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Fall 2023 Newsletter


Autumn Greetings to all Ted Greene fans and friends!

We’re pleased in this newsletter to feature the following article from one of Ted’s students, Tsuyoshi Ichikawa. I’d like to encourage you all to watch and listen to some of his YouTube videos, especially his “’Round Midnight” arrangement that was inspired by lessons with Ted’s. Tsuyoshi has contributed several lesson materials for this newsletter, and we look forward to more from him in the future.

Studying With
Ted Greene
By Tsuyoshi Ichikawa

How I First Met Ted

In 1990 I took a single guitar lesson at a very small music school in Los Angeles where they accepted overseas students. During this lesson the guitar instructor checked out my knowledge of music theory, my ability to improvise over chord changes, my skills at sight-reading, etc. I had been working as a full-time guitar player for 8 years in Japan before coming to America, so already I had a degree of aptitude and competency on the instrument. After hearing me he said “I have nothing to teach you.” This is not meant to say that I was at an “advanced” level, but just that most of the other students at this school were either children or beginners, and that this teacher was not able to give me the level instruction that I craved.

The teacher asked me what style of music I wanted to study, I answered “solo guitar.” Right away he said that Ted Greene would be the perfect teacher for me. At that time I didn’t know who Ted Greene was. I had never heard his album or seen any of his books. After the first lesson, the principal of the school called Ted, and he accepted me as his student.

I went to Ted’s El Dorado apartment in Encino to take the first lesson. Everything he showed me was mind-blowing. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! I immediately synchronized my thinking and playing into Ted’s way of playing. I took one-hour lessons each week. Every lesson was shocking and informative. After 6 months I had to return to Japan, so unfortunately those glorious lessons had to come to an end.

After returning to Japan, I again started gigging and teaching as a full-time guitarist in Osaka. But the feeling that I really wanted to study more with Ted again and for longer sessions, continued to grow. Eventually I decided to move back to LA to continue studying with him.

In-Depth Studying

In February of 1995 I resumed my lessons with Ted, but this time I took 2-hour lessons each week, sometimes twice a week. I wanted to take as many lessons as possible during my stay in Los Angeles, because I didn’t know how long I would be able to remain in the US.

I recorded every lesson on cassette tapes, and then tried to transcribe what I learned by the next lesson. As Ted’s students know it’s very hard to transcribe everything! Every lesson started with my question of how he played something from the last lesson.

I always brought to each lesson something that I wanted to study. Ted would always let me play my arrangement or my ideas first. He would listen carefully, then give me his thoughts and show me all sorts of other options or things that could be done. Ted explained everything based on the theory, almost never saying, “I don’t know why I play this; it’s just because it sounds good.” No. He always knew the whys and was able to explain it so clearly. Luckily, I was the type of player who always thought about theory first when playing. This is the result of having a guitar teacher who stressed the importance of music theory to me early on when I first started learning back in Japan.

Memorable Words

Back then I just played the songs in the keys in which people usually play them. For example, “All the Things You Are” in Ab, or “Girl from Ipanema” in F. I had given up on transposing to other keys. But I really wanted to be able to play like Ted. Ted told me, “Tsuyoshi, if you want to be a shredder or heavy metal guitarist you don’t need to study how to transpose, but for the style you are pursuing this topic is vital.” When I asked him how a person could memorize so many chords, songs, etc., and he told me, “Stay home a lot; give up going out!”

Previously I used to think about the degree of each chord while playing, but after I learned Ted’s “Road Map” method it became so much easier for me to transpose into other keys. When Ted and I were talking about this he said, “Earlier today I was thinking about the chord changes of “Stella by Starlight” in the key of B when sitting on the toilet”! One time when I was tuning up right before the lesson started, Ted said, “‘Have You Met Miss Jones’ key of D” and then he counted off the tempo. I managed to recite the chord changes, but it was very hard. Another time during a lesson we were working on a solo guitar arrangement of “All the Things You Are” and he changed keys. He said that staying in one key is boring – but to me it felt very chaotic! Ted always told me that I should think about each note degree-wise. He asked me “What is b6th note of Ab?” I replied, “It’s E or Fb” — taking 3 seconds to answer. He said, “Quicker!” I should’ve been able to answer right away!

A Kind and Gentle Person

Ted was a very warm-hearted person. Sometimes, because of my poor English, I couldn’t understand what he was explaining about his playing or the theory behind it. When I said, “I’m sorry.” Ted said, “No, it’s me who has to say sorry. I need to find an easier way to describe these things for my students to clearly understand.” Then he would try other ways to explain until I finally got it.

If my memory is correct Ted charged only $18.00 for a one-hour lesson, while many other guitar teachers at that time were charging $50.00 an hour. One day Ted said in an apologetic way, “I have to raise the lesson fee. Very sorry.” I said “Of course! You can raise it to $100.00.” Several days before this I was speaking with John Pisano at the “Papashon” restaurant in Pasadena, and he agreed that Ted’s lessons were easily worth $100.00 an hour. Nevertheless, Ted raised his fee to just $20.00! If during our lessons he would get a phone call that lasted a long time, he would insist on giving me a discount for that lesson. Ted once said, “I just barely get by and can only save a little bit of money, enough to buy more guitars.” I suggested that maybe if he taught more, he could save more money, but he replied, “No, I want to practice!”

Some Guitar Techniques I Learned from Ted

I learned some unique left-hand guitar techniques from Ted:

  1. Using the flattened ring finger
  2. Using the flattened middle finger
  3. Using the side of the first joint of index finger (The George Van Eps “Fifth finger technique”)
  4. Single-finger double-stops: Pressing 2 strings on the same fret with the tip of the middle finger

These are difficult to play, but when you get used to using them, they are very helpful for grabbing difficult chords.

Ted talked about his guitars set-up during a lesson.

  • The neck should be as straight as possible; no relief.
  • The strings are as low as possible, without buzzing.
  • The nut cut as low as possible.
  • The action should be set as low as possible, but without any buzzing.

Playing Out

I once asked Ted why he didn’t play solo guitar in front of people as a live performance. He said, “I’m not ready for it.” I thought, “Well, if Ted says this then nobody can ever play in front of people!” Ted wasn’t satisfied with playing a perfectly executed performance if the arrangement was entirely prepared. He wanted his arrangements to be spontaneous, with key changes, interludes, groove changes, adding his Baroque improvisations, weaving in and out of pop, blues, Gospel, jazz, Americana, etc. There is no one who could play guitar like Ted. He was a true master of harmony.

Ted completely changed my musical life. I will treasure the time I had with him forever. I learned so many things from Ted: songs, walking chords, intros, endings, interludes, modulation, artificial harmonics, Baroque improv., etc. Ever since then I’ve been studying, practicing, and researching everything that I learned from him — one life time is not enough to assimilate everything! Ted Greene was the consummate teacher, player, and friend.

Thank you SO MUCH Ted.

~Tsuyoshi Ichikawa

Tsuyoshi at Ted’s apartment for a lesson.

* * * * *

We’d like to give special thanks all those who helped with this newsletter and the new lesson write-ups:

  • Tsuyoshi Ichikawa for his article on Ted, the ‘Round Midnight arrangement, three From Students pages, and a transcription.
  • Mark Levy for his work on Ted’s “Modern Dominants Organized by Outer Voices” page.
  • Mike Deluca, our ace musical proofreader.
  • Marcus Tardelli for his transcriptions.
  • James Hober for V-System input and proofreading.
  • Nick Stasinos for his extra set of eyes on the ‘Round Midnight arrangement.
  • And the site’s backbone: Leon, Jeffrey, and Paul.

As a final word for this newsletter message, we’d like to invite anyone who might interested in joining our “TG Team” in helping us with the writing up of Ted’s lesson pages, to please contact us either through the Forums or our Contact page. We are a volunteer-run website, and the contributions that come in are used for the technical upkeep of the site. So, if you are willing to pitch in, it would be as a volunteer like the rest of us here – a labor of love. You can help as little or as much as you like. The “job” would require a very modest amount of graphics skills in order to notate and add Ted-style chord diagrams, and of course a fair degree of musical understanding and of the guitar. We’d be happy to work with you so you can help us serve Ted’s worldwide family.

Hope you find some helpful musical instruction and inspiration in this month’s offerings.

~ Your Friends on the Team


* ‘Round Midnight, 1995. [This is Ted’s arrangement as taught to Tsuyoshi Ichikawa. Most of this was not written down by Ted, and so it was conveyed to us from Tsuyoshi through his notes. We generated a score with music notation and Ted-style grids. This is a difficult piece to play, and Ted would undoubtedly encourage you to find simpler solutions to chords that are too challenging for you. The score uses one measure per line so that everything is clear and not squished too tightly and small, and we apologize for the fact that this spacing created a 10-page document, but ultimately this score is meant for study and memorizing. I would suggest that you to listen to Tsuyoshi’s arrangement of this song on YouTube, for he takes much of what Ted taught him, and then expands and elaborates it. It’s quite beautiful. Enjoy.]

* Baroque Counterpoint (1-to-1), 1982-04-27, 1981-10-18, 1980-02-24, 1982-10-12. [This small collection of counterpoint exercises focuses mostly on 1-to-1 (melody to bass lines). We added new notation, but didn’t suggest any grids or fingering, as Ted wanted them to be played in various positions on the fingerboard. The first page deals with E(7)(b9) to A minor. Page 2 is in various keys and more involved. Page 3 shows how to add counterpoint parts to a simple melody, inspired by the writings of Canadian music educator, Gordon Delamont.]

* Baroque Harmonizations - Miscellaneous, 1974-06-28, 1983-07-15. [This is a group of four separate studies that Ted grouped together, some of which are almost chorale-like in nature, while others are more modern. We provided new notation with added chord names (in blue font), but did not add suggested grids or fingerings, as they may be played in a variety of positions, and it would be better for you to work out your own fingerings.]

* Counterpoint Exercises: Adding a Part to Common Bass Lines, 1979-05-18, 1980-11-30. [Ted subtitled this page, “Another Angle: Connecting Intervals in the Baroque.” All the examples are B or B7 to Em, with variations of 1-to-1 or 2-to-1 melodies. Ted included a note to himself: “Show some examples also in 3-to-1, 4-to-1, 6-to-1, and 8-to-1.” New notation provided.]

* Soprano Harmonization in the Baroque, 1982-05-07. [This page contains two lessons from Ted. The first one deals with “Melody: Root to 2.” All the examples are in Am with the melody A to B (Root to 2nd), harmonized with various textures and notes. The second lesson is Ted’s “Plan for Baroque Soprano Harmonizations,” and includes notes to himself and some grid diagrams. New notation and grids added for easy reading.]

* Embellishing Modern Chords via Moving Lines or Triads, 1979-04-19. [This is a collection of 16 examples of melodic lines (or moving triads) that create modern-sounding chords. Most of these examples involve a (B7) dominant type chord sound without resolution. In Ted’s first example he resolved to Emaj7, which might be a good idea to do to the other examples as well. You’ll want to use different voicings on that final chord, employing good voice-leading. New notation with suggested Ted-style grid diagrams included.]

* Modern Dominants Organized by Outer Voices, 1986-01-25. [This lesson centers around the concept of inner voice movement and its impact on the sound of modern dominant chords. All the chords featured in the lesson have the b7 as the bass and the 3rd as the highest note. The focus is primarily on four-note chords, with the exception of the final example that includes five notes. Explore these 14 examples to practically apply inner voice manipulation, resulting in the creation of unique tonal qualities within modern dominant chords.]

* Moving Lines with Pedals, 1978. [This group of exercises could well have been titled, “Contrary Motion Lines with Pedals” since that what all the examples involve. Ted used standard music notation for these, but did not include grid diagrams to show how or where to play. We’ve re-notated the music and added “suggested” grids. Keep in mind that Ted commented to “Do on all string sets,” yet in order to sustain the bass note, only one fingering option is usually practical. Do your best to sustain the pedal note while the other notes move, but the main priority or focus is on the moving contrary lines. Some chord names were provided by Ted, others we provided, but again, the names are not as important as the movements. Good luck!]

* C Major Arpeggio Runs, 1981-07-03. [Thirteen studies in four basic patterns of arpeggio runs, all for the 8th position (with a stretch to the 12th fret on 1st string. Notation with TAB provided.]

* New Diatonic Melodic Pattern Practice Program, 1985-07-17. [Thirty-eight patterns to be employed to various keys, positions, scales. Ted wrote: “Add decoration, especially 16th note triplets” to make more musical and interesting for practice. New notation provided.]

* Turnarounds (Single-Line), 1979-08-10. [Twelve examples of solo lines for turnaround and other situations. Ted encouraged, “Do in all positions.” New notation given for easy reading.]

* Using Chromatic Tones, Triads, and ?, 1981-02-14. [Five examples in the key of Eb, for ii-V or just ii chord runs, using some non-diatonic chromatic notes. New notation given.]

* Whole-Tone Scale: Melodic Patterns, 1980-03-29. [This is another one of Ted’s mathematically and systematically derived pages in which he tried to outline many usable possibilities for whole-tone solo lines. Taken out of context these may not sound very musical. But in the context of a progression that uses a whole-tone sound (usually an augmented chord) resolving to something more consonant, these patterns can be very sonically pleasing. You’ll need to provide the resolution. Ted added the comment: “Harmonize and also do over or under pedals.” New notation for easy reading.]

* All Possible V-1 Voicings – Major and Dominant List, 1985-01-22, 1986-09-27, 28. [Ted went extreme on these pages, mapping out all the 15 regular V-1 major chord types, plus the hundreds of permutations for 4-note voicings of dominant chords with the V-1 formula (including altered tones). No doubt a computer could do this with ease today, but Ted did it all by hand back in 1985 and ’86. This gives us a glimpse into his thinking process. Obviously, the chord stacks are to be read/voiced from top down — soprano to bass. The shaded areas indicate conflicts Ted saw with combining the 3rd, 4th, and #9 together. For reference. Newly typed text for easy reading.]

* All V-1 Voicings Organized by the Intervals, 1992-11-22, 23. [Using the interval numbering system (see below), Ted organized 133 V-1 chords, starting from the lowest numbers on up. He excluded any chords with 3 adjacent chromatic 1/2 steps, and limited this page to chords on the middle four strings. The red circled numbers do not correspond to the V-System 43 chord types, but just a way to count all the voicings in this collection. Newly drawn grids for easy reading and reference.]

* V-1 by Intervals, 1992-11-24. [On this page Ted mapped out all the possible voicings for the V-System 43 chord types of V-1 chords, using an interval numbering system that counts the 1/2 steps between notes. New typed text provided to clearly show the system and thinking behind it.

James Hober offers the following insights:

“Ted lists the three intervals that make up each V-1 chord in terms of how many half steps are in the intervals: bass to tenor, tenor to alto, alto to soprano. And these three numbers relate to the 4 numbers that begin each entry in “The 43 Four-Note Qualities” chapter in the V-Systems section of the site. For example, let’s say Ted has a V-1 chord with intervals 2-3-4. Well, that relates to the m7 chord type in the 43 Four-Note Qualities table because the entry for that chord (#32 in the table) shows 2-3-4-3 for the interval content. The fourth interval that the table shows can be understood as between the soprano and an octave above the bass. Other V-1 inversions of the m7 type would have 3-4-3, 4-3-2, and 3-2-3 for their interval content, three of the four numbers in the table entry, proceeding left to right. So, Ted is using V-1 chords and their three intervals as yet another way into the 43 four-note types.]

* V-1 Middle Strings: The 35+8 Systematic Inversions, 1992-11-27, 28. [Ted wrote in grid form, all 172 V-1 chords. This is the 43 chord types with all inversions. He named each chord and included the interval numbering system of counting 1/2 steps between notes in the chord. Newly drawn grids for easy reference. Please note that many of these “stretchy chords” may be unplayable, even if using your right-hand to catch some of the extreme notes. Ted wanted to be very thorough by including all the chords using his systematic inversions method, playable or not.]

* Georgia/Willow Weep for Me/When Sunny Gets Blue Ted Greene Seashell - Transcribed by Marcus Tardelli. [From Ted’s Seashell Restaurant video (part 6) on YouTube, this beautiful medley is transcribed with notation, basic grids, and Tab.]

* Magnificent Medley – Transcribed by Marcus Tardelli. [This medley includes: “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and “(Our) Love is Here to Stay.” The video can be found on YouTube, and is an excerpt from Ted’s performance at Joey Backenstoe’s wedding. Transcribed in standard music notation plus Tab.]

* Over the Rainbow – Intro, Ted Greene-John Pisano version. [This is Ted’s transcription of his intro to “Over the Rainbow.” Engraved by Tsuyoshi Ichikawa with standard notation and Tab, he wrote the following: “During a lesson with Ted, I asked him how he played the intro to “Over the Rainbow” from John Pisano’s CD, “Among Friends.” Ted couldn't remember what he had played, so he transcribed his playing from this CD for me.”]

In the “Contributions from Tsuyoshi Ichikawa” subfolder:

* Bluesy Variations for Intros, Endings, and Turnarounds from Ted Greene. [Seven examples from lessons with Ted. Engraved in notation and Tab, these are great to use for different situations when you want to add a little bluesy fill. Very characteristic Ted stuff.]

* Ted Greene’s Unique Left Hand Fingering. [Some tips for playing difficult chords that require special finger bending, flattening, and double-stops. From Tsuyoshi Ichikawa’s notes from lessons with Ted.]

* Variations of iii7-VI7-ii7-V7. [Eight beautiful examples in the key of C for iii7-VI7-ii7-V7 progressions in typical Ted style. Notation and Tab provided. From Tsuyoshi Ichikawa’s notes from lessons with Ted.]

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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