Chord Chemistry by Ted Greene (Need advice)

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by superjam144, May 20, 2020.

  1. superjam144

    superjam144 Tele-Holic

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    Anyone use Ted Greene's books? I am trying to work through "Chord Chemistry" and "Modern/Classical Voicings".

    How do you use these books? It seems like "Chord Chemistry" is essentially a chord encyclopedia.

    Any advice or tips on using these books to learn would be much appreciated. I understand that many guitar players swear by the knowledge therein.

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  2. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I would foray into that tome just to hear all the voicings.
    I used it like a chord dictionary.
    Usually playing the different inversions would lead to my using the chords on my gigs.
    Perhap’s @klasaine will weigh in.
     
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  3. SnidelyWhiplash

    SnidelyWhiplash Friend of Leo's

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    I have an original copy of CC. More info than one can digest in a lifetime. Almost too pregnant with information. I have heard that some people that have both books have gotten more mileage out of the latter. :cool:
     
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  4. superjam144

    superjam144 Tele-Holic

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    I guess I will have to explore them some more... Seems the best part about the books is helping give the user chordal ideas such as inversions and addons.

    My book library keeps me from getting into too much of a boredom rut. Perhaps it helps me stay creative. I have a couple jazz/classical books that I work through, although I must admit sometimes I hate the music, the ideas that come out of those books can be rewarding.

    Greene's books have given me some ideas in the past, but I can be EASILY burned out from them, and frustrated as well.

    I am trying to be more fluid up and down the neck, similar to Eric Johnson's playing.
     
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  5. koolaide

    koolaide Tele-Holic

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    I have seen CC, and I have a very similar chord voicing book. I finally decided to forego the book, and learn how chords are built. 1,3,5,b7 ect, and work on voicings from there along with YT and other player, learning things like the Hendrix chord. YMMV
     
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  6. stephent2

    stephent2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Like many guitarist of my age I bought that book and spent very little time with it. Recently a friend suggested Ted's only recording to me. What was remarkable to me was for a guy who knew ALL the chords (Ted), his recording is very melodic and straight forward, not an "outside" chord or note on the whole album. I'd recommend it, it's a beautiful album. You can find it on Amazon.

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    if you read the books carefully and closely Ted drops more than just a few hints on how to proceed. and what he's getting at e.g read the first paragraph of section 7. in chord chemistry Stop where he says (This should take months) and then maybe read the six sections in front of that and then proceed to read it all about 10 more times and start doing the things he suggests. Study some jazz harmony too, like those books by Bert Ligon or something.

    One thing is for sure, if you don't see familiar patterns in for instance the Essential chords which he shows only the A versions of, He explains about transposing them and moving them up and down a string too, you should probably, study them harder, if you look at all the a majors, you will notice the caged system is mapped right out. The thing about the Major and Minor Patterns are the dark notes will always be "a c# e" or "a c e" or whatever, the optional notes will be repeated notes. I wouldn't be surprised if careful examination would prove those to be all of the practical unique 3 note major chord combinations on the neck etc. And then of course you can transpose them or whatever. If you carefully go through the earlier sections you will notice that they are very terse, very concise descriptions of huge amounts of information, that take a long time to integrate into your playing and really understand all of the implications of.

    If you are trying to cop eric johnson licks out of chord chemistry... well, that might be tough. Though you can bet that probably every form that EJ plays on the neck is in CC in some form or the other.

    If you don't have at a least basic grasp on music theory and what the notes on the neck are and what the intervals on the neck are, it will be a little like trying to do algebra and not knowing how to multiply, though I think if you read all the sections you will get Ted's very terse, very dense explanations so..

    Learning the neck dead on in real time, which is really what this book is about, it's not about memorizing a million patterns (in spite of how it seems to be presented) It's about learning the formulas of the chords and being able to see them all over the neck in real time and applying the information to real chord progressions, it's not trivial. I certainly don't have it cold...

    A good teacher is worth every penny he/she will cost you if you're serious.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2020
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  8. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Holic

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    I had single note soloing for about all of my guitar playing life. Still haven't gotten through it. Not sure what I was thinking ordering cc, but I did. 4 months ago . Haven't made it through a page yet.

    It's a bit much. I think I'll play the long game. Try to undertake and hopefully understand one chapter per year.
     
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  9. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    From what I've seen, it looks like Ted thinks like an arranger. That is, he pays strict attention to the movement of the inner voices of chords as they morph from one into another. That is why his chord shapes seem weird to most of us. He doesn't think in terms of common shapes, but in terms of how one chord will morph economically into another chord.
     
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  10. televillian

    televillian Tele-Afflicted

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    20 + years ago i bought a copy of CC at a yard sale for a quarter. when i got home and looked at some of the diagrams i started to wonder how many fingers does this guy have? gave the book to a young player i knew
     
  11. rickthescot

    rickthescot Tele-Holic

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    I owned that one and the chord progressions book by Ted. Like reading about differential equations, projectile motion, binary equations and fluid dynamics all at the same time. I think you have to be smarter than me to get through it. Love Ted's videos though.
     
  12. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I took many lessons with TG over many years.

    Neither book is meant to be done "in order" or within a set time period. Those two tomes together are a couple of lifetimes worth of study.

    The gold in 'CC' are the chapters that pre and proceed the chord lexicon. Especially the chapters that proceed. Read the text and play the examples. If you're looking for a place to start, go to 'Blues progressions', chapter #18.

    With 'MCP', the idea is to find a couple of the progressions you really like and plug them into some songs you already know. You may have to transpose. That's what Ted would have wanted you to do.
    The I vi ii V and iii vi ii V progs in chapter 7 can easily be placed into 100s of jazz tunes.
    Proceeding that, in chapter 8 is a section on the circle (or cycle) of 4ths. Ted was really into forward motion by the interval of a 4th.

    Application is the key concept here. These books are made up of Ted's personal teaching material and in reality should be studied with either him which is now impossible or one of his proteges. Take one concept, be it a cool voicing or a 'set' of chords, and use it wherever and whenever you can. Get it into your musical DNA. Be patient.

    Here's a bunch of YT vids that I did that might help. I focus on some of the simpler things that Ted did that are hidden away in the books or buried in the TG website (tedgreene.com) ... https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXZhDGBauvWQ3nsNR_IJhs0CFx_KSlEER

    *Tim Lerch has the best tutorials on the subject and he has grok'd the TG style better than any other player that I've heard ... https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=tim+lerch+ted+greene
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2020
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  13. Rowdyman

    Rowdyman Tele-Meister

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    Yes,, the Blues chapter is great and accessible!!

    Keep it up & Good Luck!! RM
     
  14. ucnick

    ucnick Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Not to diss them, but I have the CC books and for the life of me I could not get that much out of them, I tried for over a year, guess I'm too dumb. The progressions just did not stick.

    OTOH, the Mickey Baker books, recommended by Robben Ford to us at his summer 2018 camp, seem a bit more straightforward and digestible to me. I actually use some of the progressions from them. I think he uses a total of 32 chords in the book, all shown on the chords page, plus or minus a few...
     
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  15. teletail

    teletail Tele-Holic

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    I had a teacher that said, "It's not about how many chords you know, it's about knowing how to use them." I'm the last one to discourage learning, but unless you use the chords you learn, I'm not sure that there is a whole lot of value to just knowing a bunch of chords.

    I started learning chords when I started using them. I picked out a handful of jazz standards and started learning the chords, which lead me to learning the inversions and how to put them all together.
     
  16. Rowdyman

    Rowdyman Tele-Meister

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    Mickey Baker ,, the first book, with the yellow/black cover!!!!

    cheers, RM
     
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  17. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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    I wish I had mine. I probably purchased my copy 40+ years ago. It was more than I could comprehend but I learned some voicings and chords that I would not have otherwise learned back then.
     
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  18. willie

    willie TDPRI Member

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    I used to teach from Ted Greene's Chord Chemistry, and I eventually came to the conclusion that Ted was not of this world....truly an alien intelligence. Incredible knowledge, skill and intellect..RIP.

    w
     
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  19. thebowl

    thebowl Tele-Meister

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    I bought it and put it aside until recently. Section 5 contains what for me was a minor revelation. I am working my way through section 7, not trying to memorize every form, but focusing on a form or two that I didn’t have before that I will actually use. Like the

    7l——X———
    l—————--
    l X——X——
    l—————-

    for A. So basic, but for me new. I think it is like eating an elephant.
     
  20. dhodgeh

    dhodgeh TDPRI Member

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    At one time, there was a free e-book on the Ted Greene site, Trail Guide to Chord Chemistry that mapped out how to use CC. It broke down the objectives of each chapter, then provided several learning paths based experience and objectives, for an order of what chapters to follow to reach whatever goal.

    It's no longer available on the site, but there is an announcement that an updated version is forthcoming on the Six String Logic site. Nothing yet though. Reaching out at Six String Logic might yield a copy.

    It's not a magic bullet that miraculously unlocks the secrets of CC, but it does give you a clue on how to use CC. You still gotta put in the time and reps to really get the knowledge contained in CC

    D
     
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