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  1. #1

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    I know some of you more experienced pros and educators on here have had to deal with Ted Green's masterful, but challenging as hell, chord books. If you haven't used Chord Chemistry yourself, you almost certainly know about the book anyway. Some of you guys have probably mastered the darned material. Anyway, it seems like an excellent way to move into a more advanced level with my chord knowledge, comping and so on. The trouble is that it is, probably typical of Ted Green, somewhat intimidating. He has a section already near the beginning where he lists the Essential Chords, an abbreviated version of the master chord chart in the middle or something like that. He says this should just be memorized. Now, my situation is basically that I know the basic inversions (or can find them fairly well with some thought and so on) of the major7, minor7, Dom7 and min7b5 on the top strings (4-3-2-1), the middle (5,4,3,2) and the usual 6,4,3,2. I can add the extensions and alterations sometime to the chord, but it usually takes time to figure out.

    Anyway, what do you think at this stage? Should I just go into the Ted Greene voicings and actually try to memorize them all? Does anyone actually do this? Or should I just keep practicing and learning chords in my own sort of fiddling around way?

    At any rate, let me put the question a little bit differently, should I panic at the fact that I don't even recognize many of the chords on the Essential list, should I tackle the thing a bit at a time or what?
    Last edited by franco6719; 03-26-2009 at 02:30 PM.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    First off, I would ask why you think you need more chords. Do you have enough to play the way you want? If so, then why would you NEED to learn all those new shapes? Just because Ted said they were "essential"? Keep in mind, Ted was one of those rare individuals who knew more about the fretboard, chords, etc, than most of us could cover in 2 lifetimes.

    If you think you do need more chord choices, then Ted's approach is great, but very comprehensive, and therefore intimidating. Like learning any new shape, I play it around the key circle, and create chord scales out of it, meaning I derive the other versions of it and play them all together as a scale in every key, around the circle. So say you pick a Cmaj9 voice, I would then come up with the dom, minor and see about how close I could get to the half diminished version.

    With every new chord, you really get 4 this way. After being able to do the above, I force these new shapes into every tune I can so they become part of the arsenal. So for me, it is one shape, or sets of shapes at a time. Otherwise, Ted's stuff just paralyzes you from the sheer volume of it. Good luck

  4. #3

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    well, i think of ted's books as "reference books," not "method books." i go back every now and then, find an idea or two, and then put them to use for a few weeks before i might even crack the book open again. i let the idea become part of my vocabulary.

    i don't see too much use in memorizing hundreds of chord shapes. some are bound to leak out of your memory, if they're just memorizations. the key is to really know how to build chords--to know what scale degrees comprise certain chords, and to use ted's charts as a resource for finding and making your own. there's not as much instant gratification to this, but knowing where the 7th is in any major seventh voicing means you know how to change it into a dominant. knowing where the third is can help you make that dominant a minor seventh. things will start to make sense in bunches then.

  5. #4

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    hey, cool simultaneous post crossover, derek.

  6. #5

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    yea mr beaumont...I do the same thing but I have the modern chords and progressions....deep stuff...

    time spent on this book is well worth it...pierre

  7. #6

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    I took some lessons from Ted prior to attending G.I.T. He was, without a doubt, the most thorough guitar teacher I have ever met. He always answered every question I asked and was truly a great teacher and player. All of his lessons with me were handwritten and each lesson was enough work to keep me going for at least a month. I also have a copy of Chord Chemistry and value it as Mr. beaumont does as a reference for refreshing my chord technique and ability. In my opinion, he took a lot of George Van Eps material and greatly extended the concepts in a practical musical sense.

    wiz
    Last edited by wizard3739; 03-26-2009 at 10:59 PM.

  8. #7

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    [/quote] Anyway, what do you think at this stage? Should I just go into the Ted Greene voicings and actually try to memorize them all? Does anyone actually do this? Or should I just keep practicing and learning chords in my own sort of fiddling around way?

    At any rate, let me put the question a little bit differently, should I panic at the fact that I don't even recognize many of the chords on the Essential list, should I tackle the thing a bit at a time or what?[/quote]


    To answer this question, yes, people actually memorize all these chords as well as many more. Plus in 12 keys to boot.

    However, what your lacking is a system. There is an easier way to learn them ( I swear one day I will write a book on chords) and that's by breaking it down into 4 note sets based on different permutations of the 6 strings.

    It's a combination of some of what Pat Martino does in his book where he takes diminished chords and work hem back to major 7th. Plus some of the ideas from the CAGED method plus knowing about how the fretboard works.

    But as with most worthwhile things, it takes time and patience.

  9. #8

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    Hey John400, I think your chord book sounds like a very good thing! You obviously have the knowledge and experience needed to be able to write that book. I think you should go for it!

    wiz

  10. #9
    With every new chord, you really get 4 this way. After being able to do the above, I force these new shapes into every tune I can so they become part of the arsenal. So for me, it is one shape, or sets of shapes at a time. Otherwise, Ted's stuff just paralyzes you from the sheer volume of it. Good luck[/quote]

    This is an important point. I don't just want to learn a bunch of chords (that would be just a question of rote memorization and practicing 3 or 4 of them 3 hours a day or something). What I really want to accomplish, obviously, is to expand the arsenal of applicable chords that I can see immediately and apply. I already know many more chord voicings than I am actually using when I play or practice. I think your general approach is the right one at this stage for me then. I have to force myself to use just one or two new voicings at a time in my actual playing and improvising practice.

    Anyway, these are all helpful and insightful answers. I think I will follow this latter approach and try to have more patience with getting those chords into practical use.

    As with everything else, too much to learn and too little time.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    well, i think of ted's books as "reference books," not "method books." i go back every now and then, find an idea or two, and then put them to use for a few weeks before i might even crack the book open again. i let the idea become part of my vocabulary.

    i don't see too much use in memorizing hundreds of chord shapes. some are bound to leak out of your memory, if they're just memorizations. the key is to really know how to build chords--to know what scale degrees comprise certain chords, and to use ted's charts as a resource for finding and making your own. there's not as much instant gratification to this, but knowing where the 7th is in any major seventh voicing means you know how to change it into a dominant. knowing where the third is can help you make that dominant a minor seventh. things will start to make sense in bunches then.
    Now, that's what I do when I sit down and practice and think about chords. Then, when I go to actually play a tune, it's back to four of five mostly root voicings for fear of horrible errors. You can usually play around with a "bad" note, but if you hit the wrong chord while noodling around you are REALLY sounding bad.

  12. #11

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    Another good way to memorize them is to do 2-5-1's. Start closest to the nut and work your way up. Do them in all 12 keys. This way they become more useful since most all the standard tunes have this pattern somewhere in them. Any usefull pateern would be good like 1-6-2-5-1 or 1-4-7-3-6-2-5-1 If you want ot get them all

  13. #12
    CC323 Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by franco6719
    Now, that's what I do when I sit down and practice and think about chords. Then, when I go to actually play a tune, it's back to four of five mostly root voicings for fear of horrible errors. You can usually play around with a "bad" note, but if you hit the wrong chord while noodling around you are REALLY sounding bad.
    Hey man, no offense intended whatsoever, but (IMO) living in fear of making a mistake is what leads to crappy 'white guy' music (me being white of course ). I can definitely understand not trying to bust out some of TG's A13b9b5 6 string chords on a dominant blues in the middle of a studio session or a gig if you haven't used it before, but when you're practicing, I think you should make as many mistakes as necessary to learn. Regardless, learning all these chords is what makes guitar THAT much more awesome of a chordal instrument than piano (no offense pianists, but with 3 and 1/4 octave range limitation, guitar can do a HECK of a lot). Of course that's really biased and meant more as a joke, but personally, with experience on both (albeit less on piano), I find guitar voicings much more of a theory/finger/mind game than the world of black and white key combinations. Yay! for horizontal chordal mechanics (although they make sightreading much harder).

    Wow, that was really off topic. My apologies.

    To the OP:

    All of the Ted Greene books are awesome, but there are some approaches that he suggests that I have to disagree with. In one of his books, he says to practice as long as you can if you want to and to not give your mind a rest, because 'really dedicated people will WANT to keep going', and in the same book he says that some pains and aches are normal for people learning those things; He doesn't make the distinction that fingertip/pad aches are fine, but wrist and tendon issues should be checked out and are very serious. The guy was a genius though, his books on single note soloing are really excellent as well.

    Take care,
    Chris

  14. #13
    "but when you're practicing, I think you should make as many mistakes as necessary to learn."

    Fair point.

  15. #14
    regardless, learning all these chords is what makes guitar THAT much more awesome of a chordal instrument than piano (no offense pianists, but with 3 and 1/4 octave range limitation, guitar can do a HECK of a lot).

    On a somewhat related note, I remember reading an article many years ago where Andres Segovia called the piano "that monstrous instrument" with no feeling (or something to that effect). (0.

  16. #15
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    Probably had to do with the 'no vibrato, near impossible timbral variation, artificial sustain' thing. :P I actually really like the piano, but guitar is more 'vocal' IMO, and it can pull of the 4-6 voices simultaneously thing really well. The Ted Greene/Bach Chorale stuff is really great sounding to me because it just really fits. And I love Ted's vibrato during chords. Insanely musical.

    Take care,
    Chris

  17. #16
    No, I love listening to the piano greats as well: Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Lennie Tristano, Oscar Peterson, Monk, McCoy, Herbie, Bill Evans Keith Jarret, etc.. I probably listen to more pianists than guitarists actually. I just thought the quote was funny and, as you pointed out, there is some element of truth behind it.

    I saw a video of Ted playing chord stuff for the first time a few months ago. I saw him literally shaking the guitar to get vibrato on the chords. I thought this was some sort of quirk. I started unconsciously imitating this behavior for some reason. Then I realized that he was actually doing that on purpose and that it really brings out the chords with vibrato.

  18. #17

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    John - Let's please see a little of your idea for a chord book?? I hate all the ones I have, even Jodie Fisher. No good scope or sequence in my opinion.

    Sailor

  19. #18

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    Sailor,

    It will take me a bit to do since I have a daytme job (and a very patient wife)


    But I have an outline so thats a start. I'll keep you posted.

  20. #19

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    Anything you've got JOHN. Always look forward to your stuff. Having fun with "fat" Gymnopedie right now.

    I've tried to do my own chord chart/book but got too bogged down. I've never seen a chord chart I REALLY liked!!!!!

    Sailor

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by franco6719
    With every new chord, you really get 4 this way. After being able to do the above, I force these new shapes into every tune I can so they become part of the arsenal. So for me, it is one shape, or sets of shapes at a time. Otherwise, Ted's stuff just paralyzes you from the sheer volume of it. Good luck
    This is an important point. I don't just want to learn a bunch of chords (that would be just a question of rote memorization and practicing 3 or 4 of them 3 hours a day or something). What I really want to accomplish, obviously, is to expand the arsenal of applicable chords that I can see immediately and apply. I already know many more chord voicings than I am actually using when I play or practice. I think your general approach is the right one at this stage for me then. I have to force myself to use just one or two new voicings at a time in my actual playing and improvising practice.

    Anyway, these are all helpful and insightful answers. I think I will follow this latter approach and try to have more patience with getting those chords into practical use.

    As with everything else, too much to learn and too little time.[/QUOTE]
    just a suggestion. i try to use whatever voicing etc that best fits at the time. sometimes that will highlight the melody, sometimes not. etc etc. i think the best way to work up chords you know you might not be using in your regular playing is to write them into your chord melodies. there is a place for every chord. i often find that chords melodies provide a great space for the more unique voicings. hope this can help a bit, just a suggestion - jmc

  22. #21

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    I got both books by Ted and I'm also a member of his forum, which I highly recommend since his former students are sharing tons of material.

    What Ted has always advocated is to put chords in the context of a tune, without a tune there's no point. In my own experience I found out that working on my own arrangements helped a great deal learning new shapes. Ted is always talking about chord qualities, each type of chord triggers a "mood" or an emotional reaction. That's why it's good to have many kind of flavors in our toolbox.

    Now have a look at Joe Pass, he knows the basic chords and inversions and he plays the shit outta them !

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by earsoup
    I got both books by Ted and I'm also a member of his forum, which I highly recommend since his former students are sharing tons of material.

    What Ted has always advocated is to put chords in the context of a tune, without a tune there's no point. In my own experience I found out that working on my own arrangements helped a great deal learning new shapes. Ted is always talking about chord qualities, each type of chord triggers a "mood" or an emotional reaction. That's why it's good to have many kind of flavors in our toolbox.

    Now have a look at Joe Pass, he knows the basic chords and inversions and he plays the shit outta them !
    earsoup? What a great handle!

  24. #23

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    I also have the Ted Green books...I used to practice some of the progressions to not memorize them, but to try and extract from them the thought behind what he was doing.

    Another excellent book, which is much easier for anyone to grasp, is the Joe Pass guitar chord book (I don't know if it is still in print?). It gives you a ton of voicings that are all pretty standard and is easier to digest when you first get into it.

    But, as others have already stated...there are no shortcuts for putting in the time in the practice room. If you are interested in playing professionally you have to put in the time, because in the scheme of things there aren't that many guitar jobs out there. The more you know....., but as Wes said, "know one knows it all." We sometimes have to make choices on how we utilize precious practice time.

    Butch

  25. #24

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    Hey Butch! Nice to see you posting again. Welcome back!

    wiz

  26. #25

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    one way to learn your chords is to learn guide tone lines. You can find any type of standard and learn the guide tone lines in them. As i know and everybody else does guide tones are your thirds and seventh of every chord type and they are the important notes to learn. Root notes and 5ths aint important. For example pick any blues standard and learn the guide tone lines and you will see what the pattern is. So pick a few standards and learn the lines that work with them. I always use the 3rd and 4th strings of the guitar to create guide tone lines. Its just a smart way in playing and using chord tones and T.Greene did use this also. Even horn instruments use guide tone lines.