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April 2017 • Newsletter


Spring Greetings!

This month we’re going to put a little focus on Ted and George Van Eps.

Scattered throughout his teaching materials, and more in his Personal Music Studies, Ted has a few pages that were inspired by George. We’ve scanned thru the indexes and are now posting everything that we found for this month’s new lesson items. In addition, you’ll find the full unedited transcript from the 3-hour Ted/George audio interview that we already have posted in our Audio section. That’s 50 pages! Sure, you may listen to it, but you might enjoy reading along as you listen. [And you’ll probably find some typos, or you might be able to understand something that we couldn’t decipher during the transcribing process, but overall, it’s pretty accurate and nice to have in print. Feel free to post any corrections in the Forums.]

You’ll also find a new, cleaner and clear scan of Ted’s article on George that was published in Guitar Player magazine, August 1981 issue. (No more yellowed pages!).

Our arrangement-of-the-month is Ted’s version of “Pete Kelly’s Blues.” This is a song, but it’s also the title of a 1955 film starring Jack Webb and Lee Marvin. George was in it as a member of the band in a couple of scenes, and he can be seen in the following YouTube clips.

Pete Kelly’s Blues - Sugar
Pete Kelly’s Blues TV - I’m Goin’ South

These are interesting, especially the second one for you audiophiles: we see them cutting an old 16” lacquer disk in the studio. And we see George strumming with a pick. In the film the band doesn’t play the song “Pete Kelly’s Blues,” but perhaps this old film inspired Ted to write up an arrangement. If you want to hear a version of the song, you might search in YouTube for Ella Fitzgerald’s version.

Also, this month we have:

  • A GVE inspired lesson on Baroque Tonality by Ted
  • A short GVE-ish counterpoint study by Ted
  • GVE 7 String Voicings by Ted (grid diagrams)

I also stumbled upon a very short piece in Ted’s files named, “Blues Licks for George V”, which I had assumed he meant George Van Eps. But after reviewing it, it became obvious that this was simply a lesson for one of Ted’s student’s named George with a last name starting with “V.” But we decided to post this little blues study this month anyway.

Here’s the links to some stuff we’ve already posted that are by Ted, inspired by George:

Chromatic Melodies Over Progressions in the Style of GVE
Diatonic Major Key Contrary Motion Studies – Inspired by GVE
George Van Eps – Style Variations
Melodic Chord Streams ala George Van Eps
George Van Eps TG Lesson and Performance Notes
I’ll Remember April – Ted’s Analysis of GVE Recording

And now I’d just like to include a few quotes by Ted about George. First, from Ted’s comments in the GVE tribute issue of Just Jazz Guitar magazine, May 1999:

“An extra-large portion of beauty was added to my life from the moment I first heard George Van Eps play live, and from the day he accepted me as his student. He showed me how to play a beautiful little piece he had written for his grandson, “Scott’s Lullaby” and my heart was full of joy and gratitude. Many years went by and I never could seem to find a way to thank him properly. Then one day a golden opportunity appeared: I was asked to write a cover story for the August 1981 issue of Guitar Player magazine. The time spent interviewing him, listening back over and over to the many hours of tape and trying to craft a readable story out of it all, remains one of the most wonderful highlights of my life.

...He changed guitar playing forever in many ways, and I will always cherish the time I spent with this beautiful man. He had a way of making you feel so great just to be around him. Thanks for everything George.”

~ Ted Greene

In the Ted/George Audio interview [Part 6], George hands Ted a copy of Alan De Mause’s book Solo Jazz Guitar in which there is a section dedicated Ted. Ted reads from it:

TG: “Ted was directly influenced by George Van Eps.” Thank you for getting something straight!

GVE: What’s that say?

TG: It says, “Like so many jazz fingerstyle players, Ted was directly influenced by George Van Eps.” That’s nice. It’s nice that he was aware of that, you know, I mean.

GVE: Yeah.

Another interesting exchange in that interview is at the beginning of part 5. It’s not altogether clear as to what they are referring, but I think Ted may have wanted to give George a portion of the royalties from his books, thinking that he deserved something because of what he had given to Ted:

GVE: You said something to me a year ago that I’ve never forgotten, cause you’re the only one that ever did it.

TG: Oh, I know what you mean. I still want to do that.

GVE: Tony Mottola was a student, and Al Hanlon, and a whole bunch of guys back east—and nobody ever made an offer like that. And I didn’t expect them to make it---.
You hit me right between the eyes with that last year. Because like I just said, I’ve never had anybody mention anything like that before, or make an offer like that. And I remember what I told you last year: that it’s a beautiful thought and all that, but I wouldn’t take one penny because you did the whole thing.

TG: We may have a fight latter on about this, George. I’d really like you to sometime. I can’t see that my future works couldn’t be largely---.

GVE: Ted, in good faith and in all honesty, I couldn’t accept it. I couldn’t.

TG: Seems unjust. I mean---…. You know, when I came to you I didn’t even know what questions to ask you. But I’ll tell you something: I used to have dreams, and you were helping me in my dreams. That may be fantasy; it may be conjecture; it may be symbolic—but I don’t believe that it was. I just noticed after I studied with you. After. I mean months later. And it wasn’t necessarily because of what I was working on. I’d have these dreams a few days later: acceleration, distinctive acceleration, you know. So, I’m not sure that---.

GVE: Ted, that’s marvelous, yeah. Well, I appreciate that and that’s more payment than I deserve. See. So, whatever you lay down on paper and whatever comes---whatever is released from your mind and becomes audible through your finger or anything you put down on paper—that’s yours. That’s yours, that’s not mine.

TG: But if the germinal ideas, the germs of the ideas, so to speak, were inspired by you, some credit—it seems like possibly more than just the acknowledgment in print—should be due. I mean, Isaac Newton and Galileo and I mean, all the way back, innovators that haven’t been treated right in society—it’s one of the main faults. The Wright brothers supposedly thought that the airplane would end war, but they weren’t treated---. I mean, innovators: it seems like there’s a line of injustice all the way down, and I certainly wouldn’t want to do anything unjust to you, you know. And I think it’s not just enough just to say, “Thank you.” Thank you isn’t enough.

GVE: No, you’ve done just enough. You’ve done just the opposite. You know why? Because you have built yourself up and worked hard, you built yourself up into a very sizeable piece of the music world. You’re a big chunk of the music world. You’re very talented. You’re very intelligent. Now, that is more payment than I deserve. Because, egotistically I don’t go around telling people that, “Oh, so-and-so studied with me,” or “so-and-so.” Now, that’s just between you and I. That’s a very private relationship, you know, doctor-patient, lawyer-client. And whatever transpired in the studio in Burbank, that’s very private stuff. If you can make a suggestion here to somebody, and make a suggestion there—you know doggone well they’re going to do it anyway. But if you can help them find a shortcut, “Well, this is a little shorter distance than what you want to do, or that,” why---

TG: You underestimate your influence, George.

And from the October 1989 guitar lesson of Ted with Kevin Griffin we have this tidbit:

Kevin: Does Van Eps get into this at all? [referring to Ted’s V-System or Voicing Groups organization]

Ted: It’s not his way. His way is “string sets.” He did so much groundbreaking work, you know. I want to use the correct propriety in this: Isaac Newton is considered one of the all-time geniuses in the world. None of us will probably ever be Isaac Newton. I certainly have no pretenses on that, but I like his quote. It says, “If I’ve seen farther than others it’s because I’ve stood on the shoulders of giants.” He built upon his predecessors’ work. I’m not claiming genius to have done something that George didn’t do, because he was busy laying the work that I would have still had to do to get to where I would even think about that. That’s why, you know…and the next generation will…

Kevin: That’s how it works.

Ted: Okay. Glad you understand that.

Kevin: Did you actually study with him?

Ted: Oh sure. God, yes. It was one of the thrills of my life.

Kevin: How much time did you spend with him?

Ted: Well, time felt different back in 1972, I must say. It was only 8 weeks, but boy, it sure seemed like 8—I mean, I don’t mean like the interminable, “Gee, when will this end?”—but it seems like I knew him so much longer than that 8 weeks, you know?

Kevin: Time is strange. It’s bendable that way, isn’t it?

Ted: Yeah. It lasted longer in those days.

And finally, a quote from Jim Carlton’s interview with Ted:

TG: Tom Wheeler [from Guitar Player magazine] calls me one day and says that they want to do a cover story on George and that they thought I was the perfect guy to write it. …The story I heard was that they called him and told him about the cover story and so forth, and he listened to their whole spiel and said, “Not interested” and hung the phone up. But, because I was his student, and because I was lucky enough to have a fine, fine bond with this man, when they proposed that I write the story, he agreed. You probably saw that cover story years ago, but probably didn’t notice that I’d done the story.

JC: Sure, I remember it, but must admit I didn’t realize you’d written it.

TG: I was very fortunate to interview him and do a long cover story on him. And they left in virtually everything I wrote except my bad jokes (laughs).

Okay, not everything in the new items this month relates to George, but a good portion, so you’ll find our normal assortment of lessons to dig through, and hopefully find something that will inspire you.


~ Your Friends on the Team


* “Pete Kelly’s Blues” 1987-02-16. [See comments in Newsletter above.]

* “George Van Eps Interview by Ted Greene (unedited)” [This is an unedited transcript of the full 3-hr audio interview with George and Ted. Fifty pages. Go to GVE Interview to hear the interview.]

* Baroque Tonality – Inspired by George Van Eps, 1982-11-13. [From Ted’s Personal Music Studies papers. New notation provided.]
* George Van Eps-ish Counterpoint, 1990-08-22. [From Ted’s Personal Music Studies papers, this shows a Bb7b5 chord using dyads with 1/2 approach. Notation provided.]

* Blues Licks for George V., 1985, October. [This is a very short group of single-note solo lines in A blues. Originally, we thought this had some connection with George Van Eps, but it became clear that this was intended for one of Ted’s students named George, last name starting with the letter V. We decided to include it with this month’s lessons just the same.]

* Power-Bass Triads – Working Backwards, 1989-10-03. [This page has been placed under the “Bass Enhanced Triads” header.]

* “IF”, 1979-04-27. [This is the chords for the David Gates/Bread hit from 1971. This comping page was written up during a private lesson, and Ted indicated that it is to be played with “new” fingerpicking style. This lesson can very easily be converted to a solo guitar arrangement by slightly modifying a few chords and by adding the melody. I’m sure Ted would want you to notice the descending lines in the chord progression. Notation plus lead sheet with lyrics combined with Ted’s grids provided.]

* Essential Chords - Standard Inversions, 1973-11-16. [This is an early hand-out lesson Ted wrote for his students for learning what he determined “essential chords,” although there are many of which are for a somewhat advanced level player. This is organized by inversions: first group is with the root in the bass, then 3rd in the bass, then 5th, then b7th. In the beginning of this 2-page lesson Ted included many variations with extensions and altered tones, but toward the end he merely defined the basic chord tones and showed all the optional notes that could be added. As part of this lesson Ted asked the students to write in the chord names, but we’ve gone ahead and added them. Two original pages + three pages of newly drawn grids for easy reading. In Chord Chemistry Ted has a chapter called “Essential Chord” – but this is a different lesson.]
* String Transference: Systematic Inversion Staple Chords, 1988-09-03. [In this lesson, Ted provides a series of chords built on the bottom 4 strings, and the assignment for the student is to transfer those exact same voicing to the top 4 strings using the “string transference” method. An extra page with the answers are provided – ignore if you want to do the work yourself.]

* Melodic Fragments for Beginning Bebop Single-Line Study, 1980-1981. [Three pages of grid diagrams showing positions for lines to be played over F major, Gm7, and C7 types.]

* George Van Eps 7 String Voicings, 1980-12-16. [For a while Ted was experimenting with George’s 7-string tuning on a regular 6-string guitar, omitting the top string. This page, from his Personal Music Studies papers, shows his work of cataloging Gb major type chords with root in the bass. Newly drawn grids for easy reading.]
* Developing Inner Harmonization Hearing – Targeting the Root, 1987-07-04. [In this lesson Ted uses various chord progressions and melodies, all ending with the melody landing on the root note of the major scale. He wrote at the bottom of this page, “In case you haven’t noticed, one of the hidden purposes of this page (and this whole series) is to help you in recognizing each of the 7 diatonic chords (and their extensions) in a major key. If you’re persistent, just as with people, their unique beauties will remain in your mind.” Ted’s two original pages, plus four reformatted pages of notation combined with Ted’s grids.]

* Chord Evolution - G7 and Dm7 Types in V-2, 1983-12-12. [V-2 chords on the top 4 strings, showing the evolution from G and Dm triads to dominant 7 and m7 chords with extensions. This has been added to the V-2 section under the “Progressions and Other Stuff” header.]
* V-1 & V-2 Dom.7th Type Chords-Root on Top, V7 Function, 1985-02-015. [Ted’s exploration into V-1 & V-2 Dominants with a wide variety of extensions and altered tones. An Extra page is provided with an attempt to name some of these wild creatures. This has been added to the V-System / Combined Groups section.]

* Georgia (from Live at the Seashell Restaurant) transcribed by Dylan Hoey [notation & Tab].
* When Sunny Gets Blue (from Live at the Seashell Restaurant) transcribed by Dylan Hoey [notation & Tab].
* Willow Weep for Me (from Live at the Seashell Restaurant) transcribed by Dylan Hoey [notation & Tab]. Special thanks to Damien McGowran for commissioning and funding these three transcriptions. Ted played these pieces together as a medley that appears on the YouTube video of “Ted Greene at the Seashell” - Part 6: Ted Greene at the Seashell 6. It should be noted that Ted’s guitar is tuned down 1/2 step on the recording.
* Someone to Watch Over Me (from An Afternoon with Ted) transcribed by Damien McGowran [notation & Tab], also a Guitar Pro file.

Ted on YouTube

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The Official Ted Greene Forums

* Of course, most of the videos are posted right here in our Video Section

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- - - - - - - - - - - - - - My Life with The Chord Chemist - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

My Life with The Chord Chemist
A Memoir of Ted Greene, Apotheosis of Solo Guitar
By Barbara Franklin

BUY NOW - Available at

Publication Date: Nov 24 2009
Page Count: 276
Trim Size: 8" x 10"

A retrospective of Ted Greene, virtuoso solo guitarist, beloved music teacher, world-renowned author and innovator of unique music concepts for guitar. This book also includes an overview of Ted Greene's early life and musical development, plus an insightful narrative of the 13 years prior to his death

Six agonizing months after losing my beloved Ted, I slowly emerged from a state of profound disbelief, almost coma-like. At that time I didn’t know what to do with the remnants of my life; then a path began to unfold before me. This website was started and became a saving grace.

During the ensuing years, I organized and categorized Ted’s material and personal studies. Upon completion of that massive undertaking, once again, I didn’t know what to do, so I began writing.

I wrote pages, and then threw them away, until once again a path began to unfold. What I wrote is mostly a personal memoir. I suppose it was what I had to write first.

From the preface:

“The decision to reveal parts of our personal life was something I deliberated over for a long time. Because our lives became so inextricably bound, I included what I felt necessary, but not without a considerable amount of apprehension. This book illustrates the many parallels between Ted the musician and Ted the person. I felt it was important to convey how Ted was driven compulsively not just to pursue music, but so many other things he loved.”

With this in mind, here is our story. It IS very personal and I still have apprehensions about publishing it. My hope is that it brings you closer to Ted, as you begin to get to know and understand this unique and extraordinary man and musician.


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