so you can help us serve Ted’s worldwide family.

Hope you find some helpful musical instruction and inspiration in this month’s offerings.

~ Your Friends on the TedGreene.com Team


* ‘Round Midnight, 1995. [This is Ted’s arrangement as taught to Tsuyoshi Ichikawa. Most of this was not written down by Ted, and so it was conveyed to us from Tsuyoshi through his notes. We generated a score with music notation and Ted-style grids. This is a difficult piece to play, and Ted would undoubtedly encourage you to find simpler solutions to chords that are too challenging for you. The score uses one measure per line so that everything is clear and not squished too tightly and small, and we apologize for the fact that this spacing created a 10-page document, but ultimately this score is meant for study and memorizing. I would suggest that you to listen to Tsuyoshi’s arrangement of this song on YouTube, for he takes much of what Ted taught him, and then expands and elaborates it. It’s quite beautiful. Enjoy.]

* Baroque Counterpoint (1-to-1), 1982-04-27, 1981-10-18, 1980-02-24, 1982-10-12. [This small collection of counterpoint exercises focuses mostly on 1-to-1 (melody to bass lines). We added new notation, but didn’t suggest any grids or fingering, as Ted wanted them to be played in various positions on the fingerboard. The first page deals with E(7)(b9) to A minor. Page 2 is in various keys and more involved. Page 3 shows how to add counterpoint parts to a simple melody, inspired by the writings of Canadian music educator, Gordon Delamont.]

* Baroque Harmonizations - Miscellaneous, 1974-06-28, 1983-07-15. [This is a group of four separate studies that Ted grouped together, some of which are almost chorale-like in nature, while others are more modern. We provided new notation with added chord names (in blue font), but did not add suggested grids or fingerings, as they may be played in a variety of positions, and it would be better for you to work out your own fingerings.]

* Counterpoint Exercises: Adding a Part to Common Bass Lines, 1979-05-18, 1980-11-30. [Ted subtitled this page, “Another Angle: Connecting Intervals in the Baroque.” All the examples are B or B7 to Em, with variations of 1-to-1 or 2-to-1 melodies. Ted included a note to himself: “Show some examples also in 3-to-1, 4-to-1, 6-to-1, and 8-to-1.” New notation provided.]

* Soprano Harmonization in the Baroque, 1982-05-07. [This page contains two lessons from Ted. The first one deals with “Melody: Root to 2.” All the examples are in Am with the melody A to B (Root to 2nd), harmonized with various textures and notes. The second lesson is Ted’s “Plan for Baroque Soprano Harmonizations,” and includes notes to himself and some grid diagrams. New notation and grids added for easy reading.]

* Embellishing Modern Chords via Moving Lines or Triads, 1979-04-19. [This is a collection of 16 examples of melodic lines (or moving triads) that create modern-sounding chords. Most of these examples involve a (B7) dominant type chord sound without resolution. In Ted’s first example he resolved to Emaj7, which might be a good idea to do to the other examples as well. You’ll want to use different voicings on that final chord, employing good voice-leading. New notation with suggested Ted-style grid diagrams included.]

* Modern Dominants Organized by Outer Voices, 1986-01-25. [This lesson centers around the concept of inner voice movement and its impact on the sound of modern dominant chords. All the chords featured in the lesson have the b7 as the bass and the 3rd as the highest note. The focus is primarily on four-note chords, with the exception of the final example that includes five notes. Explore these 14 examples to practically apply inner voice manipulation, resulting in the creation of unique tonal qualities within modern dominant chords.]

* Moving Lines with Pedals, 1978. [This group of exercises could well have been titled, “Contrary Motion Lines with Pedals” since that what all the examples involve. Ted used standard music notation for these, but did not include grid diagrams to show how or where to play. We’ve re-notated the music and added “suggested” grids. Keep in mind that Ted commented to “Do on all string sets,” yet in order to sustain the bass note, only one fingering option is usually practical. Do your best to sustain the pedal note while the other notes move, but the main priority or focus is on the moving contrary lines. Some chord names were provided by Ted, others we provided, but again, the names are not as important as the movements. Good luck!]

* C Major Arpeggio Runs, 1981-07-03. [Thirteen studies in four basic patterns of arpeggio runs, all for the 8th position (with a stretch to the 12th fret on 1st string. Notation with TAB provided.]

* New Diatonic Melodic Pattern Practice Program, 1985-07-17. [Thirty-eight patterns to be employed to various keys, positions, scales. Ted wrote: “Add decoration, especially 16th note triplets” to make more musical and interesting for practice. New notation provided.]

* Turnarounds (Single-Line), 1979-08-10. [Twelve examples of solo lines for turnaround and other situations. Ted encouraged, “Do in all positions.” New notation given for easy reading.]

* Using Chromatic Tones, Triads, and ?, 1981-02-14. [Five examples in the key of Eb, for ii-V or just ii chord runs, using some non-diatonic chromatic notes. New notation given.]

* Whole-Tone Scale: Melodic Patterns, 1980-03-29. [This is another one of Ted’s mathematically and systematically derived pages in which he tried to outline many usable possibilities for whole-tone solo lines. Taken out of context these may not sound very musical. But in the context of a progression that uses a whole-tone sound (usually an augmented chord) resolving to something more consonant, these patterns can be very sonically pleasing. You’ll need to provide the resolution. Ted added the comment: “Harmonize and also do over or under pedals.” New notation for easy reading.]

* All Possible V-1 Voicings – Major and Dominant List, 1985-01-22, 1986-09-27, 28. [Ted went extreme on these pages, mapping out all the 15 regular V-1 major chord types, plus the hundreds of permutations for 4-note voicings of dominant chords with the V-1 formula (including altered tones). No doubt a computer could do this with ease today, but Ted did it all by hand back in 1985 and ’86. This gives us a glimpse into his thinking process. Obviously, the chord stacks are to be read/voiced from top down — soprano to bass. The shaded areas indicate conflicts Ted saw with combining the 3rd, 4th, and #9 together. For reference. Newly typed text for easy reading.]

* All V-1 Voicings Organized by the Intervals, 1992-11-22, 23. [Using the interval numbering system (see below), Ted organized 133 V-1 chords, starting from the lowest numbers on up. He excluded any chords with 3 adjacent chromatic 1/2 steps, and limited this page to chords on the middle four strings. The red circled numbers do not correspond to the V-System 43 chord types, but just a way to count all the voicings in this collection. Newly drawn grids for easy reading and reference.]

* V-1 by Intervals, 1992-11-24. [On this page Ted mapped out all the possible voicings for the V-System 43 chord types of V-1 chords, using an interval numbering system that counts the 1/2 steps between notes. New typed text provided to clearly show the system and thinking behind it.

James Hober offers the following insights:

“Ted lists the three intervals that make up each V-1 chord in terms of how many half steps are in the intervals: bass to tenor, tenor to alto, alto to soprano. And these three numbers relate to the 4 numbers that begin each entry in “The 43 Four-Note Qualities” chapter in the V-Systems section of the site. For example, let’s say Ted has a V-1 chord with intervals 2-3-4. Well, that relates to the m7 chord type in the 43 Four-Note Qualities table because the entry for that chord (#32 in the table) shows 2-3-4-3 for the interval content. The fourth interval that the table shows can be understood as between the soprano and an octave above the bass. Other V-1 inversions of the m7 type would have 3-4-3, 4-3-2, and 3-2-3 for their interval content, three of the four numbers in the table entry, proceeding left to right. So, Ted is using V-1 chords and their three intervals as yet another way into the 43 four-note types.]

* V-1 Middle Strings: The 35+8 Systematic Inversions, 1992-11-27, 28. [Ted wrote in grid form, all 172 V-1 chords. This is the 43 chord types with all inversions. He named each chord and included the interval numbering system of counting 1/2 steps between notes in the chord. Newly drawn grids for easy reference. Please note that many of these “stretchy chords” may be unplayable, even if using your right-hand to catch some of the extreme notes. Ted wanted to be very thorough by including all the chords using his systematic inversions method, playable or not.]

* Georgia/Willow Weep for Me/When Sunny Gets Blue Ted Greene Seashell - Transcribed by Marcus Tardelli. [From Ted’s Seashell Restaurant video (part 6) on YouTube, this beautiful medley is transcribed with notation, basic grids, and Tab.]

* Magnificent Medley – Transcribed by Marcus Tardelli. [This medley includes: “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and “(Our) Love is Here to Stay.” The video can be found on YouTube, and is an excerpt from Ted’s performance at Joey Backenstoe’s wedding. Transcribed in standard music notation plus Tab.]

* Over the Rainbow – Intro, Ted Greene-John Pisano version. [This is Ted’s transcription of his intro to “Over the Rainbow.” Engraved by Tsuyoshi Ichikawa with standard notation and Tab, he wrote the following: “During a lesson with Ted, I asked him how he played the intro to “Over the Rainbow” from John Pisano’s CD, “Among Friends.” Ted couldn't remember what he had played, so he transcribed his playing from this CD for me.”]

In the “Contributions from Tsuyoshi Ichikawa” subfolder:

* Bluesy Variations for Intros, Endings, and Turnarounds from Ted Greene. [Seven examples from lessons with Ted. Engraved in notation and Tab, these are great to use for different situations when you want to add a little bluesy fill. Very characteristic Ted stuff.]

* Ted Greene’s Unique Left Hand Fingering. [Some tips for playing difficult chords that require special finger bending, flattening, and double-stops. From Tsuyoshi Ichikawa’s notes from lessons with Ted.]

* Variations of iii7-VI7-ii7-V7. [Eight beautiful examples in the key of C for iii7-VI7-ii7-V7 progressions in typical Ted style. Notation and Tab provided. From Tsuyoshi Ichikawa’s notes from lessons with Ted.]

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Summer 2023 TedGreene.com Newsletter

Summer Greetings to the family, friends, and students of the great Chord Chemist, Ted Greene.

We begin our newsletter with something that Nick Stasinos put together for us. He shares one of his recorded lessons with Ted and a transcription of it, and then he summarized and elaborated on it for our message this quarter.

Ted Talks Tele

(In Pursuit of Ted’s Tone)
By Nick Stasinos

When I first started taking lessons with Ted Greene in 1977, he required that I buy two things: a tape recorder and a subscription to Guitar Player magazine. Ted helped me to pick out a good quality Awai cassette recorder, which I brought to every lesson for recording our sessions. I studied with Ted for 27 years and have a large library of audiotapes and some videos that I’m in the process of digitizing and sharing. This article is based partly on my lesson from Tape #67, dated April 6, 1989, in which Ted talked about how to get a beautiful, fat, warm, clear tone from a Telecaster. I provided the audio and the transcript here.

I could have easily titled this article “Playing Jazz on a Telecaster,” but if you knew Ted, this would not be accurate. Ted’s musical interests spanned way beyond the realm of jazz to a term he coined “Symphonic Guitar,” which checks all the boxes regarding areas of study. The Telecaster was his all-time favorite guitar to improvise “in the style of Bach” on.

During my lessons with Ted throughout the years, I have inquired about what to look for in a Tele to approximate Ted’s tone without shelling out one’s life savings on a vintage Telecaster. I have bought a few Telecasters – Fender and copies – with disappointing results, given my expectations.

What variables contribute to that rich, warm, full-bodied “B-3” sustaining sound Ted achieved on his Telecasters? It does beg the question: Is the magic in that special instrument or is it in the fingers of that master musician? From my experience, I deduce both! However, we can benefit from Ted’s analytical approach to what made a great Tele and how he refined his ideas over the course of time.

Ted says there are 10 to 12 factors of categories that influence the sound, but who’s counting. Here are a few factors from my observations prioritized, not necessarily in the order he gave them during this lesson.

A Fat Neck & A Light Body

That sounds exactly like a ‘50s Telecaster to me! That “baseball bat” neck is what gives it enough depth and mass in its “drive train” for reasonable sustain. Fender’s evolution of the Tele is based on compensating for the growing scarcity of the lighter weight ash in their stockpiles and thus the increasing weight of their Telecasters moving forward.

In 1967, the “Smuggler’s Tele” was an experiment in removing wood from the body to reduce the weight, but to no avail. The following year, the “Thinline” Tele was introduced, a semi-hollow body version with an “f” hole by the recruited designer of the Gibson semi hollow bodies.

Here’s a great video on “The Fender Tele Thinline: A Short History." I called them “custom” not remembering the name. Ted and I both thumbs-downed that version with Ted’s minor exception, “If you get one with a good center block.” Do they actually have a center block? In A.R. Duchossoir’s book, The Fender Telecaster, I see three scooped out sections from the back of the Thinline Tele. I could not confirm this.

Ted hollowed out a couple of his Tele’s, not with a router, but with a drill, hence the tiny holes in the back from the pointed tip of the drill bit. A few students, including myself, wanting to emulate Ted’s design choice, added the “swimming pool” before we realized the real reason for that huge, cavernous chamber underneath Ted’s pickguard. Was it to reduce the weight? Did it improve the sound? My back is forever grateful to have shed a full pound of wood shavings from my Telecaster’s body to a more manageable 7½ pounds.

In the first part of my lesson, I was amazed at the tone Ted was getting on his Tele using a stock single coil pickup. Where’s the humbucker? Yes, it does help that Ted usually plays with heavier gauged strings, tuned down – but that was not the case here. It’s a lighter body with a fat neck! Ted said, “…that’ll give you a warm sound, light bodies are finally recognized as having the prettiest tone compared to the heavy ones.” I bought the 5th Tele that local builder Lance Lerman made – a ’52 reissue. It also had a stock single coil pickup. Lance called it “LSL 52.5.” OMG! It had that “sound”! It had a HUGE neck, much larger than the ’50s “baseball bat” neck that Fender made way back when. Unfortunately, it was so massive I couldn’t play it and returned it.

The ‘52 Fender Telecaster Reissues

My current Telecaster is a Fender ’52 Reissue made for Wildwood Music in 2008. It has neither a lighter body nor the classic U-shaped neck as you would expect from the original ’50s Telecaster. The neck is a modern C profile, which feels comfortable, but the fact remains: there is less wood. Ted consulted Fender regarding their early 1980s ’52 Telecaster Reissue, but Fender decided on just reproducing the ’50s ascetics. Rather deceptive in my opinion! The Wildwood ad did say “a lighter body.” Lighter compared to what? Remember, mine started out weighing 8½ lbs. before routing it. My main concern was for a thicker neck. Even my ’59 Gibson ES-335 had more wood in its neck, which Ted refers to.

Nick: They don’t have the big necks like they used to?
Ted: No, they did market surveys, I don’t know how scientific they were. Maybe they just asked ten rock guitarist players in the ‘80s, the early ‘80s when they redesigned and they decided that was one thing they would change without telling anybody, figuring they would put it in the ad, saying “Hey, we slimmed down the neck for you guys!” who they’d probably lose as many people who love, who would expect the big neck. They made me one, with my reissue back there, they made that neck bigger, but most of them are thin. They thought people liked that the best, which is generally true, Nick. If you ask most guitar players, they will not like your neck on your [3]35, less wood, you know?
Nick: Yeah, but it's going to affect the sound, too!
Ted: It doesn't make it sound as sweet. But if the guitar has other things going for it, you don't need it. Again, if it's a heavier….
Nick: What other advantages would there be if I were to pick something like that up rather than…
Ted: Than make one?
Nick: Yeah!
Ted: Just ascetics, man! They look great!

Ted’s ’52 Reissue had the bigger neck, which was the exception to the rule. I found this photo in A.R. Duchossoir’s book, The Fender Telecaster, of Ted playing that reissue at the NAMM Show in 1982.

How to Compensate for a Heavier Body

You need a lot of mass in the drive train.” Ted pointed to the mid-60s Gibson SG with the “nice round, big frets” as an example. “The tone has a certain roundness to it.” I had Mike McGuire at Valley Arts Guitar, who worked on Larry Carlton’s guitars, refret my ’59 Gibson ES-335 with bigger frets. Great guitar, Carlton’s sound!

Adding more weight to the headstock is the concept behind inventions like the “FatFinger,” a nickel-plated brass clamp that attaches to your headstock. I bought the Groove Tubes version before Fender started making them. Don’t waste your money! There’s also a brass plate designed to attach to the back of the Fender headstock. I don’t have any experience with that. Maybe someone can tell us how that worked out for them in the TedGreene.com Forums.

Ted referred to the heavier tuners on my Gibson as an example of added weight to the headstock. FYI: I replaced the original Klusons due to the crumbling buttons soon after purchasing it from Norm’s Rare Guitars. Yeah, everyone at Dale’s Ernie Ball’s Guitars joked about the price I paid, but I did have the last laugh. Indeed, reaming out those holes for the newer, heavier tuners on a collectable guitar easily shaved off $2K from my selling price. I recently researched the current offering of Spertzel locking tuners, which Ted mentioned. The design has a small wheel on the back of each tuner to lock the string into place before cutting and tightening it. The original wheel was thick and added weight. I read one recent review that said those wheels are thinner now. Enter Fender. They make a locking tuner with a thick wheel at half the cost of the Spertzel, so I bought a set just this month and dropped them easily into place on my ’91 American Strat. Instant added weight and very functional. Beautiful!

The Neck Humbucker

Ted still preferred the humbucker, as close to the neck as possible with the pickup lowered almost flush with the pickguard for less magnetic pull on the strings. He said he wanted to hear the wood. Beware! The pickup gets very wobbly when adjusted that low in a chambered Tele unless you use longer screws with extra springs or surgical tubing, and maybe even a piece of foam under the pickup to rest on. Then extend the pole pieces upward to balance the strings. A low wound pickup accentuates the mid-range frequencies. “I don’t care for the loud pickups. They lose that beautiful mid, they have cloudy mid-range…” Ted said. “That’s where the harmonics live!” Tommy Emmanuel said during one of his local workshops. Fingerstyle guitarist John Standerfer repeated this while checking out his new McGill Super-Ace here. He was getting harmonics no one thought possible! Microphonics, on the other hand, may be okay for rock nuance, but not for jazz. Make sure that your pickup is wax dipped if not already.

The Lowered Nut

The last few minutes of my lesson were spent discussing ideas for setting up a Yamaha SE200 guitar, an inexpensive solid body electric I brought to the lesson for Ted to evaluate that a friend was offering to sell. Not exactly Mike Stern’s Pacifica! Ted was talking about bringing down the nut height with hobby files, Exacto razor saws to be exact, as Dan Erlewine identifies them. Plus, what to do if you accidentally go too low? Ted loved to lower the nut grooves on all his guitars, string by string. I didn’t keep the Yamaha, but I still have those hobby files!

The Tone Legacy Lives On

Yes, there are those who have entered the “Ted Tone” ballpark, achieving similar results worth mentioning: Tim Lerch, Gil Castro, and Steve Brodie to name a few. I should not fail to mention Ed Bickert on his ‘60s Tele with the Gibson neck pickup, and his protégé Lorne Lofsky, with his vintage Ibanez Roadstar.

There are also many variables that also affect Ted’s sound that were not discussed here such as amps, filter caps, string gauges, etc., but would be well worth doing a little detective work on your own in the TedGreene.com Forums, and internet searches. Our goal here is to dial in a voice on this particular solid body electric that will assist us in finding our own voice, one that will inspire us on to higher levels of learning in our pursuit to make beautiful music.

* * * * *

Special thanks to all who helped with this quarter’s newsletter and new items:

  • Nick Stasinos for his audio lesson with Ted with its transcript, and for the above article, “Ted Talks Tele.”
  • Tsuyoshi Ichikawa for his “Ted Greene’s Iconic Endings” from his lessons with Ted.
  • Mark Levy, for joining the team with helping transcribe, translate, and redraw some of Ted’s unpublished lessons. (Welcome aboard, Mark!)
  • Mike Deluca, for his consistent help in proofreading all the new lesson write-ups.
  • François Leduc, for his dedication to transcribing Ted’s recording and sharing them with us.
  • And of course, the backbone of it all: Jeffrey, Leon, and yours truly, Paul.

Have a fantastic summer, and enjoy diving into the music and ideas from our friend and mentor, Ted.

~ Your Friends on the TedGreene.com Team


In the “Lessons with Nick Stasinos” area:
* Ted Talks Tele (1989-04-06) [See the above Newsletter message for details.]
* Ted Talks Tele (1989-04-06) Transcript [Transcribed by Nick.]

* Diatonic Cycles of 4ths - Major Scale, 1979-01-20. [This one of Ted’s “Personal Practice” pages, showing 32 single-measure examples of cycle-4 phrases in the key of A. Most of them are from some kind of A to some kind of D. It’s important to make sure that all the notes sustain according to the duration as the notation shows. Sustained notes is one of the things that define Ted’s sound, and he went into great detail in his notation to illustrate that in this sheet.]

* Diatonic Harmony in 4ths or 5ths – Major Key, 1979-02-25. [Here we have 23 examples in the key of Eb, with a single chord and four melody notes, or as Ted would usually write: 4:1. He marked some of them as “Medieval and stark, does not imply the normal diatonic mood,” “Medieval & Renaissancey major,” or “Modern.” New notation provided. No chord grids are given, since each example should be practiced in as many different positions as possible.]

* Harmonization of Scalewise Melodies, 1983-01-23. [Six ascending melodic phrases harmonized with “primary colors only.” Ted subtitled this page as “Baroque Harmony - Major Key Tonality.” New notation and suggested grid diagrams provided. In some cases, multiple grids show alternate chord forms that you might find useful.]

* Chord Voicings – Standard 4-Note, Medium Size, 1978-08-02. [This is a collection of major, minor 7, and dominant 7 chords, all utilizing strings 5, 3, 2, and 1. They are organized by the soprano note moving up the scale. Ted didn’t write in all the chord names or fret numbers – that was for the student to do. We provided an “answers” sheet for page 1.]

* Chromatic Contrary Lines, 1977-04-12 & 1979-03-09. [24 examples of contrary motion using chromatic lines and pedal tones for the soprano and bass tones. Ted wrote: “Used to fill in intervals.” And “Starting from all unisons and minor 2nds.” He recommended to do these on all possible string sets, forward and backward, and to experiment with different rhythms and breakups. New notation provided for easy reading. You’ll need to work out the fingerboard gymnastics to make them work for you. Great ideas for intros, endings, interludes, or fills.]

* Chromatic Embellishment of Favorite Chords, 1980-05-26. [This is a bit different and challenging. Here Ted wrote the name of the target or destination chord, and then preceded it by another chord that has some voices that chromatically approach the target. Usually the bass note is sustained as the other voices move. He wrote the name of the target chord, but not the name of the chord that would result with the approach notes. Perhaps that first chord isn’t necessary, for the main thing to notice is the notes that sit a half-step above or below the targets. Nevertheless, we went ahead and named the approach chords (using blue font). Newly drawn grids for easy reading, plus we provided notation so you can see the movements in a score. Some of these are finger-twisting to say the least, and Ted seemed to have rubber fingers to easily execute stuff like this. Just find one or two that you can do and then congratulate yourself for mastering it. Good luck.]

* Embellishments of Minor 6 Type Chords, 1977-12-19. [Think of this as “approach chords that can lead to a minor 6 chord. Not quite the same as Ted’s “Neighbor tone embellishment” lessons, or the Chromatic embellishments pages, there’s more freedom in the moving voices. Ted also recommends, for the “good” student to expand this lesson by substituting the minor 6 chord with “minor 7 and major 6, and try with all good-sounding chord on all good-sounding degrees in all good-sounding voicings.” He also asked that these 13 examples be played “in ascending and descending major and minor 3rd cycles.” New notation and “suggested” chord grids provided to help you through this unusual lesson.]

* I-IV-III-VI-II-V-I Variations (Organized Melodically), 1978-12-03. [13 contrary motion studies, harmonized with cycle 4 dominants, all in the key of A (except for the last two examples). Great for turnarounds or interludes. New notation and suggested grid diagrams provided for easy reading/application.]

* Neighbor Tone (Chromatic) Approach to Modern Chords, 1981-02-24 & 1976-06-02. [Similar to Ted’s Chromatic Embellishment of Favorite Chords page, here we have a target chord preceded by a chord of “chromatic neighbor tones,” either a half-step above, below, or a combination of both. These are all single measure examples, except for the final progression. Newly drawn grids plus notation will help in following and understanding what’s going on.]

* Neighbor Tone Embellishment, 1979-02-18. [Similar to the other page on Neighbor Tone Embellishment, but here the notes are arpeggiated, with Neighbor tone played first, then sustain the chord tone. All of the examples are for C13#11 chord, except the last two. Be sure to keep the first bass pedal note ringing while you finger the other notes. New notation provided, but you’ll need to work out your own chord forms and fingerings. Some are very challenging, but doable if you work at finding a fingerboard and fingering solution. Good luck!]

* Neighbor Tone Embellishment of Major Type Chords, 1977-05-09. [This page is similar to Ted’s Chromatic Embellishment of Favorite Chords, but slightly different in how Ted wrote out his grids. Here he voicing different approach chords to target a major7 or major9 chord, in this case Fmaj7, Fmaj9, (or F/9. F6/9, or Fmaj7/6). Ted’s original page is rather systematic in finding all (or maybe almost all) possible approaches. It’s a bit dense and hard to read, so we gave new notation and suggested grid chord forms. Some of the chords he named; others not. We added names wherever possible, but again remembering that the main thing is the movement of voices, not the chord names. On page 2 you’ll need to follow-thru by adding the Fmaj7 target chord on some of the “5-noters.” If you get that far in this lesson, you’ll know what to do. Good luck.]

* Harmonic Devices for Gospel Feels, 1977-06-08. [Feel like you want something more when you get your Gospel groove on? Well, Ted has a list of ideas for opening new territories for you. He gives us 15 points for experimentation, illustrated mainly by progressions expressed in Roman numerals. Big rich triads, open triads, small triads, diminished 7 embellishments, vamps, add9 chords, parallel chords, licks from “Rescue Me” or “Shine” – these are a few, but there’s more. Retyped and newly drawn grid diagrams provided for easy reading.]

* Summary of Most Common Chord Movements in Modern Jazz Harmony, 1977-06-16. [Using C, Cm7, or C7 as targets or destinations, Ted delineates the most common chord or chord progressions used to precede or approach it. Great reference page, and resource for ideas. Retyped text for easy studying.]

* Harp-Like Broken Chord Patterns, 1986-03-23. [This page shows Ted’s obsession to be complete and thorough in his attempts to organize and catalog all possibilities for 3-note arpeggios. Translated text provided for those having difficulty in reading Ted’s handwritten notes.]

* Dominant Runs, 1980-05-01 & 1981-07-02. [Dominant scale runs for Bb9, G9, C9, G13, and C7. Ted encouraged to practice them in all 7 positions, and to do in sequences. New notation provided for easy reading.]

* Melodic Patterns in C Dominant Half-Whole Scale, 2003-08-12. [Three patterns for C13b9#9#11 scale, or a half-whole diminished scale starting on C. New notation provided.]

* Practice Pattern to Learn Dominant 7th Scales, 1977-10-04. [Ted gives us two patterns to practice in a 4th cycle progression of five dominant 9th chords. He begins in 2nd position, but you are then to move it to higher fret positions. New notation with TAB included.]

* V-3 – All 35 Types on Higher Sets, 1986-01-26. [This series of pages defines all the V-3 voicings for the 35 types on the top 4 strings. Interesting that Ted wrote this out while watching the Super Bowl in 1986. Ted explained a simple transformation to find V-3 chords: “Either use 1) a voice switch on soprano and tenor on V-2’s, or 2) drop alto in V-2 on octave. Translated text provided.]

* The Nearness of You (from Special Recording). [Another wonderful transcription by François Leduc. This comes from the “Special Recording” of Ted with bassist Chuck Domanico and drummer Shelly Manne in 1977. Notation, grids, and TAB.]

* Ted Greene’s Iconic Endings – From Tsuyoshi Ichikawa. [Six examples of archetypical endings that Ted sometimes used, as taught to his student Tsuyoshi. All are given in the key of G with standard notation, chord names, and TAB.]

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Spring 2023 TedGreene.com Newsletter

Spring Greetings to all!

Let’s start off this newsletter with a transcript of an excerpt of guitar great Joe Diorio speaking about his good friend, Ted Greene:

Joe Diorio Remembers Ted Greene

From the video “What Every Musician Ought to Know, Part 2

This video was recorded at the Joe Diorio Fund Raiser/Jazz Guitar Workshop, hosted by John Pisano, at California Vintage Guitar & Amp in Sherman Oaks, California, on January 15, 2006 (about 6 months after Ted Greene’s passing). Joe had a stroke in 2005 that impacted the full function of his left hand, and thus, his playing. In less than a year, Joe’s ‘extended family’ came together to help him out. Joe’s words will impact all aspiring jazz guitarists worldwide on how they approach their music, the time spent developing it, and their attitudes towards others. There is no music, just Joe answering questions, sharing his thoughts, his ideas, and his stories of the incredible life he lived as a jazz guitarist. As Joe said, “Being at the right place, at the right time” and meeting people like Wes Montgomery, Tal Farlow, Joe Pass, and my teacher, Ted Greene. He underscores the humility and kindness of the greats!

Thanks to Nick Stasinos for providing this video and the above comments.
This short excerpt starts at 24:28 and runs until the end, 28:49.

John Pisano: Oh, I’d love to mention one thing. Ted Greene --- ah, Ted Greene’s…. Is Barbara still here?
Joe Diorio: Yeah, Barbara’s here, yes.
John Pisano: Anyway. Barbara, Ted’s lady. She was nice enough — this week I got a call from Dan* — and Ted loved everybody, including Joe. And this guitar, right there (points to a guitar in the room**), Barbara is going to put it up for silent auction, and all the proceeds go to Diorio. We didn’t---we said, “Oh, man, no, no, not….” Anyway, I said, “Look, ah, this---this…. Because it was Ted’s---ah, he would have demanded it. Barb, do you have anything to say about that? Please.
Barbara Franklin: Ah, it was just something that he always did. I mean, you see a need, if you can fill it, you fill it.

Joe Diorio: May I say something first? I got a moment and I don’t want to lose this moment. Barbara, I can’t thank you enough. It’s so…. I mean…. I’m usually not at a loss for words, because I can bullshit my way through everything, but this is something that is very touching to me and both my wife as well.

And let me tell you something, just so---. You know, I was---I consider myself a very good friend of Ted Greene’s, by the way. And at one time Ted and I were both writing for Zdenek Publications, so we were privy to go out to Christmas parties and book things, you know. And first of all, there was no one who could play guitar like Ted Greene ever in life, and ever will. I was privileged — I told you a many times tonight: I was at the right place at the right time. We are in Zdenek office, maybe an hour or so before a Christmas party starts, and Ted has his guitar, and he’s going tune after tune of Christmas carols with all these incredible voicings: sometimes the Renaissance voicings, the Bach voicings, the jazz voicings. And I’m looking, I’m saying, “I’m in the same room with this guy? [Joe makes a face of astonishment.] Man, I mean, Jesus! Talk about lessons between Joe Pass, between Wes, between Ted Greene – I mean I got to be the luckiest guy walking the planet earth! But I loved him, and he was very complimentary to me, and I could not be more complimentary in his playing.

And I’ll just give you one quick story. There was a club; The Smokehouse is located – I don’t know, exactly where down the road the studios are. Barham [Blvd., Burbank, CA.]. Yeah, okay. Anyway, he was doing a Sunday afternoon thing, so I went to hear him play. And of course, he’s thrilling everybody. He’s got everybody with their mouth’s down. But for me, the highlight that I ever heard anybody do in my life, was: he was playing a tune called, “With a Song in My Heart.” And after he got done playing the melody and with his great chords, he went into a Bach, you know, Johann Sebastian Bach improvisation that was his. And I said, “What I was hearing — I thought I was hearing Bach on guitar, but improvised!” And I asked him about it later, and he told me it was improvised. And he was very nice to tell me a few pointers on how he got there, which I’ve been working on all my life.

But I heard---. When he did this, Barry Coates and I were sitting at the bar with our drinks like this, you know. And after it was all said and done, we just looked…. [Joe makes a face of jaw-dropping amazement]. We didn’t know whether to drink, drop the glass, drop on the floor — because he had just heard history. We had just witnessed something so special. So Barbara, I love you, honey. We all love you, and we miss Ted. We all do; we all love him. Let’s take a break.

* Dan Duehren, co-founder and resident bluesman of famed California Vintage Guitar and Amp in Sherman Oaks, California.
** The guitar auctioned off was a sunburst 1958 Guild X350 which Ted had named, “Chubby.”

* * * * *

For the New Items this quarter, we’ve focused on some of Ted’s Personal Music Studies pages dealing with Baroque, 5-note chord voicings, and some general chord studies. We’re also catching up with including some older articles about Ted that were posted or published several years ago, hoping that you’ll enjoy reading more about Ted and how he impacted the worldwide guitar community.

One of our followers reported a typo in our write-up of Ted’s lesson on “Cadences.” You can find the new version in our Harmony & Theory section, and it’s listed as “Cadences (1973)”

Also, we’ve updated the set list for Ted and Cathy Segal-Garcia’s album “Live at Rocco’s,” found in our “Performances” section. It’s listed as “2000 June 13, Rocco’s, Los Angeles, CA.” Cormac Walsh from the UK reported to us that our set list was missing the song, “Up on the Roof and Under the Boardwalk.” This baffled me, so I pulled out my copy of Cathy's "Never Forgotten" DVD to check it out, and discovered that her set list of their Rocco's 2000 performance is indeed missing that tune in the liner notes. This song appears on the DVD between “That's the Glory of Love” and “Hey Jude.” I guess you could call it track 9.5. On the DVD it runs from 51:16 to 59:30. You can also find it on YouTube.

We’d like to extend a special thanks to Jimmy Cruz, Justin Scott Lucas, and Greg O’Rourke for sharing their articles about Ted. We greatly appreciate the consistent help from Mike de Luca for his expert proofreading of all the new Ted lessons write-ups, and to James Hober for proofreading and his V-System insights. Also, thanks to Nick Stasinos for the Joe Diorio video. To Cormac Walsh and Adam Levy for reporting errors/typos in previously posted material. Not to forget Leon White, as our commander-in-chief, and Jeffrey D Brown.

As a final word for this newsletter message, I’d like to invite anyone who might interested in joining our “TG Team” in helping us with the writing up of Ted’s lesson pages, to please contact us either through the Forums or our Contact page. We are volunteer driven. Donations that come in are used for the technical upkeep of the site. So, if you are willing to pitch in, it would be as a volunteer like the rest of us here – a labor of love. The “job” would require a very modest amount of graphics skills in order to notate and add Ted-style chord diagrams, and of course a fair degree of musical understanding and of the guitar. We’d be happy to work with you so you can help us serve Ted’s worldwide family.

~ Your Friends on the TedGreene.com Team


* Four Great Chord Melody Jazz Guitarists - Part 2: Ted Greene - by Greg O’Rourke. [This article, published on FretDojo.com on Jan 17, 2017, is a brief overview of Ted as a player with examples from YouTube. Thanks to Greg and the team at FretDojo for allowing us to post this piece.]

* Riffs of Wisdom - Ted Greene Chord Chemistry - by Justin Scott Lucas. [A brief review of Ted’s classic book, Chord Chemistry, published on Riffs of Wisdom, WorldPress.com, on January 26, 2012. Thanks to Justin Scott Lucas.]

* Ted Greene - Guitarist Extraordinaire and Beloved Instructor - by Jimmy Cruz 2016 Guitar One Magazine. [Another very short biography and teaching career of Ted, posted on jimcruzguitarlessons.com on March 8, 2016 and in Guitar One magazine. Thanks to Jimmy for permission to include this article in our collection.]

* 20th Century Diatonic Contrary Patterns, 1979-02-18. [Thirteen examples for contrary motion patterns. We created new notation for Ted’s, and added chord diagrams and added suggested chord names where relevant. The diagrams are merely our suggestions; however, you might find alternate ways to play each one. As Ted would say: experiment and find what works for you.]

* 4-to-1 and 3-to-1 Bass Dropping by 2nd, 1979-07-28. [Many examples Ted gave for getting you prepared for Baroque improvisation. Each example is just a starter which is to be elaborated upon by playing it in sequences in descending 2nds, or in ascending 3rds. New notation provided for easy reading. We have not added any grid diagrams here, since the fingerings and fingerboard locations allow for multiple possibilities. You’ll need to work out those details.]

* Application of 1-to-1 Counterpoint Studies, 1983-04-09. [Another counterpoint study from Ted’s PMS files. We added new notation and married it up with Ted-style grid diagrams. However, please note that out chord diagrams are just suggestions. You may find others that you prefer. Interesting to see how a half page of Ted’s notes turns into 6 full pages of new notation with grids! We hope that you find them clear and easy to study.]

* Classical-Romantic Progressions, 1974-08-03, 1980-11-15. [Ted examples given. At the top of the page Ted wrote: “Also good for Gospel, Blues, Pop, some Jazz. Derived from 1) bass lines, 2) “numbers” and 3) melodies.” We created new notation and provided suggested chord forms and chord names for each example. Mixed in with all the examples, Ted wrote out what he described then as “12 (+2) real useable densities” for chord voicings. This may be one of his very early thoughts that later became his “V-System.” James Hober provided us with the V number for each of the chords (listed in blue font below the chords)]

* A Minor Stuff, undated. [A mixture of 35 different root-position A minor-type chords, all centered around the root on the 6th string, 5th fret. It’s up to you to define the chord names, but they’re all minor types.]

* Choice 3-, 4-, 5-, and 6-Note Major Types Chord Organization, 1976-12-06. [This is a worksheet that Ted wrote for including in a book he was intending to write, titled, “Chord Cyclopedia.” This was “A 1976 attempt” at some organization, which in retrospect may be unnecessary, considering the organization Ted did with his “V-System” and his “5-Note Chord Voicings” organization. This page focuses on C major types (group 1), and E major types (group 2). We’ve included a short “translation” page to help decipher some of Ted’s handwritten parts.]

* Contrary Motion into Beautiful Chords, 1979-02-19, 1980-11-16. [This page comes from just one line of notation Ted jotted down for his own personal studies. It seems that he was having difficulty deciding on the title – later adding “mainly chromatic” and “chord lines” and “or neighbor tone embellishment.” The material at the bottom of Ted’s original page doesn’t really go with the rest of the examples, but we included it nevertheless. New notation and suggested chord forms included for easy study. Enjoy!]

* ii7 - ii7 - V7 Progressions (untitled), 1985-05-14. [This is a collection of various ii7 - ii7, or ii7 - ii7 - V7 progressions. The possible uses are endless. We provided an extra “answers” page with the chord names included.]

* ii7 - V7 (with Various Colors) - I, 2004-04-00. [Here we have 9 examples of ii-V-I progressions in 8 different keys. We provided an extra “answers” page with the chord names included.]

* Major 1st Inversion Possibilities - Root on 4th or 2nd Strings, (undated). [Major chords. All 1st inversions. Root on 4th and 2nd strings. 3rd on 6th and 1st strings. Familiar with some of these forms. Some new. Some challenging. Find something you like. Use it.]

* Major Starting Chords for Jazz Turnarounds - Organized by the Soprano, 1985-11-24. [This is a collection of C major type chords with the 5th (G) on top (soprano). The first group has the top note on the 2nd string; the second group has the top note on the 3rd string; the third group with the top note on the 1st string. Though Ted titled this page “for jazz turnarounds,” there are no turnarounds given here - it’s just an organized listing of C chords. Homework assignment: name the chords: C/9, Csus4, Cmaj7, C6/9, etc.]

* Neighbor Tone Embellishment of Common Impressionistic Era Chords, 1973-07-07, 1978-12-15, 1981-01-29. [This lesson might be thought to be tied in with Ted’s lesson on “Chromatic Tones and Lower Neighbor Tones” (see “Harmony & Theory” section). However, this page focuses on Impressionistic era chords, rather than just the general uses of Neighbor tones. Ted would certainly have stressed the importance of making sure that all the notes ring or sustain through in each example. The sustain ties and fingerings are important. If you ignore this aspect of the lesson, you’re missing out on the beauty that Ted is trying to convey. The chord diagrams and fingerings are suggestions, but we took great care to try to find the “best” possible ways to play each example, hoping that this will save you the time and trouble of deciphering the notations. Enjoy!]

Under the “Chord Streams” header:

* Melodic Use of Small Major Type Chords (6ths), 1977-06-09. [This is a collection of 12 different chord streams with moving top line, given in 3 keys: E, Ab, and C. All of these use 6th chords on the top 4 strings. Chord names are not listed because they may be interpreted in a variety of ways according to usage.]

Under the Header of “5-Note Chord Voicings”

* 5-Note Amaj9 - Systematic Inversion Rows Angle, 1984-06-29. [Ted wrote out the voicings of 158 different chord forms for Amaj9. This page is organized by the size of the outer interval. There are many, many long stretches for your hands, and you often need to use your right hand to catch bass notes that are out-of-reach. Proceed at your own caution. We made new chord grid diagrams to save your eyes from squinting at Ted’s original page. (You’re welcome!)]

* 5-Note C6/9 Voicings Derived from Cmaj9, 1979-12-03, 1980-02-17. [How many C6/9 or C6/9#11 5-note chord forms do you know? Well, Ted shows us 104 different ones to stretch our hands and fingers on. These may also be interpreted as Am7/11, D11, and Fmaj13, or Am6/11, D9, and F#m7b5+ if you want to expand you mind a bit while working thru these monsters. Again, we have made new grid diagrams for easy of reading and study. Good luck!]

* 5-Note Choice Diminished Scale Derived Voicings, 1986. [This file contains all 21 original work pages from Ted, plus 7 “translation” pages that we have provided, for those who have difficulty reading and deciphering Ted’s handwritten notes scattered throughout the series. Ted used a color code, though he doesn’t explain it here. We’ve added a color chart that was taken from one of Ted’s other related worksheets, assuming he used the same coding system in both series.]

* Chromatic Tones and Lower Neighbor Tones, 1978-07-07. [Ted explains these two concepts and illustrates them using the C dominant 7th scale. At the end of this lesson Ted wrote, “Both of these concepts will be illustrated in the musical examples that follow.” However, we don’t have those exact examples that were tied to this lesson, but other related examples on Neighbor Tones exist and will be posted in the next Newsletter for Summer 2023.]

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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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