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November 2017 • Newsletter


November Greetings from all of us here on the Team! And Happy Thanksgiving to those in America who celebrate this beautiful holiday.

Last month we shared an excerpt from the interview with Ted from Barbara Franklin’s book, My Life with the Chord Chemist, and this month we’d like to continue where we left off and go to the end of that interview. Here Ted talks about being exposed to and falling madly in love with music at an early age. I think that may be at least one main key for being a great musician: having a love/passion for certain sounds and the feelings they arouse, and the desire to create and share that with others. If you enjoy this interview, then you’ll probably enjoy reading the rest of the book…that is, if you don’t already have a copy. Barb was very proud of this book and she would undoubtedly be pleased that we’re sharing some excerpts here.

For the new lesson materials this month, we hope you can find something that will inspire you and help to improve your playing. A couple of the pages are ones that people requested we post several months ago. Unfortunately, many of Ted’s lesson pages are very involved and contain a lot of information all compacted onto a single page. Preparing them often takes many hours to notate and write up so they’re easier for everyone to read, understand, and absorb. A few of the lessons this month are single pages that, when notated, expanded to 7, 9, or 11 pages. So, we beg your patience in our sometimes slow response to getting some of this stuff posted. We want the best presentation possible…and that often takes time.

Also, we want to once again encourage anyone of you who transcribe, to contribute to our Transcription section. There’s plenty of recorded pieces that need to be notated, not necessarily from Ted’s Solo Guitar album, but mainly from the many other audio and video recordings that are posted on our site and on YouTube. These transcriptions are a wonderful resource to those who want to tap into Ted’s incomparable playing style. So keep ‘em comin’! This month Francois Leduc has shared with us two transcriptions: a revised version of “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” (from Solo Guitar), and a new transcription of “Girl with the Flaxen Hair” (from the Joey Backenstoe’s Wedding video) or on YouTube. Both files have standard notation, TAB, and grid diagrams. Thank you, Francois!

Okay, now on to the interview:

AA: Exposure to great music is such a gift to young people. As I’ve heard you say, “Sad that so many miss out. Lucky that so many don’t.”

TG: I’ll say—on both counts. Of course, fortunately, it’s close to never-too-late on this front. Whether one hears Bach’s “E Major Violin Concerto” at age 1 or 81, it still has a beautiful effect on most people. Debussy’s “Afternoon of a Faun”... forget it—ridiculous ecstasy for just about anybody—a baby doing their first day on the planet or an elderly person in their last, at age 184—whoa. This is some piece of music.

AA: And if somebody was exposed to this music or any widely loved music and responded unfavorably, what do you make of that? Also, earlier you mentioned Scotty Moore and I was wondering about other guitar players you were exposed to when you were younger, and your reactions, please?

TG: Oh, it’s fairly involved stuff as to your first point, that is, what all could be going on here. Having to do with images inside that the music conjures up for anyone. Music triggers stuff. Images of people they admire, others they don’t, people who’ve treated them well and those who haven’t, old memories, dreams of tomorrows, hopes and fears, praise and ridicule, triumph and shame, and most especially, how any of this makes them feel—feel about themselves—all churning around inside often because of music they are hearing. Also, it might shock you—or maybe not—how often it relates back to how and what and where and when and why the situation was what it was when they first heard anything even moderately similar, and how that made them feel. Again, about themselves, others, life itself. Man, don’t think two ways about it, this is powerful stuff. But, at least half the time, just forget all this junk—there’s the not uncommon possibility that if they hear something and don’t like it, they simply just don’t like it! You know, birth taste and all, everybody born with their own taste. But again, exposure counts. Many of us like things, even love things now that we didn’t really like when we first heard them. Same with people, places, foods, you name it. Familiarity doesn’t always breed contempt (tho’ too much for my taste).

I was in my teens when I was first exposed to most of the guitar players who would affect me the most. So as to your second point, the first time I heard Albert King, I basically drove off the road. I could think of little else for days. How was I going to get that tone and those phrases I had heard him do? Who was this guy? Back then, in early 1966, I had to go deep into the bowels of the black section of L. A. to get that record. It was called “Laundromat Blues” and it meant the world to me. The other side, “Overall Junction,” a shuffle groove for the ages, and talk about a band...! So that was my first exposure to Albert King. When I saw him live at the old Ash Grove club, his backup band ‘warmed up’ the room for...ever it seemed. The crowd was going crazy, virtually none of them had ever seen him before, and then suddenly there he was, coming down the aisle from the back of the club with his guitar strapped on, ready to go. And he jumped up on that stage, with the band wailing and hit just 2 notes, his signature riff. And that crowd exploded with such a roaring approval, which in itself was such a wonderful sound, all of us just screaming and shouting. An ecstasy feast, that’s what it was, that’s what music can be when it connects to our emotions and more. Just think, there was no sound on earth that virtually every person in that room would have rather heard at that moment than that soulful, preachin’, moanin’ guitar of Albert King. He played and sang so well for so many years...made so many people happy or occasionally, left them dumfounded as his thumb sounded those particular note groupings which were only his

AA: You really do love this man still. I had no idea you were so involved in the whole blues revival of the `60’s.

TG: What can I tell you, I was madly in love with this music many years ago and the residual effect has never really gone away, even when I think it has.

I simply couldn’t believe a person could play that much guitar when I first heard Chet Atkins in 1962. By the time I heard the rest of the album, I was speechless and just sat around thinking for a long time. How could he have made all those sounds? How had he learned all this great music that had poured out, song after song? How could I ever learn to hear and understand all that was going on at once on so many of the cuts? Why didn’t my guitar get any of those great tones I had just heard him get? Why did every song sound like it was in a different style? How would I ever be able to go to school the next day and concentrate? This man and Les Paul probably rang more musical bells for more people than any other guitar players in history. Other than that, nothing much. Well actually wait, yes, Les did invent multitrack overdubbing and did a lot in the pioneering of successful solidbody guitar design, but these don’t count for much I’m sure. Ooh.

You know, the truth is, I could go on literally for weeks about so many guitar players. But, it’s probably time to cool it.

AA: This talk reveals one thing for sure Ted: you could be accused of loving music. Just a little.

TG: We’re born to love music it appears—I mean, certainly some of us well as at the least, a few people along the way, not to mention a few other creatures, things, places—you name it. Leave it to a slightly ‘out there’ musician to put it in this order...just kidding (maybe not).

~ The Team


* Happy Days Are Here Again, 1991-04-15. [Another arrangement of this song, this time in the key of Db. Like Ted’s other arrangement, this is not the up-tempo version of this tune, but a much slower one, similar to how Barbara Streisand sings it. Notation provided combined with Ted’s grid diagrams.]
* With a Little Help from My Friends (key of E), 1992-06-09. [This arrangement is similar to Ted’s other version of this song in the key of A, however this one doesn’t include the Bridge section. You might try to combine the two arrangements, using some kind of interlude or modulation device to connect them. Notation with lyrics included.]

Lead Sheets:
* But Not for Me, 1977-05-04. [Lead sheet with Ted’s outline for an arrangement.]
* Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart, 1977-06-26. [Lead sheet with Ted’s outline for an arrangement.]

* Diatonic Chord Progressions, Short Phrases to Illustrate, 1975-03-16. [49 examples of various diatonic progressions, all in the key of C, of the I chord to either I or ii. Figured bass is part of the description for each example. Excellent for voice-leading study. New notation with added chord names and suggested chord grids. Eleven pages total.]

* Modern Poly-Triad Ideas, 1984-03-06. [Here we have another page for Ted’s book on “Bass-Enhanced Triads.” This lesson is a collection of 39 different ideas Ted collected., some with instructions to continue a pattern down in whole steps, or minor thirds, etc. This page was written initially for himself, not as a hand-out lesson sheet. We’ve notated his examples, given them new grid drawings, and added chord names. Nine pages total.]
* Using Add 9th Chords in I-bVI-IV-II-V, 1977-07-17. [This is an excellent page of add9 chords that can be strung together in pleasing sequences.]

* Harmonic Minor and Melodic Minor Scales, 1974-12-03. [In this lesson Ted provides 8 different fingerings (positions) for the harmonic minor and melodic minor scales, and shows their corresponding diatonic chords scales for each position. He also lists how the natural, harmonic, and melodic minor scales are used as “applied to Baroque minor vocabulary.” Re-drawn diagrams for easy reading and reference (7 pages total).]

* Expanded Diatonicism – Progression Using Only R 3 5 9, 1987-08-31. [Four examples in the keys of Bb, A, and C using major add9 chords (or as Ted wrote them: /9). Ted explains the purpose of this page is for 1) the color of it all, 2) exposure…, and 3) to demystify this seemingly complex sound. An extra copy is included that has translations and added chord names.]

* Elements of Chord Progressions, 1977-02-14. [This is a very simple page of some of Ted’s thoughts concerning good chord progressions. Typed page included.]

* V-2 Dominant 7b9#5 Chords – Fill-in Quiz, 1984. [This is a 3-page quiz in which Ted provided the name of the chord, along with either the “visual root” or “visual anchor” or fret number. Your job is to fill in the dots to create the chord, using only the top 4 strings. We’ve gone ahead and added the “answers” with blue dots on a separate page – ignore these if you want to do the work yourself.]
* V-2 Altered Dominants, from 3 and b7 – Fill-in Quiz, 1985-05-22. [This 2-page quiz has a variety of altered chords which are to be built on the top 4 strings, with the 3rd on the 4th string, and the b7 on the 3rd string. We’ve filled in the dots with blue on a separate page for reference.]
* V-2 Altered Dominants, from b7 and 3 – Fill-in Quiz, 1985-05-21 & 22. [Like the lesson above, this 2-page quiz is for altered chords, this time constructed with the b7 on the 4th string, and the 3 on the 3rd string. Again, we added the blue dots for you.]

* They Can’t Take That Away from Me (from Solo Guitar) Transcribed by Francois Leduc, Notation + TAB+ Grids. [This is an upgraded version Francois provided for us which has several corrections from previous versions.]
* Girl with the Flaxen Hair (from Joey Backenstoe’s Wedding) Transcribed by Francois Leduc, Notation + TAB+ Grids.

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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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