Overview | Blog Site | Memorial August 14, 2005 |

  Memories of Ted  
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I am shocked and deeply saddened at Ted's passing. He was and still is one of my heroes as a guitarist and as a person. His talent was heads above even the best players, but he had such a gentle, sweet, and humble attitude about him that made you feel he was your friend and that he respected you. I studied privatley with him for a about a year. He was very interested in the fact that I practiced the yoga meditation of Paramahansa Yogananda and Self-Realization Fellowship. He confided to me that he had studied the SRF Lessons, but had stopped. He was interested in spiritual and metaphysical aspects, and thought highly of Yogananda. I will forever cherish my contact with him. A few years ago I called him up and asked him if his "Solo Guitar" album would ever be released on CD, and if he was planning any new recordings. He told me the CD was in the works, and that he was planning to go into the studio to record some more pieces. I don't know what ever became of this, but hopefully we all will be able to taste more of his wonderful music. My only wish was that he would have made more solo recordings. With all his humility he didn't feel he was quite ready to record! Ted was certainly the best music teacher I ever encountered, and one of the gentlest of souls. God bless you, Ted.

(No Name)
July 28, 2005 5:32 PM


I first met Ted when I was 17 for a lesson.I knew after that first lesson my life had changed! No one has come even close to reaching the level of harmonic mastery on the guitar than Ted!Truely the most inspiring,humble,and giving man that I've ever had the pleasure of meeting.He was a TRUE genius!This is an inaccurate,and wildly exaggerated word when most often used.However,Ted absolutly was a genius,not unlike edison,einstein,etc...He just(luckily for all of us)decided to apply that great mind to guitar.He meant the world to me as a hero,and as a friend.No matter what was going on in my life,when I was walking up his stairs for a lesson,I had a smile on my face,because there was no place I'd rather be.Goodness just poured out of him,and during the time of the lesson's,everything just seemed right in the world.I hope due credit is givin to the absolute athority of the guitar,one Mr. Ted Greene!

Ted,your inpact on so many of us will not be forgotten.I love you,and miss you dearly.

-Gabriel Moses
July 28, 2005 7:28 PM


Ted's accomplishments on the guitar are a revelation. The one lesson I had with him ten years ago is still a source of inspiration and motivation.

Thanks you Ted, you will be missed.

Charlie Hunter
July 28, 2005 7:53 PM


They say that when the student is ready the teacher will appear. I am not sure I was ever ready, but i was always met by kindness, generosity, support and encouragement. I met Ted 25 years ago when I was 18. Over the years my lessons got farther apart as the material he would present would be ever more challenging. These last few lears i would go maybe once a year. i would show up having thought and worked on some idea diligently. Proud to show the master what i had learned, and Ted would always respond with that great grin and say something like, "Hey man that is cool, but did you ever think of trying...", and it always some amazing new way of seeing things. He was my Zen master of guitar. I've nver met a gentler soul or a better musician. Always compassionate and curious about everything and everyone, about my life and music.

I travelled to Fiji once and was on a very very remote island playing guitar with the tribe there. At the end I gave a copy of chord chemistry to the chief who was curious about the chords I was playing. Ted got a real kick out of the idea that a bunch of guys on a remote island in Fiji were learning his stuff.

Ted was my teacher, and i was also honored he thought of me as a friend. I will miss him, but I know the angels are smiling because Ted is playing somewhere and heaven sounds more beautiful.

My condolences to Ted's family.
best regards

John March
July 28, 2005 8:09 PM


Ted and I shared a birthday and some years ago I wrote this poem for our birthdays


sometimes I play the thing

put my fingers in the right spot and plunk

the notes fall out and onto the ear

or the microphone

the rhythms keep walking,

seldom fall

sometimes I pick it up and feel it's curves

and gentle response

and it starts to speak to me in the voice

of a beautiful woman.

she begs for my caress

she kisses my fingers

and moans with delight

and sometimes she sings me her own song

older and richer than mine

when she sings to me like this

my fingers kiss her strings

and beg for

their caress

and patiently wait till she's done

the depth and width of my love for her

is without measure

and touching her this way

has left me thinking

of you

js LA
July 28, 2005 9:39 PM


about 1974 i sat in on a lesson for my frind paul pattornette i was stuned to say the least. i spent the next 2 years working harder then hell at the information he gave me.I to met him at dales guitars on 7120 topanga. a while latter i had asked him to give me his refference to try teaching i was hired imediatly at cassells in san fernando i worked there 8 years. i also got hired at dales to work there and have been teaching for 30 years +
i owe him all of what i know and my life is full and rewarding because of his help and guidance. i,m heartbroken to see him go but i feel lucky and blessed to have had him in my life. i sat with many times in he past 8 months and vidio taped the lessons. no one could play to his level, no one. i will forever charish my time with him and miss everyday of my life. everytime i touch my axe i will think of him.
my love and prayers for barbra and linda and ron. and thanks to whatever power brought this wonderful person into my life. he was my mentor my freind and i will never forget him ever.

ted labash
July 28, 2005 10:46 PM


I got on Ted's waiting list sometime around 1997 and then one day out of the blue I got "the call" from Ted that he had an opening for regular lessons. That was 1979. I drove down every 2 weeks from Santa Barbara for years for my lesson. The last lesson I took was around 1991 or 1992. Ted was an amazing teacher. We spent two years together working through Walter Piston and several other traditional classical harmony books all on the guitar. Somewhere I have a notebook of 18 Bach Chorals that I wrote out "Ted Greene Style" with dots. One year while teaching guitar at the National Summer Workshop I co-taught a special Ted Greene workshop. Ted came out the last part of the week and I spent the first part of the week going over a small fraction of the stuff Ted had taught me before he showed up. I'll never forget him playing "All the Things You Are" for the class in a baroque style with fugue like moving lines. I have one of Bob Berry's photos of Ted hanging on my wall above my classical guitar teacher Vicente Gomez. Now they're both gone. Ted will be missed by many.

Mark Kramer
July 28, 2005 11:11 PM


I had the very good fortune to "sub" a lesson for a friend with Ted Greene and will forever be better for that one hour. I had never heard of subbing a guitar lesson! But I'm still thinking about things that I learned that day. Ted just oozed knowledge, and seemed to have a pipeline straight into what I needed to learn. I have no doubt that every other student of Ted's knows exactly what I mean. I had always planned to go back for more, and it's my loss that I didn't. Ted you will most certainly be missed. My condolences to your family... Corky

corky james
July 29, 2005 12:59 AM


Very sad to hear of Teds' passing. I didn't realise until he died that i still use his chord progressions after 20 years! Guitarist never seem to have a long life but what a life!!
"say hello to Django,Ted"

Mike Jones - England
July 29, 2005 2:25 AM


Ted Greene embodied what we all aspire to achieve as guitarists, musicians, and human beings. His generosity, talent, intelligence, wit, and incredible musicality are a great loss. We miss you already, man...

J. Vega
July 29, 2005 7:15 AM


I just remembered the day Lenny Breau, Dan Sawyer and Ted Greene did a workshop down in the valley. Guitar Center I think it was. Lenny had his 7 string guitar with the high A on it. Ted ran around with sheets on Lenny's approach that he had made up for all the attendee's showing amoung other things how to do the cascading harmonics thing.

I was also thinking back on how you would be working on something in a lesson and he would suddenly remember just the right sheet to get out to cover what was being worked on. He would get up and know exactly which of the myriad piles of countless lesson sheets he had stacked all over the living room and about what depth the sheet would be in. Out would come the sheet. While his back was turned, I would play a fancy chord I was working on. He could name the chord - in the right key - without turning around. Ah, Bb13b9 spelled Bb-Ab-Cb-D-G. Now, resolve that to Eb6/9 spelled Eb-G-Bb-C-F. Wow, Ted, what a stretch! Thanks man.

Mark Kramer
July 29, 2005 7:23 AM


In the early 90s, I lent Ted my acoustic 8-string guitar that I had struggled with for several years. I had thought that Ted, being the kind of soul that he was, would find something in it and bring it to life. A month later, Ted had the case sitting next to the chair when I got there for my lesson. He asked me to take the guitar away, as he saw the possibilities in the instrument and realized that he could devote the next 20 years of his life to mastering it. He then picked up the guitar, played some astoundingly beautiful music on it, handed me about a dozen sheets of chord diagrams and melodic concepts he scratched out for the instrument and went on with the regular (as if any lesson with Ted could be considered regular) lesson.

I gave Ted the Carl Stalling Project set for his birthday that year as well. He played me some solo arrangements of the music on the disks that were mind-blowing renditions of the orchestral music. The stories go on and on.

The world is a little less kind, a little less human now with Ted gone. The beautiful thing is we all got to know him in our way, in our own time, and he will never be forgotten.

Rich Lasner
July 29, 2005 8:30 AM


Ted was the kindest person I ever met. The joy of taking guitar lessons was a great treat to say the least. May he rest in peace. He will be missed by many especially myself.

Mark Huth
July 29, 2005 10:08 AM


I first heard about Ted as a teenager in the late 80's while attending the Grove School of music. Every teacher there had studied with him and spoke about him with such reverence. I knew right from my first lesson that I would be learning from this man for the rest of my life. 16 years later, even with his untimely passing, I feel the same way. Ted I love you and miss you terribly. It was my privelege to have known and learned from you.

Paul Karpinski
July 29, 2005 10:12 AM


For the past 16 years I have had the pleasure of "getting to know" Ted through the stories and reflections my husband, Ricky Katz, has shared. Ricky would look forward to a lesson with Ted as if he was going to sit at the feet of the "master" and when he returned from that lesson he was always a changed man - growing yet even closer to his own musical soul and understanding life a bit moreso - simply from a half-hour lesson with Ted. It became clear to me over the years that this was more than just a guitar teacher. Ted was clearly a remarkable human being, a person who had great respect for the individual person, the depth of a person's soul, and the value of human life. In a business filled with people who think they are bigger than life Ted clearly understood that he was just one person, on this planet, here for a purpose. To connect with others, through their love for music as well as a myriad of other varied and unique areas of interest many of you have shared!

My husband surprised me this past February by bringing me to Spazio's to hear Ted play - the first (and now unfortunately only)time I had. I do believe that I left a changed person. As a classically trained musician (violin and piano) I marveled at the way this man embraced his guitar. He made it sing as have so many violinists I have heard in many years. He was intimate with his guitar. His two hands seemed as one. He was in a relationship with that guitar - with the gentleness, respect and care one gives to a loved one.

It is clear that the music world - the world as a whole - has lost a gem. Even moreso, though, I cry for all of you who have shared the same sentiment - that Ted touched your soul and that you are left with a deep hole. My hope is that you will continue to share these remarkable memories of Ted, with one another - through your anecdotes and, of course, your shared love for music.

(No Name)
July 29, 2005 10:20 AM


Music and guitar playing specifically has occupied most of my life. Early on, in my adventure/quest I came upon the "bible" of chord work, Ted's "Chord Chemistry". It stunned me...When I finally picked up his LP (25 years ago?), the question "Oh sure, but can he actually play this stuff?" was answered, like a clap of thunder.
I have a collection of over 5000 records, CDs and tapes, the vast majority of which is the work of the best guitar players who have walked this planet. Ted was absolutely one of them. He is one of the only guitarists who's playing has ever brought tears to my eyes.
Today in reading some of the testimonials, I shed a few more tears.
I never knew the man, but listening to him play, tells me plenty...
PEACE to Ted and to all suffering his loss.
Even the Angels will cast a silent ear when Ted and Lenny play a duet...

Scott Dercks
July 29, 2005 11:10 AM


I remember the long night my wife and I spent with Ted. Ted was a friend of my Cousin Max and was at his house for dinner. We found ourselves in the living room and of course Ted started to play. We are all 50s and 60s rock and roll freaks and Ted played and we sang for hours. Ted even said my wife and I had good voices.

I saw Ted once or twice after that, and my only knowlege of his doings came from Max. I only heard good things about Ted Greene. Phyllis and I will never forget the night the music played on and somebody said we could actually sing. Thanks for the music. Thanks for the joy.

Chuck Rubel
July 29, 2005 11:26 AM


I am without words for this loss of such a gentle brilliant and open hearted spirit that I thought would always be there. We will never see another like Ted in our life times.

Mat Gurman
July 29, 2005 12:23 PM


Growing up in my Dad's guitar store
in Tarzana was a truly unique experience. My father, Ernie Ball,
had the first guitar store in the U.S.
and six teaching rooms in back of the store. As a young guitarist, I would teach beginners after school. Other teachers were Stan Black, Jay Lacy,
Bill Eucker and TED GREENE.
My father had a huge classical music library in probably about 6 file cabinets. Ted would take his breaks from teaching and either walk with us to the Winchell's donut shop for
snacks or go one by one through the classical music collection and play
pieces that were not written for guitar. Ted was the hero at the store. He could sight read Debussy.
I took my first lesson from Ted in 1967 where he taught me about bending strings and explained that
Eric Clapton was playing B.B.King licks who was playing Otis Rush licks. Ted was also a maniac with a soldering gun. Whenever he could afford it, he would buy extra pickups from my Dad's repair department and install them in his many guitars. You might clock in some of the older photos his guitars with a ton of pickups. My father passed on this last year, but before he died, I took a lesson from Ted at his apt. in Encino a few years ago and he was so intent on making sure that he got the message to my Dad that he apologized for his early years of being a bit whacky. Of course, EB felt that Ted was just the genius Ted and it really wasn't as big a deal as Ted was making it.
But Ted cared about his ethics and integrity. He cared about giving to people and about the passion of guitar. The few lessons I took from Ted were so intensive that it took me so long to learn just a few points in the lesson. I video'd my last lesson. I said, "Ted, please just play and I'll learn it from the tape." I didn't want to waste his time handing me the guitar back and forth while I fumbled. Ted was more than a genius, he was legendary and a rare spiritual being. Thank you Ted for your generous and playful nature AND for Chord Chemistry.
Our sincerest condolences to Ted's family from all of the Ball family.

Sherwood E. Ball
July 29, 2005 1:04 PM


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