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Ted Greene was renowned world wide as the author of “Chord Chemistry,” one of the most in-depth studies of chord harmony & theory ever published for guitar. Ted was also a brilliant, innovative and diverse guitarist capable of playing dazzling solos from jazz to neo-Baroque improvisation. Yet his chosen and most beloved path was as a teacher. He was highly sought out for his insightful and instinctive gifts in this area. As a testimony to his teaching abilities, for many years there remained a long list of guitarists waiting for an opening in his schedule.

Ted was born in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sept. 26, 1946 but grew up primarily in White Plains, N.Y. where he spent most of his early musically formative years. During this time he was exposed to everything from Gershwin and show tunes at home, to rhythm & blues in the city. In 1957 at age 11 his father bought him his first guitar. Shortly afterwards he began lessons, used various guitar books and learned to read music.

In 1963 Ted moved back to Calif. and subsequently took a teaching position at Ernie Ball’s Guitar Shop, which after 11 years would ultimately become a private teaching practice from his home. The range of students he maintained spanned from beginners to professionals. Ted’s dedication and love of music compelled him to assiduously study and analyze all aspects of music. This not only enabled him to impart a vast and diverse knowledge to his students but also became the seeds for his first book “Chord Chemistry” published in 1971.

The following year Ted availed himself of the opportunity to study with the legendary George Van Eps for two months. The insights gained here enabled Ted to refine his technique as well as fueled a new passion, Film Music: listening to, analyzing and transcribing.

Come autumn of 1976 he was hired for his first extended solo guitar gig, Sunday nights at the Smoke House in Toluca Lake. Within this period he wrote and published his 2nd book “Modern Chord Progressions Vol. 1”. However the most momentous event to occur around this time was the recording of his amazing album “Solo Guitar”, released in 1977. Shortly thereafter followed two new books, “Single Note Soloing Vols. 1 & 2”.

Despite numerous offers to make more recordings and take well paying jobs, Ted’s teaching remained the mainstay of his life and his personal preference as far as “work”. Nonetheless, Ted did enjoy playing occasionally at the NAMM Shows and giving seminars at a variety of venues, such as colleges and music stores. On rare occasion, Ted would also play for weddings and private parties. However his preference for live performance was backing female singers at intimate nightclubs and restaurants. His most recent solo guitar performances began in April 2004 at Spazio’s in Sherman Oaks.

Some twenty-odd years back (Sept. 1984) Ted had moved to the Encino El Dorado, finally settling in #8, the “famous” apartment where he continued doing what he loved most: teaching and spending countless hours fulfilling his never ending quest for knowledge, musical or otherwise. This pursuit was always with the ideal of utilizing all he gained to imbue his students as well as the lives of others with a spiritual beauty, sensitivity and understanding whether it be on a musical, personal or “universal” level.

Ted Greene transcended his earthly body on July 23, 2005.

©2005 Barbara Franklin


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