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Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #1 
Hi all,
While browsing through the lessons in different sections I gathered a few questions. I hope some Ted's students  can help me find the answers (maybe someone asked Ted these questions):
  1. In Comping section there are pages which deal with only low strings, middle stings or high strings. What is the purpose of this? Are these comping pages designed as 'lessons', so they are not supposed to be used in gig 'as is'? I read in V-System pages that Ted realized the power of restrictions, and that's why he designed the V-System with lots of restrictions. Is this principle applied here? I mean he restricts himself to only one set of strings just for educational purposes.
  2. Again, in Ted's comping pages he uses chords mostly plainly on strong beats on without any rhythmic patterns. I don't think this is the right way to do comping and he wasn't doing it this way, I'm sure. So am I supposed to add rhythmic patterns (delay & anticipation) myself? 
  3. There is a page that deals with "Cumulative Major Scales". I don't seem to understand the term "cumulative". In one of the page Ted describes it as "one string at a time", but in the other page he gives examples of cumulative major scales and moves on different strings. So what does it really mean?
I am sure I will have more questions while studying Ted's materials.

Posts: 88
Reply with quote  #2 

It's true that all these chord pages look like a catalog, whose purpose I understand, but it would require explanations to know how to use these pages and explanations on the learning to follow.

See you soon. [wave]

Nothing but music.

Posts: 1,773
Reply with quote  #3 
Hi Jetaman,
Nice to hear that you're digging into Ted's lesson pages.  There's several lifetimes worth of material to work on, and one has to be selective if he wants to remain a little bit sane in the study process. [crazy]

I believe that Ted developed exercises or studies that focused on certain string sets for several reasons.  Mostly I think they were meant to be vehicles for learning new chords and seeing how chords can be connected up and down the guitar neck, as opposed to across the neck.   They help one to build a wider arsenal of chords to play wherever one wants - top, middle, or bottom strings.  After gaining a lot of experience with the examples he gives, then one can choose according to need of a given situation.  

Often Ted would take one comping study and write it out on the top strings, then write it out again with the exact same voicings but on the middle strings. Learning these variations helps the student to see how different chord forms can be modified slightly when moved onto different string sets. He called this system "String Transference."  This was a fundamental point he taught all students.  (See the "Fundamentals" section for 5 lesson pages from Ted, and also check out the "From Students" section for Bob Holt for his explanation).  Moving chord the same chord (or group of chord progressions) around on the neck also forces one to learn the notes all over the neck. 
Another factor for the different string sets is the tone differences.  Compare the tone of a triad voiced on the top 3 string and the same notes on the bottom 3 string up high on the neck.  For Ted this was an important aspect to be considered.  Also, by playing these chord forms on different sets, one gets exposed to forms that might be unusual or unfamiliar...and challenging for the fingers.  Ted was all about breaking old fingering habits, expanding the boundaries, and exhausting the possibilities.  These were meant as teaching vehicles, but if one is so inclined he could certainly play these at a gig. It's just that the purpose of all of this is to bring you to the point where you have much more freedom that just memorizing a collection of chord moves. 

As far as the "cumulative" question, here is what was written in the July 2018 Newsletter:

July 2018 • Newsletter

Summer Greetings!

This month we have 12 new lesson pages for the Fundamentals section. Most of these pages come from a couple of folders in Ted’s teachings file cabinets that he listed as “Cumulative Teaching Program.” What the heck is that?

Cumulative: Merriam-Webster defines this as, “Increasing by successive additions; made up of accumulated parts; and formed by the addition of new material of the same kind.” This is a term Ted used several times (mostly during the 1980’s) for describing how to approach either learning or teaching new concepts. The idea is to expose the student with a small bite-size chunk of information first. Once that is learned, he would then add another small chuck to the first. Then another after those two were grasped, and so on. Thus, the pieces were absorbed accumulatively. The brain seems to better understand, absorb, and retain information gathered this way.

Sometimes Ted presented the cumulative method by introducing a basic chord form, then made slight modifications to it, one note at a time, thus resulting in a large collection of different chords all based off the original starter chord form. You can see this at work in some of the lessons presented this month, particularly the “Cumulative Chords - 5th String Root, Middle Strings, 4-Noters” page.

Since most of these “cumulative” lesson sheets deal with basic building blocks for chords, we have put them in our Fundamentals section. On some pages the cumulative process is not always clear. Perhaps it was Ted’s job as the teacher to explain what was going on in each lesson. Since we don’t have Ted to do this, you’ll be required to think deeply and analyze each lesson: play thru the examples, try to see what’s going on, and use some intuition to unlock the ideas. The concepts will come to you.

On some of Ted’s cumulative chord pages he has a symbol in the upper left corner with at number, a dot, and interval and an arrow or arrows. For example: 5R→ shows that the 5th string is the bass note and is the Root of the chord. If the arrow is pointing downward, that indicates that the chord forms are built on the frets above the bass note (towards the guitar bridge). If the arrow is pointing upward, then this shows that chords are built on the frets lower on the neck (towards the guitar nut). If the arrow is straight, then the chords are built straight across from the root. I believe these symbols were mainly meant for Ted himself, not the students, so you can ignore them if you wish….but it will give some idea about the organization of the lesson page. All of Teds’ little symbols and notes have a reason behind them.

This all may be an oversimplification of what Ted meant by the cumulative process, but at least it serves as a starter for you understand what these pages are all about. Next month we’ll be presenting another batch of similar cumulative pages. Please keep in mind that although most of these lessons are placed in the Fundamentals section, they’re not all just for beginners only. Even the veteran player may find something useful, or see new ways of looking at the guitar fingerboard, etc. So, give these pages a quick review – you may be surprised.

* * * * * 

I hope this explanation sheds more light that causes more confusion.
Good luck!!!!


Posts: 337
Reply with quote  #4 
As far as "restrictions" go, that's something that perhaps I emphasized in my V-System explanation that Ted may not have.  The V-System is about four note chords without doubling.  This is really just because the number of guitar chords is so enormous that it's helpful to break it down into smaller subsets.  One subset is just four note chords.  And Ted probably would have even included four note chords with doubling in an expanded V-System.  But I had enough to do just explaining the regular V-System, which is just about four note chords without doubling.

Ted used lots of three note, five note, six note chords, too.

Same principle is at work with the comping pages.  You can comp across all kinds of string sets.  But it's helpful to limit it so that you're less overwhelmed by the enormity.  And Ted also has plenty of sheets with "crossovers,"  where you're moving across the neck instead of up and down one string set.

As far as rhythm goes, again many of us find it helpful to start simple and then get more complicated.  You can begin with playing chords on the beat, focusing on the chord forms and not the rhythm.  Then you can add as much groove, syncopation, anticipation, etc. that you like to get a feel going.  The possible rhythmic variations are endless, so he couldn't put them all down on a sheet.  He went into rhythmic feels directly with students in individual lessons.  There are some audio recordings of lessons where Ted is playing and describing various rhythmic feels and styles.

Basically, humans learn by going from simple to complex.  I bet you have learned that way, too.  So  criticizing Ted for introducing things in a way that can be simple at first, but that are open ended so that you can make them as complex and as you like, isn't really fair.  Look on his sheets as launching points.  You can begin simply enough to get a handle on it and you can take them as far as you want.
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