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Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #1 
Hi all,

I want to start by saying thank you to all the people answering (and asking) on this forum. Some of the most thoughtful answers I’ve read and this is an incredibly useful resource in honor of Ted. My question is simple and comes from a couple of Ted’s books, but chord chemistry pg14, among others, where he refers to the 11th semitone in A as A7. I thought people were picky in calling that Amaj7. Does anyone have insight into Ted’s preference?


Posts: 337
Reply with quote  #2 
When Ted wrote Chord Chemistry, he used the convention of a horizontally slashed 7 to indicate maj7.  Later, he abandoned that and used the triangle in front of the 7 to indicate maj7.

The horizontally slashed 7 is invariably confusing.  Some people and some countries always slash their sevens.  They use it to mean dominant seventh chords.  Others reserve the slash for major seventh chords.  They use unslashed sevens for dominant chords.  The latter is what Ted did in Chord Chemistry.

Whenever you see a slashed 7 in a chord, you have to wonder, "Is that just the way this person writes their sevens or do they mean major 7?"  Ted left that confusion behind when he switched to triangle 7.

In Chord Chemistry, the same thing applies to 9 and 13 chords.  When they have slashes through them Ted is indicating that they have a major 7th not a b7.

Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #3 
Oh whoops, you’re right, he explained his symbology on page 6 and I forgot by the time I got in the weeds of an A chord, haha. I always slash my 7s whenever I write one for any purpose so mentally blocked noticing its context, just as you described. Thanks a bunch!

Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #4 
Jazz is a music where these types of things are not perfectly standardized. So, some composers use a slash, some use the Delta sign (triangle) some use "maj". There is really no "perfect way" and this and other aspects of jazz composing are still open to the interpretation or inspiration creativity and such of each composer. 

Well, my 2 cents is... because I often type with a standard PC keyboard when telling folks about chords and such, there is no delta sign (the triangle) on a PC keyboard. I suppose you could go through the trouble of finding the symbol in Microsoft Word, then do a copy paste to places where you want to use it, but then not every document type likes Word's formatting options.

So, to make it undeniable, I always use "maj" when talking about chords that need to include the major 7th. Such as Cmaj7, Cmaj9, Cmaj11, and so on.

When I studied with Ted (1987-1989) he gave me a hand-printed sheet called "Chord Construction (Formulas) and Symbols". I will share that hand-written scanned to PDF document here. 

As you may know, there are billions of chords (inversions and shapes according to George Van Eps) but only 3 chord categories.
- major
- minor
- dominant seventh

FYI, George Van Eps stated, in his book "Harmonic Mechanisms, Volume 1" that mathematically, with four fretting fingers, 22 frets and 6 strings there are an available 344 BILLION chord combinations (2 or more notes in harmony) on the neck of an electric guitar. And if one man took one second to play all of them that it would take 11,000 years to complete. So, no man has ever or will ever totally master the guitar. It is not humanly possible. What we do (as Ted told me many times) was to take a "basket" of favorite chords and inversions and do everything we do with jazz. Some may need only a small basket, some folk's basket is considerably larger. 

I teach a style of "chord shapes" and the concept of learning the notes on the neck, and learning where the root tone is in a chord. Then, as a matter of geometrical shapes your fingers memorize, once you learn one chord shape, by knowing the root of the chord (or sometimes some chords don't have a root in them, but you might know what the chord name is anyway). Once you learn one chord shape, the root and the names of the notes on the neck... there are 12 chromatic possible "roots" so with one geometrically fretted chord shaped you now know 12 chords. For example, an "F" major barre chord at the first fret. Once you learn the geometrical shape your fingers are making, where the root note is in the chord, then know the names of the notes all over the neck, then move the chord up to 12 times, you now have 12 barre chords instead of just one. F major, F#/Gb major, G major, and so on. This works the same no matter what type of chord you are wanting to use... maj7, dom7, m7b5... anything. Memorize what your fingers do to make the chord, know where in the chord is the root, know the notes on the neck. Then one geometrical chord shape becomes 12 differently name chords. Only the root of the chord changes... Gm7b5, G#m7b5/Abm7b5, Am7b5 and so on. Learning what string and finger is holding the root tone, if you know the notes on the neck, you can use that same named geometrical shape all over the neck of the guitar in many keys.

With a sheet of 16 chord shapes you can strum just about any song in the Real Book, 5th Edition (for the most part). I'll share this sheet at a later time.


What I would like to share right now is... Ted's hand written sheet from one of my lessons he entitled "Chord Construction (Formulas) and Symbols"... I'm sure others have already uploaded this somewhere on the tribute page, but I have something extra to add.

I used Microsoft Excel and typed out all of the exact same information so it is super legible. Then I printed that set of spreadsheets to an Adobe Acrobat PDF. Then I combined Ted's hand-written sheet (as page 1) to my hand-typed and very legible spreadsheet pages.  The original sheet from Ted is hand-written (page 1) and remarkably it has no errors even though he was evidently using an ink pen to write with. Or may be he used a pencil, but it looks like ink... Also, Ted liked to write in cursive hand writing instead of printing, so by typing out everything to some it might appear to be slightly more legible, even though Ted had really good skills with cursive hand writing. 

The PDF I am attaching has Ted's original hand-written sheet (and highlighting just for my lesson, LOL) (page 1) then page 2 is Major, page 3 is Minor and page 4 is Dominant 7th as far as including the 3 chord categories, Major, Minor and Dominant 7th. I promise this was meticulously transcribed exactly word for word and has every word or note or comment as does his hand-written sheet. 

According to Ted this one sheet covers every known chord combination. He was pretty thorough in his thought process, but there may be some oddballs you might run into on extremely rare occasions. 


Jam Handy
(real name is >> Jame Hendee, Ted student, 1987-1989)

ps This is the first time I have shared any of my Ted stuff with the forum.

Attached Files
pdf Chord Construction (Formulas) and Symbols - Ted Greene (4 pages).pdf (418.00 KB, 7 views)


Posts: 1,773
Reply with quote  #5 
Hi Jame,
Thanks for sharing your write up of Ted's lesson page.  It's nice to see your page that was "personalize by Ted" and your write-up.
It's never a bad thing to have multiple versions available. 

We have posted Ted's "Chord Construction (Formulas) and Symbols" page in our "Fundamentals" section. 
It also has very legible and accurate translation pages combined on the PDF.
Here is a link for all interested students:

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