Overview | Blog Site | Memorial August 14, 2005 |

  Memories of Ted  
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I was very fortunate to be living in Canoga Park when I first took up guitar while in high school in the 70s. I say fortunate because Ted was teaching in a little music store on Topanga Cyn near my house called Dales' Guitars. I was taking lessons with him before I really had a clue about who/what or how great he was. I was probably neither good enough nor serious enough to rate a teacher of his caliber. Still he always had a way of being very kind and supportive but still make me feel the heat a bit(I wasn't always practicing much back then). So for quite a while I scuffled through his lessons but then at some point it began to click. I ended up studying with him quite a bit and with even an occasional lesson until a few months ago.
Many of you remember his hand written zeroxes: musical examples or chord diagrams often with tiny written explanations crammed into every corner of the page. You could spend months getting down just one of those sheets. I still have a huge stack of those sheets daring me to practice them.
Anyway, my point is he really became a profound influence on my playing, particularly chord wise and harmonically. And a huge reason why I play guitar professionally to this day. So I just want to say thank you Ted for helping set me on course to experience the adventure of music and providing me with the tools to somehow live and work doing something that I love these past 25 years. You’ll always be in my music and in my thoughts,

Brad Rabuchin
July 28, 2005 2:47 AM


Like so many others,I was saddened by the news of Ted's passing..The one record he produced will be forever a benchmark & testament to the genius that was Ted Greene..I was so lucky to spend an evening listening to Ted play at a party in Encino and I was in heaven.. Thanks to Tim Torrance and Dan Sawyer for setting that up for me.
Nobody plays guitar quite like Ted did..It was like getting touched by an angel..
Thanks Ted....

aj washington
July 28, 2005 4:28 AM


I remember the waiting list as I got on it about 20 years ago. Ted called me back about two months after I first left a message for him to apologize that he just did not have room for another student.

Recently, (20 years later) I was blessed with an opening to become one of his students! How Blessed and Fortunate I am to have been in his presence during the past 7 months!!

Please scroll through the other area where we are posting (Interest in Attending A Memorial)
to see my post: The Greatest Guitar Salute The World Has Ever Seen.

We can see by all these posts the Love That is Ted Greene and it is my hope that we send him off with every ounce of Love that we can put forth.

July 28, 2005 6:54 AM


I remember 15 years ago buying some intense looking guitar books written by "some guy" name Ted Greene and showing them to a friend. It turned out that my friend was one of Ted's students. He got permission from Ted to give me Ted's phone number. I was warned that there was a waiting list. When I called Ted to inquire about a lesson my palms were all sweaty from being so nervous. For whatever reason I was able to secure a monthly lesson right off the bat. On my first lesson I asked him to teach me "Someone To Watch Over Me" in chord melody. I taped that lesson and still have it. Now I need to collect all my audio and video tapes of my lessons and keep them in a safe place, so that when I hear them again, I can be in that special musical place only Ted could put me in. I spoke to Ted last week to hook up a lesson for this friday. I think I will go to his apartment on my scheduled appointment and ring him one more time. I won't hear him call out my name this time, this time I'll say Thank You Ted, I'll miss you and go home and play "Someone To Watch Over Me".

July 28, 2005 7:59 AM


One more thing comes to my mind. I remember seeing a Guild T-100D at a pawn shop one day and told Ted about it a few days later. He recomended that I bye it so I did. As time passed by I told him I was not too happy with the sound, I preferred the arch top sound of his Guilds, you know how he loved his Guilds. By coincidence I saw an add in the recycler for a Guild X-500 and called Ted for advice. It turned out that one of his students was selling it, so Ted put in a good word about me. I drove 60 miles to check it out. His student told me that I could take it home and try it out, without leaving a dime for it. I was shocked. This guy trusted me because he trusted Ted. I ended up buying the guitar and all payments were made through Ted. Ted even bought my Guild T-100D so that I could use that money towards my new Guild. Just another Ted Gem....

(No Name)
July 28, 2005 8:28 AM


The first time i met Ted, at a little guitar store in Reseda, nearly 30 years ago, it changed the way i thought about guitar forever. To this day whenever i come up with something i feel good about on guitar i think about how Ted might aproach this. And i wonder if i could make it better or use a more interesting chord voicing, as he might have. Of his passing, The world will be a much less interesting place without Ted Greene in it. I am honered to have ever known him. I am humbled by his genius, and i am blessed to have shared music and thoughts and ideas with him, and i am deeply sadend by his passing. We spoke to Ted a couple of weeks ago and one of the last things he said to me was " Im thinking about getting out and playing more because i'm finally happy with my playing." My God, i thought. I will truly miss Ted's encouragement on my own playing, and his kind words of inspiration . Every time i saw Ted play, when i picked up a guitar i looked at it in a new way. Thank God that Ted spent his life teaching and passing his great musical knowledge to as many people as possible. Therer is no greater achieivment than this. His death is a huge loss to the guitar community. To Dan Sawyer, thank you my friend for putting this website together. It means so much for those of us who knew and loved Ted to voice our respect for him..............

Jeff lund
July 28, 2005 8:56 AM


Indicative of Ted's humanitarian soul is the fact that at least once a month he'd go to a bleak part of town and hang with the homeless for the night. He'd provide companionship, encouragement, friendship and money. And Ted didn't have a lot of money. But that's walking the talk. We've lost more than a great artist, we've lost a great human being.

Jim Carlton
July 28, 2005 10:27 AM


In 1974 I got a job through my longtime friend and teacher at the time Derol Caraco. Working behind the counter at 'Dale's Ernie Ball Guitars'. The store where Ted taught. What an environment in which to work for a 17 year old. Half of his students were already pros. They would sit around the store jamming and telling road stories while waiting for their lesson with Ted. I would take care of the billing and Ted's waiting list. That waiting list just continued to grow. I would get calls from people to see how far down 'the list' they were. Of course I got myself signed up for lessons after Derol assured me I could handle it providing I practised a bit more seriously. So I did...most of the time.
"Jeez Ted, I was kind of busy this week..didn't get a chance to practice"...at this point Ted would nod his head sympathetically and ask.."How about TV?..Did you get a chance to watch much TV this week?"
In his subtle gentle way he would make sure I was
prepared for my lessons.
If he had a rare break I would think of something to ask him just to engage him in conversation. Poor guy probably just wanted to take his break in peace. But you would never know it. He would listen attentively and really give some thought to his response.
I saw him only a few times in the last 20 years..a few lessons here and there..a couple of performances..but he always was so gracious and would always talk as if it'd been just days that had passed instead of years.
One lesson came after 4 years had passed since I had seen him. He walked over to that huge filing cabinet and asked how I was doing with some voice leading examples he had given on the last lesson..4 years ago!.."Jeez Ted...I was kind of busy.."
....Truly ..a great man...

Tony Mandracchia
July 28, 2005 10:43 AM


I will miss Ted greatly!
I truly loved that man, he was on of the kindest and most generous persons I have ever known.

For over 20 years I had studied with Ted and he was such an outstanding and amazingly intellectual person and we would talk for hours after my lesson was over about many non-musical related topics and his passion and convictions always prevailed!

I sadly regret that just 3 days prior to his passing I had Ted on my mind and was going to call him and see if he had any available spots for a quick lesson and became distracted and did not make the call…

It just goes to show you that life is fragile and you never know when the Lord will call you home…

The music community has suffered a great loss...

Dan Sindel
July 28, 2005 11:29 AM


Ted I`m sorry I didnt got to meet you, but you`re music touched me like no other did.

From Argentina

July 28, 2005 12:13 PM


Posters: I had a thought - as we think about Ted, its wonderful to remember and share his many kindnessess, humor, and such. The stories will fill endless pages.

Its wonderful to read, and will mean much over the years to family and friends. Please encourage everyone to contribute - even if just a short condolence. I know its wonderful for me.

We remember what Ted did for us.

I hope each of us can remember what we may have done for Ted

Not to share here - this isn't a celebration of our wonderfulness, but because we might grow a little with that intraspection - something Ted would appreciate.

Leon White
July 28, 2005 2:48 PM


Good ideas, Leon.

In case folks don't know who you are, Leon White was the producer of Ted's Solo Guitar LP.

~dan sawyer
July 28, 2005 3:14 PM


"Leon White was the producer of Ted's Solo Guitar LP"… along with William Perry! Thanks both of you for bringing us a masterpiece.

July 28, 2005 3:38 PM


Long live The Tone Chemist. The above tributes are a real testament to an advanced being. A genuine, loving, sensitive, compassionate, selfless individual.
I never knew Ted personally, and truly appreciate the gifted outpouring on this wonderful site.

(No Name)
July 28, 2005 3:56 PM


I remember the first time Ted shyly told me about his LP. He was nice enough to put it to cassette for me. When I listened to it for the first time, I thought to myself, "this is the best guitar album I've heard yet, and it's Ted!" I haven't heard anything better since. I will always cherish the tape (complete with subtle scratches and dust). Now I need the cd so I can put it on repeat. I miss you Ted!

Jason D. Kuhar
July 28, 2005 4:01 PM


I remember some of the most beautiful music I ever heard...Ted was playing a 4 voice Bach fugue...on a Tele with a flatpick. Certainly one of the most gentle and giving beings I've had the honor to know,I only wish I could be so. Thanks Ted, goodbye for now

July 28, 2005 4:35 PM


Ok - I'm going to take a whack at saying something about Ted - Here goes.

What can one say about the most generous, contradictory, talented, musical, loving, unique, driven, romantic, frustrating, gentle, complex, spiritual, argumentative, humorous, earthy, shy, quirky, kind, puzzling, compassionate enigma we'll ever know?

I know I don't know.

At the end you may have been ready. But damn it, we weren't!

How are we supposed to learn our next lesson?

Where can we get those six hour discussions of heaven, earth, Ted Williams, big block Chevy's, Debussy, wound 3rd strings, '50s bop, and physics?

Where will the “Golliwogs Cakewalk” and “Gone with the Wind” wander across a fret board together with a laugh and a joke, and then submerge into a poignancy so stirring to leave us tearful?

Where will we talk about arch tops and the Lakers, George (Van Epps) and my kids in one breath?

Who will offer to help out when one of life's bumps hits one of us you left behind?

How many photocopy stores are going to go out of business?

Who will tell us the truth about our playing, but encourage us in the same breath?

Why weren't we ready!?!

Who will pose those subtle questions, in lessons and outside, that lead us without knowing it to some new insight? ("What about a 3rd there . . .?")

Where are we going to see your joy in rediscovering Columbo, Basil Rathbone in Sherlock Holmes, or Katie Couric?

And the obscure and beautiful books - gifts for some occasion but dearer for your enthusiasm and notes inside?

And those phone calls! Where can we call you while you talk to a student in the room - "No, 3rd finger. . . yea . . higher - ok, try it again. Where were we? Oh yea, Newton . . ."

And the diet coke and lettuce and well. . I can't remember any of your other food groups.

You may have been ready at the end, but we weren't.

What would you say to us now? How would you find a way, as in times past, to comfort us?

Honestly Theo, I don't think even you could find a way.

Were you one-of-a-kind? I'd say so, but you'd say, "We all are."

Friendship. Generosity. The music. Old friend this is one time I can't help thinking you let us down. But we forgive you.

Next time just raise your lesson prices will ya! And get a couple of more Hawaiian shirts - I mean Geesh!

And above all, rest in peace.

July 28, 2005 4:38 PM


I took lessons from Ted for many years in the 80's and 90's. For a while he let be borrow several of his semi-hollow and arch top guitars (really fine instruments) just because I enjoyed playing them at the lessons. I remember one lesson where we took a walk to Trader Joe's, bought a couple of sodas and discussed the chord changes to My Funny Valentine. It was a great lesson even though we didn't touch the guitar! The sad irony is that I had tried calling him Monday or Tuesady this week to, hopefully, return as a student after several years. A special person, a big influence and, as everyone knows, a brilliant musician.

Haskel Joseph
July 28, 2005 5:05 PM


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