Overview | Blog Site | Memorial August 14, 2005 |

  Memories of Ted  
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Ted's musical genius was self-evident.
But for me, his greatest gift was Ted himself. A modest, even shy, man whose gentle soul and respect for all cast a giant shadow in the guitar community.
I loved how absolutely passionate he was about things. Whether it was music or old movie trivia, Ted embraced his interests with joy and enthusiasm. His life was rich, and it had nothing to do with money.

bruce henkin
August 01, 2005 12:08 PM


It has taken me up to now to post and yet I am still incapable of verbalizing my devastation. Thanks Ted for your love, friendship and teachings.
Peace my friend,

Robin (Pitigliano)
August 01, 2005 1:11 PM


I remember meeting Ted through my great friend Ricky Katz. Ricky dragged me to the Smokehouse to hear a guitarist I would not believe. After listening to Ted, I never thought what he played could be possible on the guitar. I thought only George Van Eps could do this but Ted took Van Eps' ideas further than anyone else has.

Bob W
August 01, 2005 2:30 PM


When I took my first lesson with Ted, I was 19,and leaving for college the following week. He gave me about 70 pages of chord melodies and other impossible stuff, which I practiced for a year at college. I actually had some of it down by the time I saw him again. My playing improved at least ten-fold from that one lesson with Ted. He was such a sweet and wonderful guy.

Then, I started taking regular lessons at his parents' big old house off of Winnetka, where he was caring for his grandmother. During that time, he was writing his single-note soloing books and his cats would always be sitting in front of the amp. I thought, "Those cats must hear the greatest music in the world, because his sound is so amazing."

Ted was shy and not really eager to perform, but I convinced him to play at my wedding in 1983. He blew everyones' minds. When the minister, who I didn't really know, saw Ted carry in his telecaster twin reverb, he was afraid Ted would be playing Zeppelin-style power chords, so told Ted to play something classical. Rather than starting off with a jazz standard, he played some Debussey piece that I had never heard, which floored me.

Later, I took lessons from him at the apartment on Burbank. He had books in the bathtub.

Ted was a true genius and a sweet guy. In every sense, the world is better because he was in it. All of us guitarists who knew him are playing better because he was here.

Mike Schmidt
August 01, 2005 9:04 PM


Hi, i didnt kow Ted, but my son did, he is devastated on account of his sudden death. He took lessons from Ted, and say's he was the greatest. May God take care of you now Ted, and i know you are playing with the angels.
August 01, 2005 11:40 PM


ted's books on chords (esp modern chord progressions) were by FAR the best books on the subject ever written. they totally changed the way i play and teach. he was obviously one of a kind.

thank you ted!! rip.

(No Name)
August 02, 2005 9:34 AM


… just want to say; i love the photo Nick Stasinos put up today. Thanks Nick!

~dan sawyer
August 02, 2005 11:14 AM


The photos from Nick are truly wonderful. I especially love the one of Ted at the apt. That one really hits home for me. Thanx to Nick and Dan.

Jason D. Kuhar
August 02, 2005 1:54 PM


>>> Preliminary Announcement! <<<

Here is the preliminary announcement of the memorial for Ted Greene. It will be held on August 14, 1PM to 5PM at the Beverly Garland Hotel.

Please look for the more complete details which should be up by this evening on this website.

August 02, 2005 4:24 PM


I first heard Ted in 1975 at a party arranged by a friend of mine(and a guitar enthusiast), which was attended by a room full of musicians, mostly guitarists. We just sat on the floor and waited, and he came into the room carrying his Twin-Reverb and Leslie, with his lovely sister Linda in tow.

I was 19, and sat on the floor about 5 feet in front of him, and watched and listened to him play "Time after Time", "People", "Girl Talk","Summertime",and so on, with much amazing improvising, ending with his incredible "Danny boy". I still have the recording. I was blown into another reality. I studied with Ted for the next 3 years, and accumulated a notebook about 2 inches thick of his notes, not unlike many of his other students. I still refer to those notes.

When he released his "Solo Guitar" LP, I sat down with my reel-to-reel and worked out every song, and wrote it down in his chord-grid system. He and Leon White got a bit of a kick out of that, and we had a laugh. If anyone wants to check these out, I'll happily dust them off and copy them for whomever might be interested, flawed as they inevitably are. I do hope that we can all get together in some way to share his amazing contributions.

Another facet of this amazing man was his ability to transcend music...the concepts that he taught me regarding 'mental practicing', 'self discipline', 'trusting that hard work will yield rewards', all have served me in life's lessons which I was able to use to teach myself Calculus and Latin, when the desire arose to do so. I am passing these things on to my sons, who are almost adults now.

I, like all of you, are devestated by his passing, as he was able, as Ricky Katz so aptly attested,to make each individual feel as if they were special. He was truly a 'Man for all Seasons'

Heaven's jam session just got another brilliant candle. He's gonna make 'em cry, just like he did down here.

Mark Thornbury
August 02, 2005 9:43 PM


I took some lessons with Ted in the late 70's.
The first lesson was unbelievable. I went to Ted's home and he wasn't there...and when we connected after that, he insisted on coming to my home to make up for my drive to him....I was astounded, and when he arrived , he came barrelling up the stairs (to my 2nd floor apt.) with 2 small amps in each hand and,now, and 2, a Stratocaster under each armpit...he said it would be a benefit for the visual part of the lesson , if I had the same neck in my hand to look at while I watched him...and then he went ahead and gave me a dazzling lesson...
He was a great person, someone I would like to be like..a real humanitarian, gracious, a wonderful person as well as a genius musician and guitarist...I will miss him....

Denis Alvino
August 02, 2005 11:41 PM


Dear Dan, I hope you can post this on your site:

As a person, one could never find a kinder, gentler, more understanding, more giving, friend. He literally helped people visualize and eventually realize their dreams. Some of us might ask ourselves, what would I be doing today if I had never met Ted Greene? Personally, having known him and his loving family for over 35 years, I am beginning to understand a little better what Lou Gehrig meant when he said “Today I feel like the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” Many more people will eventually come to realize one of the greatest true artists who ever lived. Those of us who were lucky enough to know him personally as well as hear him perform were truly blessed. True to his convictions, Ted performed music that would touch your heart and give you inspiration. When you listen to his recording of Danny Boy you can feel his presence. Ted set the standard for being a music teacher, musician, and humanitarian. It is good to see from the comments on this website that his life’s work in music, and it was immense, will live on with caring individuals archiving all of it and eventually making it available for future generations. I cherish the time I spent being with him, I can’t think of anyone in my life who had a bigger impact on me in so many areas, and wish only the best for Ted’s brother Ronnie, sister Linda, his love Barbara, and all of Ted’s music students including those of us who never formally took lessons from him but in reality were his students.

Dan, Thank you for posting this site, and count me in to attend the memorial. If there is anything I can do to assist please contact me.

Gary Mandell,
Blvd Music (310) 398-2583
August 03, 2005 1:28 AM


Many musical geniuses pass away before a typical life span comes to fruition — sadly Ted Green has fallen into such a category!

I humbly state the following paragraph will relate to all of you regarding our memory of Ted.

"Ted had (and continues to have) a huge impact regarding our growth as musicians an beings. A perfect person on the planet earth, clearly a genius, incredible guitarist, incredible guitar teacher, and a lifetime friend to all. I deeply love Ted!!!!!!"

Ted’s humor level was totally left field!!! He could easily switch into modes of "outside" humor that was so very funny and not expected!!!

So many stories to note that may be of interest and will post soon.

Jay Graydon
August 03, 2005 6:05 AM


I consider Ted Greene the greatest guitar teacher I ever had and I never even met him personally. I have several friends who have studied with him and have shared there stories with me. I teach guitar and have all of my students pick up a copy of "Chord Chemistry" and at the local store in my hometown of Denton, TX they keep a stack of them on file for me. My first guitar teacher made me a copy of Ted's only album on cassette. I have had that cassette for 19 years and keep it in my safe I cherish it so much. I am deeply saddened by Ted's passing and all of my love to all his family, friends, students and fans.

Much Much Much Love,
Eric Keyes
August 03, 2005 9:21 AM


Great beings and artists that are from outer reaches of human experience and who guide lesser creatures to view and share their realm grace and inspire us only once in many lifetimes. We were so blessed as musicians to be here when Ted passed through with his sharing nature to inspire and motivate and challenge us to explore music far beyond our dreams.
Ted, you had a very fruitful visit.

Mike S.
August 03, 2005 10:39 PM


The first time I went to Los Angeles was in the mid 1970's with my friend Steve Watson. We went to Norms Rare Guitars while we were in L.A. to check out some guitars. I heard what I thought was a record being played in the back room and asked Norm (the owner) " Is that the Great Guitars with Barney Kessel, Herb Ellis and Charlie Byrd album you are playing ?(it sounded like three guitarist playing simultanously)
Norm replied " No, that's Ted Greene trying out a Telecaster."
I said "No way that is just one guy"
Norm said " Go back and take a look"
Steve and I went back and there was Ted playing a Telecaster through a small Fender Deluxe amp.
He motioned for us to come in and we sat there in awe !
I had never heard such shimmering beauty from the guitar in all my life ! ( and haven't since !)
Ted was so nice and friendly to us and spent the afternoon talking with us . When he found out we were from Florida he invited us to his house and gave us both lessons and copies of his book . His sweet Mom made us a snack and we went back to Florida with such inspiration it was unbelievable ! We kept in touch, became friends and several years later when I moved to L.A. I took lessons with him.
Ted was not only one of the greatest guitarist/musicians the world has ever known but one of the finest human beings that ever was.
His passing is a sad time for all of us who knew Ted.
We rejoice his beautiful Spirit and the genius that touched our lives.

Ted Shumate
August 04, 2005 8:27 AM


I ditched school when I was 16 and took the bus to guitar center in sherman oaks to hang out. A older man was playing some sweet jazz and I watched him for a few minutes. When he was done I complimented him and asked if he could give me a few lessons. He replied, " I'm not a teacher and take lessons from Ted Greene" I was primarily into hard rock and heavy metal and liked jazz very much, but it sounded too hard for me to do so I blew off the idea of lessons. I progressed on my own for the next few years and by the time I was 22 I was bored. I remembered "Ted Greene" and called information and eventually got ahold of him. Ted as everone knows , was booked and suggested I try him back. I bugged him for almost a year and one day Ted called and said he had a 1 hour opening. I jumped at the chance.I didn't really know who Ted was back then. I took a couple of lessons as a young kid and didn't know much and Ted said not to worry and that it didn't matter. I arrived at his apartment and a soft spoken man answered the door. I introduced myself and he sat me in the living room and went back to finish up with his student. I sat there looking around at all his amps,books,videos, records...it was unbelievable!. While sitting there waiting I could hear Ted talking faintly to his student and then he played some of the most beatiful music I have ever heard. When Ted was finished with his student and my turn was up I didn't want to play a note after hearing all those cords and notes dripping off the neck from him! "Brilliant" is all I could think! It was like the gates of heaven opening up to me. Ted and I hit it off and he pointed me in the right direction not just in music but as a person. Ted's devotion to music was like nothing I've ever seen and that inspired me. I studied with Ted for years and then an opportunity for me to teach came up. Through Ted's advice I took the job and tried to use the tools he gave me to help the students I teach now. The rewards from teaching are so great that one can't explain the feeling it gives. Ted has been the single most important person in my life next to my parents. I am forever in his debt. Its hard for all of us who knew Ted, but the love we all share is part of the legacy Ted left. I love you Ted.

Tony Ward
August 04, 2005 10:33 AM


My best wishes to Ted's family and many friends.

Like many guitarists, I didn't learn to play guitar from Ted's book, Chord Chemistry, but I learned to play guitar better from that book.

It remains a constant and daunting challenge that I've never successfully met, but each attempt has improved me.

I would compare it to an enormous buffet of the best food imaginable. At first it's intimidating since you can't eat it all at once, and if you try, you know you'll fail. But once you realize this amazing buffet is always there, it will keep feeding you for life.

I have returned over and over to Ted's book during the last 30 years ... each time hoping I've become good enough to somehow find it trivial, this time.

Well, that's never happened and I suspect it never will. I'm content to keep revisiting it and being satisfied with small victories.

The only part of Ted that I know hasn't gone away. It's still on my bookshelf mocking me, challenging me to be better. In the nicest possible way.

As always, I'll be thinking of Ted when I play.

August 04, 2005 3:54 PM


Ted Greene was a real inspiration to me over the last 30+ years. Back in the 70's the choices for book instruction were pretty lame .I remember Mickey Baker and Mel Bays books.Then Chord Chemistry and Modern Chord Progressions came out and it was mind boggling to see so much in a book.I always wondered if Ted could actually play all that stuff.Then in 1979 I went to GIT in Hollywood and while there I went to a music store and heard something that to me sounded like a Bach organ piece and this guy ,who I immediately knew was Ted was sitting on the floor making all these great sounds come out of a Stratocaster.Afterwards he asked if I wanted to check it out.I politely declined.What was I going to play?maybe a little "Stairway" ? I think not.I spoke to Ted on the phone several times.About 2 or 3 months ago I did a lesson with him over the phone.I envy those who had regular lessons with him in person.I really liked the way he used the english language.I have a letter from Ted that is something to see.I had asked all sorts of technical questions about his recording.He went into great detail about it .I sent him a copy of his letter at his request.He wanted it in case anyone else asked for the same info .Ted inspired me to charge less for my acupuncture sessions.I figured if he could charge 30.00 so could I and I haven't regretted it for a minute.I asked Ted why he charged so little and he told me that it's so he can meet more interesting people.I spent the most time with Teds 2 single note soloing books.I studied the heck out of those books .It was a great learning experience and a real eye-opener as well.Reading all these posts has brought tears to my eyes more then once.Ted was indeed a rare being and I am grateful to have come into contact with him even tho' it was primarily through books.

Philip(New York)
August 04, 2005 4:33 PM


I studied with Ted for about a year and then I moved out of town. I was always hoping to resume the lessons at some future date. I cannot add much to the comments posted as so many studied with Ted for a much longer time. It goes without saying that Ted was a gentle soul and a wonderful musician. I can only comment on how I feel. At once deeply saddened and yet grateful for having the priviledge to have known such a man. Ted always made me laugh and was that rare individual who possesed enormous talent and yet remained humble. There is a verse from the book of Ecclesiastes that states "A name is better than good oil, and the day of death than one's being born". What counts is the end result of how one has lived their life. Ted's record as a human being is a wonderful testament to the spirit of that scripture. I will alway remember Ted Greene.

August 04, 2005 6:37 PM


It is amazing to read these posts and stop to realize the incredible musical and spirtual effect Ted had on so many for so long!
There are NO inconsistencies in these messages. Ted ALWAYS was kind. Ted ALWAYS was patient. And the student ALWAYS left a lesson blown away by the talent and compassion he had just experienced.

I first met Ted thru my high school girlfriend, Julie, who is Ted's cousin.The first lessons were at the old Tarzana Ernie Ball store. In those cramped little practice rooms he opened up the world of Clapton, J.S. Bach and Bossa Nova. It was later over at Dales Guitars in Canoga Park that I began to really see his legend grow. I loved hearing the conversations between Ted and Daryl Z. who was forever trying to get Ted to perform and record more.
About that time I introduced Ted to a friend, Leslie Z., they hit it off and went together for a couple of years.
It was such a blast when the three of us would go down to Hollywood and explore the old music and sheet music shops, searching out Bach and Scarlatti in the ancient stacks of sheet music.
One time Ted discoverd an old theory book which showed a diagram of what it called "THE GRANDFATHER CHORD" Ted got laughing so hard,and had us going so bad I thought I might die right there in the store!
Another unforgettable musical moment was listening to Ted and Randy Zacuto experimenting with open tunings into the late evening.
One of my favorite memories of Ted was when he took me up to his room in his parents house to show me a guitar book he was working on.
There scattered ALL OVER the floor, was the inspired chaos, that were the pages of the yet uncompleted, CHORD CHEMISTY.
There could never be another Ted Greene.

Jeff Murray
August 05, 2005 1:31 AM


Ted's spirit was on my shoulder last weekend. Ten of us from high school--in a restaurant at the Mohegan Sun in Conn.spontaneously started a discussion about Teddy and Linda (Sue and Irwin Zaetz were there also).My quest was to call Ted this week, of coarse not knowing of his passing.
When Leon called and told me, tears welled up immediately. Ted was my friend. I was born one day before him on the 25th of Sept.
I knew the Ted Greene during earlier stages of his evolvement- from high school-where he was called "the leader"-his 1964 Mopar 426 12.2 machine-Mull. dr.- telescope watching LA.Yogananda--diet changes, divorce and the deepest questions- " What do you think happens to you when your body dies"
The wonderful Greene family opened their homes and their lives to me. I grew spiritually, and learned about compassion, love, hope, music and life from the Greene spirit--from White Plains NY to the Calif. Valley
I just replayed Ted's album last week all day, just 'cause I missed him. We shared a lot, and I feel blessed that he is still with me--and all of us-Linda--Love and Miss you--

George Miller
August 05, 2005 3:48 PM



George miller
August 05, 2005 3:58 PM


I just ordered and received Ted Greene's Solo Guitar CD that has been so long in coming (1977). It is INCREDIBLE. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Although I never took lessons from Ted or saw him perform "live", like many others... I purchased and wore out a couple of his instruction books "Chord Chemistry" and "Modern Chord Progressions".

I was also fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to take a little group instruction seminar with Ted last year at Boulevard Music here in LA.

My question:...Even given all of the vagaries of the music business, how is it possible that Ted Greene did not record and release any additional material from the original 8 songs in 1977?

August 05, 2005 6:07 PM


I've had lessons on and off with Ted since the early eighties until fairly recently. Each lesson was an amazing mind-expanding experience and I could never thank him enough for his patience, encouragement and inspiration. He always showed genuine interest in my musical endeavors and always complimented me on the things I was playing and working on (regardless of how basic and so below his level they were). It was always about others, never about himself. He was a great musician and teacher, one of a kind. Thanks for everything Ted, music won't be the same with out you.

Mark Fitchett
August 06, 2005 1:33 AM

Ted took fingerstyle jazz to a level beyond anything before him. We owe it to him to continue to pass his teaching and his music on to future generations. Being the person that He is/was, I'm sure he would want us to do so.

Hal Oppenheim
August 06, 2005 3:55 PM


Dear Friends of Ted,

Ilove this website and am grateful for all the memories of Ted you are sharing.

I opened a drawer the other day and found this sheet of paper Ted had given me a few years ago at a lesson when I was feeling discouraged: "Press On--

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."

On my copy there is no attribution, but I think it is attributed to Warren G. Harding.

Ted always encouraged me to press on, to never give up. If what I was assigned was too hard and seemed impossible, he helped me break it down into smaller pieces. He showed me how to practice, how to think about things, not only music, but life.

I will miss him a lot and I am so glad that you are all sharing your thoughts here. It makes me feel less bereft.


Maggie G.
August 06, 2005 4:11 PM


Dan and Adam, though I don't know you personally, I want to thank you deeply for this website. One of the things that was so great about taking lessons with Ted was getting to meet his other students. Since posting comments and contact data earlier, we have received numerous phone calls, e-mails and visits to our home from other admirers of Ted. Through this website Ted's students and friends are keeping in touch -- and meeting new people devoted to Ted -- so it is helping to substitute for his apartment .... Thank you.

But I am compelled to rebut Ted’s reputation of being a "hermit" or a "recluse." Ted wasn't fond of that monastic label. That man had probably 80 guitar players through his apartment in any given week. And he performed in front of countless guitar players who were judging his prowess; now that takes guts! While he may have been private, humble and soft-spoken, and he may have chosen not to record or play large auditoriums, he was not a hermit or recluse. I hope that image is corrected in the public's memory of an actually very engaging guy.

August 06, 2005 9:45 PM


Ted was like a lighthouse, shining brightly from the shore. We, his students, were bouncing around on the sea, in the fog, in a storm, trying to make it to the shore. Now that light is out and many of us are wondering if we will ever be able to make it home. Damn, this is not going to be easy.

(No Name)
August 06, 2005 10:06 PM


In a world where flash often overshadows substance and the word "great" is bandied about to the point of being meaningless, Ted Greene was the real thing.

(No Name)
August 07, 2005 12:04 AM


It is funny,although I never met Ted personally,it is like I knew him for a long ,long time.I spoke to him on the phone,only once, last year,to ask for phone lessons(I live in Brazil)and invite him to participate in the summer course of the school I teach here in Brasilia(he said that he did't like to travel).The conversation took 20 minutes,we talked about Lenny Breau a lot, and he told me that although in"The genius of Lenny Breau "documentary there are only seconds of Ted Greene's,he talked a lot explaining in detail Lenny's approach and about their friendship,everything was filmed.(It is so important Dan that you go after this material).
Reading the posts on this site I can feel the huge influence Ted had in so many people in so many different places and times.A true special and spiritual human being that changed the lives of so many people, sharing his knowledge.I rememeber that a simple phrase in Chord Chemistry: Am6=F#m7b5=G#7#5b9=D9,changed my musical life forever ,after twenty years I'm still studying Ted's books and some manuscripts I have,that sheet with a Come rain or come shine comping example I'm still working on that one ,so many things...I started to listen to Ed Bickert after I read about him in Modern Chord Progressions,that also was great influence.Solo Guitar is a master piece,and now the only one we have showing Ted's mastery.Thank you Ted Greene for sharing your music and your life with so many people,I'll keep you in my heart forever,you brought a lot of significance to my life with your music and teaching.
A new Duet of Guitars in Heaven :Ted Greene and Lenny Breau live!!!!

Genil Castro Brazil
August 07, 2005 9:29 PM


When I was 17, I was plugging away at the Mickey Baker book (that's really all there was at the time) and wondering why the guys on the records sounded different. Then a new book came out with a picture of a guy on it with a big afro playing a 335 and it looked like it had some pretty good stuff in it. So I bought it and it changed my life. There must be 1000's of guitar players worldwide that could tell that same story. I've never personally studied with Ted (regretfully), but so many of my students and friends have, and I've learned so many of his pieces, and studied so much in his books that I almost feel as if I knew him well. I've heard so many wonderful stories about Ted....about his slanted sense of humor...about his selflessness...his dedication and love for the guitar. His music never ceased to amaze all who were fortunate enough to get to hear it. Not only was Ted a great player, a great teacher, and a great guy, but he was without question, an historical figure in the world of the guitar, and as such, will live on through the next generations of players, whether directly or indirectly....but we're all still gonna miss him terribly...So, here's to Ted Greene - thanks SO much!

Rick Barda
August 07, 2005 10:06 PM


It’s with a heavy heart I read all of the comment on this page and I’ve been putting off writing this, but here goes. Ted was one of the kindest and gentlest souls I’ve ever met. He was always so nice to me. Last time we spoke he was reminiscing about the guitar I had 30 years ago. Ted remembered everything He was a one of a kind.

I first met Ted in 1973. I was playing at a bowling alley in Reseda, Ca. and the drummer of the band knew Dale Zdenek who owned a local music store. He invited Dale to come down to hear me play. Dale soon after offered me a job teaching at the store and that’s when I met Ted. At that time Ted looked like crazed hippy with long hair and a full beard. I had heard of Ted as a blues player but after meeting him, realized he was into every form of music. The first piece I heard him play was Bach on his Gibson 345 that had more switches on it then the space shuttle. He had installed capacitors to make it sound like a harpsichord. What a blessing it was to teach in the room next to Ted. When most teachers would have a cancellation they would take a break Ted would say “come on in let’s play” or “come on in I want to show you something.” What a treat! It was like a family at that store with Ted and Dale and his wife Linda and the others teachers. Ted also rewired my ‘68 335 because the volume control affected the tone during a cancellation! It was a Gibson flaw that he pointed out to them that they later changed. Ted showed me so many things. One evening as we were leaving the store, after teaching all day I told him how I would really like to learn how he did those harmonic rolls of his, so right there in the parking lot he pulled out his guitar and gave me a lesson. That’s how Ted was. When I sit down to play so much of it I can say “Ted showed me that” even how to adjust a guitar neck. All of my teaching materials have the fingerprints of Ted’s work

I remember the day Dale received the first shipment of Ted’s Chord Chemistry at the store. You could say that day changed everything. Ted’s book took off and so did Dale’s publishing business. Soon after, Dale closed the doors on the store and opened another in publishing and Ted moved his teaching to his home.

I was another blessing to have three books published with Dale along with players like Tommy Tedesco, Joe Diorio, John Kurnick, Ron Anthony, Leon White and of course Ted. Most of those books are now out of print except for Ted’s. Ted has always had an underground following from students searching for something new. After the store was sold, I saw Ted only at company parties where sometimes we would play together but the real treat was to hear him play solo guitar. I still remember hearing his arrangement of “Angles We Have Heard On High” and seeing Tedesco’s jaw drop. His use of counterpoints, walking bass lines, harmonics, unusual chord voicings and great harmonic sense was mind boggling.

The last couple of years I bugged Ted to come up to our Yosemite workshops he said ”Someday I will” but everyone knows he barely got out of his house I also wanted to interview him for our video magazine but we never got together. Sadly I dropped the ball on seeing him my last trip to LA. and didn’t call him. I did go to California Vintage guitar that trip and found a Guild x50 I really liked. When Dan, the owner, said Ted had just brought it in, I snatched it up.. I was holding off on telling Ted because I wanted to surprise him with a video segment I did for the magazine where I used that guitar but that surprise is gone as well.

Here’s a Ted gem, I’ve been sending him issues of our video magazine for his students when I spoke with him last he wanted to give me a free phone lesson for them. I was just happy he’d look at them.

Ted thanks for befriending me. I will miss you and never forget you Ted, but I know you are with your Creator and He is enjoying the fruit of your genius

Your friend

Rich (Severson)
August 08, 2005 6:47 AM


Hearing about Ted's passing, I am utterly amazed at how touched I am. I have not studied with Ted in many years but recently saw him play. We shared fond rememberences of our past lessons together ( I have gone on to focus more on music production).

Now that I hear he is gone, it strikes me how profound an influence he has had on me. I am able to score orchestras etc without having been to college. I play things on the guitar that amaze people here in the studios of L.A. I am looked upon as quite amazing I would suppose.
And yet, what I can do was "old hat" (though thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated) to Ted Greene.

He set a standard for playing that has made me seem amazing to most musicians. Well..now I say to one and all, Ted Grene was MY secret.

Much of what I can do is owed Ted's helping me think globally about MUSIC, not just guitar. To Ted exposing me to advanced harmonic comcepts.

Ted helped all us "guitar players" think beyond the limits of the guitar, helped us think like piano players.
I am deeply saddened at Ted's passing, but moreover, I am forever grateful for his insights. Though I had not studied with him in years, I felt like we were old friends, like he was a part of me! I wonder how many others are utterly surprised like
I am at the relaization that a great part of our musical hearts...has left us.

Enjoy your next existence my friend..

Thank you for being you...

David (Snow)
August 08, 2005 8:32 PM


I was one of the lucky ones that had taken lessons from Ted for a couple of years back in the late 60's. He not only kept me interested in guitar but also all music. He was a man that gave his talent and knowledge to others with joy and passion. He was a small part of my youth that i still carry today. He was one of the nicest & generous man I had met, and Iwas shocked when I heard he had passed away. Im 53 now and I still remember what he did for me

(No Name)
August 09, 2005 11:21 AM


I have not seen or talked with teddy for almost 40 years. But, I always knew he would make a mark in music. Ted was unique and different. From the times in class in White Plains High School when we would draw pictures of muscle cars, to the times we spent in his room in Mulholland as he began to experiment with the guitar. I met ted in second grade, at Post Road School. We remained friends for many years, and we even traveled accross country together in my 1963 409. I am so sorry I did not remain in touch with him over these years. But I must admit that I have thought of him year after year, and I am so greatful to have known him. Rest in peace Ted, and keep on playin.

(No Name)
August 09, 2005 11:21 AM


I'm looking for someone to play a few George VanEps guitar arrangements at the memorial; either on 6 or 7 string guitar. If you know anyone, please email the information to: tegreene46@hotmail.com

Thank you!

Dan Sawyer
August 09, 2005 2:59 PM


Words like caring, sharing, intuitive, genius, unbelievable and variety of others come to mind when I think of Ted.

I was very fortunate to study with Ted around 1968-1970. I remember first coming to Ernie Ball's Guitar store in Tarzana and then over to Dale Zdeneck's store in Canoga Park.

The hang before and after the lessons were great too. You always wanted to see who was taking from Ted, too.

I remember coming into my first lessons(for which I paid $4.00 per lesson) all jacked up to learn the latest Clapton and Hendrix licks, which Ted easily had at his fingertips and played effortlessly on his gold-top Les Paul circa 1958.

He always had some new toggle switch on his guitar each week and would say "what do you think about this tone?" He was constantly pushing the limits on the standard sounds.

We worked out an arrangement that the first 15 minutes was going over licks but the last 15 minutes was chord theory. It started when he said, "check this out" and played the "Girl From Ipanema" with the melody, chord changes and bass line all at the same time. I was simply blown away........who else could do that?.....none other than Ted Greene! Later of course we blew off the licks and just went to the theory and putting together changes with melodies.

Ted inspired me to listen to a wide variety of music, including jazz, classical and Brazilian. In fact I remember walking in on a lesson and he was listening to some obscure movie theme by Dimitri Tiomkin or Alfred Newman. He was always trying to cop the chord changes and string or horn arrangements to apply to the guitar. That was way beyond my comprehension at the time.

I had the pleasure of booking a concert at Cal State Northridge in 1975 where I was his opening act and he shyly accepted such a "public" performance since he never felt like he could play well in front of people that were totally focused on his music. He always liked a brunch or the like where there was constant white noise from chatter or mindless conversation while people were eating.

I remember my last lesson with Ted many years back and I was playing his impossible arrangements on a classical guitar and we worked on "Embraceable You." I remember him starting it off in G and then said, "hey man, why don't we do it in Gb, it sounds nicer in that key, a little warmer....don't you think?" He had a kind of smirk on his face that only Ted would get. Of course I just kind of shook my head in disbelief and proceeded to learn it in that key and saw the beauty only years later with respect to the sound color....and still play it in that key.

Ted's impact on the guitar community is likely greater than most as he garnered a whole movement of "Chord Chemistry" (or "Catastrophe" as he later endearingly called it) followers.

Ted loved to share his insights and discoveries with all who would come his way. We were all blessed to have not only made his acquaintance but to have spent time with this wonderful and beautiful human being.

I can't thank Ted enough for the monumental influence he had on not only my guitar playing but the way I looked at the world and the respect for each person's individuality both musically and otherwise. I have taken his lessons with me throughout my life and dealings with people.

Not only will his genius be missed but the one of the kindest souls to traverse this planet will be remembered and cherished always and we thank you Ted for sharing your achievements and love with us.

God bless you Ted. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Ron Freshman
August 09, 2005 3:24 PM


I was another fortunate person to have known Ted. For the record, I've never picked up a guitar, nor have I ever been musically inclined. I met Ted when I was in my teenage years...and he was about 35. My dad and he used to listen to rock and roll music at my house until the wee hours of the night. I would come home from a night of partying and sit down and talk to them awhile. They would take a break in whatever song they were reminiscing about and chat with me. Ted and I talked about my major triumphs in life at that time....boys, school, cars, etc…. Our conversations would go on and on…...To think I would talk endlessly to this awesome guitar player about my insignificant issues when I was 16 ??? (People were on waiting lists waiting for his time, and I am chatting to him at 2:00 a.m. about my petty problems !!!) And all the while Ted would be caressing my cat….. Sylvester. He was a true animal lover and was right there with me on my convictions regarding animals. Through the years, I came to know Ted as this great, compassionate guy, whom I could discuss any topic with....and we definitely did….. except for music of course, which I knew nothing about. Although, he once told me that “rap music” wasn’t really music, and I have quoted him on many occasions to my husband… Ted would definitely state his convictions about issues, as would I, and we had some interesting conversations, no doubt. He spoke from real life experience and always made me think....which was good.
Yes, I knew he was very talented, remarkable and innovative in his field, but to me he was always this nice, gentle, warm hearted human being, who saw the goodness in people, and animals… The news of his death made me extremely sad. Yes, I know his brilliance will be missed in his field, but in addition, I think this world will miss a very compassionate human being. And the measure at which he will be missed is great. Perhaps heaven was lacking a benevolent, kind, caring, sweet soul who could entertain others with his musical genius……and give all the animals the kind gentle love, which they deserve……… You will be greatly missed by all of humanity!!!!

Amy Kerbeck
August 09, 2005 11:17 PM


I heard of Ted's passing on Monday August 8th. I go back as some of you to lessons at Ernie Balls/Dale's guitar shop on Topanga Canyon Blvd. Upon moving to California I was fortunate to take a lesson from Joe Pass. At that time Joe was touring with Ella F. and Oscar P. as the "Big Three". Joe gave me some words of inspiration and told me about this guy named Ted Greene. That's who you want to study with. Although Ted's waiting list was long, his study materials were often the curriculum of choice in the very capable hands of Chips Hoover. Needless to say there were some incredible sounds emanating from the studio walls at Dales back then. What an amazing atmosphere of learning and inspiration back then. What a tremendous loss today. Thank you all for stirring these memories through your stories about Ted, I've enjoyed reading each and every one. God Bless you Ted and may He comfort your family and friends.

Paul Martorella
August 09, 2005 11:45 PM


Years ago, in the seventies I discovered this book, "Chord Chemistry" by Ted. Didn't pick it up for months but when I did, I was totally overwhelmed by it's harmonic approach to playing the guitar. To this day that book is still within reach at all times. I lost my original copy and was delighted to find a used version in London shopping around in a
used music book store. Ted no doubt has been an enormous influence of my guitar playing throught the years and his books never stop teaching us something new everytime we pick them up. I had the privilege of seeing him live in McCables Guitar Shop in the late seventies and he literally blew everyone away in the audience. His command of the guitar fretboard and his approach to connecting chord voicings was the best I have ever heard. Truly, a genius of a man who gave us his wonderful gift of music and shared it with love and sweetness. Ted, we will miss you. Everytime we pick up your books your spirit and sense of humour speaks to us to us with your knowledge and dedication to the guitar that you devoted your entire life to. This is only the beginning Ted. There are many of us out there who owe so much to you and your musical genorosity.

August 10, 2005 12:59 PM


Just read today in the LA Times that Ted had passed. A sad day for me and a sad day for all that knew this fine gentle man. I was fortunate to know Ted from his visits to my music store, Harmony Music in Reseda. Anytime Ted would visit my humble store the customers of Harmony Music would be in awe of the man and rightfully so. Ted as usual would be somewhat embarrased with the attention and admiration he would receive. I have not seen Ted since 1988 but I will never forget how he made me and my music store seem important. He would go out of his way to make a purchase with every vist and always ready to talk guitars. We would compare old Fender and Gibson catalogs we both collected and talk about the old days the way guitars used to be made.If Ted had an ego he would have been a giant in the industry. As fate has it,he is larger than that in the opinons of those lives he touched in his 58 years on earth. Ted I am glad I knew you.

Mike Paganelli
August 10, 2005 4:11 PM


I want to thank cousin Teddy for all of his warmth and kindness
throughout my life. Teddy was a true friend to everyone, and someone
who I cherished spending time with. Despite being a great musician, he
was never pretentious and always humble about his talents and his art.
I remember discussing the guitar with one of my law school professors.
When I told him that I might be able to set up a meeting with Ted
Greene, his eyes lit up and he was ecstatic. "THE Ted Greene," he asked?
"Yes," I said. "He is my cousin." In the world of guitars, Teddy was
matchless, and everyone knew it. But Teddy never acted above anybody
else. He was always warm and friendly and humble and simply enjoyed
playing music for the sake of playing music. Teddy gave my professor
numerous lessons which I know he cherished.

Teddy left his mark on all whom he touched, including me. As most of
you know, my apartment and my office is littered with sports
memorabilia, especially pertaining to baseball. What most people
probably don't know is that Ted bought me my first baseball cards as a
kid. I will never forget going to the baseball card shop for the first
time, remembering how excited I was to look at the cards together, and
how we just enjoyed each other's company. He turned me on to the
passion that I still have today and as I look around at my memorabilia,
I think about him fondly. I am grateful to have had my experiences with
him. He was a wonderful person and will be sorely missed.

Mike Brown (Cousin Mike)
August 10, 2005 6:00 PM


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