Book Reviews From

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

Book Reviews From


What an insightful book!,
December 13, 2009 By A. Brown

As an avid fan of Ted Greene’s music and teachings for many years, this book is a dream come true. This book is not only a revealing insight into Mr. Greene’s personal philosophies and musical passions, but a detailed account of the day to day life of a genius. Ms. Franklin’s intimate, revealing memoir is a fitting testament to one of the greatest guitarists of all time, and is recommended to music and art lovers everywhere!


Wonderful book about a wonderful man,
December 13, 2009 By J. Stocks “jazzstocks”

I never had the opportunity to study with the legendary guitarist/author Ted Greene but have become very familiar his wonderful lesson material over the last several years. It is impossible to not listen to his solo guitar recording, talk to his friends and students, or see any of his beautiful harmony studies and not want to know more about him and how he was able to reach an extremely rare level of singular virtuosity on the instrument. This book, written by Ted’s soul-mate, lovingly tells the story of the man behind the chords. It is an honest portrait and offers amazing insight into how Ted lived his life and how he approached the instruments. It is beautifully and lovingly written and the presentation is stunning — with Ted’s own hand-written musical notes popping up every few pages. A student of music would be extremely well served to invest in this book, read it, and absorb it, and allow it to influence your own pursuit. A must read for any musician unable to abide mediocrity!


Great behind the scenes look at our modern day Sor [or perhaps Carcassi],
December 13, 2009 By Greg Clayton

This very interesting memoir gives us a glimpse of the private life of Ted Greene, the man who detailed so much study material for guitar that has thankfully been made available to the guitar community due to the considerable efforts of his longtime companion Barbara Franklin and several close friends and students.

We learn how Ted would literally “devour” information on topics that interested him [both musical and non musical] and through this we can get an idea of how he worked to learn,digest,and organize his teaching materials to try to pass on what he learned to others. The above probably goes tenfold for what it took to get his solo guitar playing to such an awesome level.
A very instructive read for music artists and for anyone interested in the “artistic life”


Fascinating insight into a wonderful individual.,
December 26, 2009 By Tris Fitzmaurice (York, England)

Having enjoyed studying from Ted Greene’s music publications over the years, I was eager to read about the man behind the books.

‘My Life with The Chord Chemist’ is a real-life look into the world of a man who had a warm heart, incredible concentration and an obsessive nature when something sustained his interest. From music studies to guitars, baseball cards, VCR’s, and coins etc. Ted left no stone unturned in his own personal quest for knowledge. Written with first-hand insight by his long-term partner Barbara Franklin, it beautifully answered many questions that I have pondered answers to – What was Ted like as a person? Where and how did he live and what might it be like to see and hear him play? What hours did he keep in order to accomplish all he achieved? Etc.

Although obviously a Ted Greene fan, I think this book could appeal to anyone who enjoys reading about human achievement and philanthropy – this and more supplied with a good chuckle or few along the way!


An Engaging Book About The Life Of Ted Greene,
December 30, 2009 By J. Mark Fewell, P.G. (Dallas, TX)

Until I read Barbara Franklin’s book about her life with Ted Greene, I only knew him through his one solo recording, four books on guitar instruction and numerous You Tube clips. Wow, what a fascinating read! Barbara was the perfect soulmate for Ted and she communicates to the reader a very engaging story about Ted’s journey through life and material obsessions. I have never read anything about an artist who was so obsessed with his craft. In addition to the story about Ted and Barbara’s life together, there is plenty of technical detail about Ted’s music, including lists of his guitars, topical music studies and references. Throughout the book, she mentions various lessons and performances that were recorded in audio and video format. Hopefully, these recordings will be released commercially by someone someday.


required, January 4, 2010
By Scott A. Jakubiec “skotrock”

If you have ever played a chord on the guitar this book is required reading. Ted was the musician’s musician. Anyone who has read his 4 guitar methods has felt the awe of how so much information could be found, much less shared, by one man. This book will help give insight into the life of this great man. It is about guitar, but at the same time, a much needed glimpse into the world of this brilliant man. I wish I had met him, and I am so glad that barbara has shared such a honest and loving account of her time with him. I had the most difficult time putting this down. Thank you Barbara.


Heartfelt & Rich, January 6, 2010
By Hans Arp (Maine USA)

I encourage anyone who has had the very good fortune to become acquainted with Ted Greene’s singular work and playing to treat themselves to a deeper appreciation of Ted as a person and dedicated student of music and read Barbara Franklin’s insightful and loving account of the years she spent with the man.

I am certain that I will return to this book again and again
and the first time through was a delight. A very human story –
full of honest and tender memories.

I can’t recommend it highly enough…
10 stars!


Required Reading, January 13, 2010
By Mark F. Bird (Dana Point, CA United States)

I studied with Ted for quite some time off and on starting at age 18 and had the opportunity to play in improvised sessions with him dozens of times. This was during the late 60’s early 70’s when you could often hear him play at the Attica, a music dinner type restaurant in lower Santa Monica, as well as other venues. I remember that he was working on his solo album as well as exploring studio recording opportunities. The most impressive thing to me was that despite how proficient and advanced he was, if a beginner/intermediate guitarist showed up for a session he would encourage them and let them sit in, while providing guidance along the way. This was not so of many musicians I encountered during my professional musician days. He was just that generous.

It was therefore not a surprise to hear that he had settled into a career as mostly a teacher while still, fortunately, for us, continuing to perform here and there. Although it has been said many times before ALL of Ted’s books are required for any guitarist. No matter how accomplished you might be there is something in those texts for everyone. And despite his reputation as primarily a jazz chord player he could play single note solos as well or better than any player I have ever heard no matter how famous they might be. Therefore, the single note playing books are just as valuable as the chord books. It is just a shame that he did not have time to put together a rock/folk type instructional book because he knew those styles, techniques, and solos (Hendrix, Clapton etc.) as well as his beloved Bach Chorales and jazz.

In short, you should buy this book for the insights and appreciation it will provide to this exceptional, talented, and beautifully generous individual.

Mark Bird


Brilliant, insightful book., February 17, 2010
By Mr. S. P. Bridgland (Ashford, Kent, UK)

Like many people, I know of Ted Greene through his books and through the incredible resources at While studying his teaching materials, listening to lesson tapes, and watching performance videos I found myself more and more in awe and curious about the man behind it all. Reading this book gave me great insight into Ted’s life and work, and I was left with even more respect for him than before. It is also a heartfelt, beautifully written book that is a joy to read. This inspiring book is an essential addition to any musicians library.


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