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jerome

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Posts: 49
Reply with quote  #1 

Several years ago in Vintage Guitar magazine someone (possibly Jim Hilmar) did a mini-interview with Ted and did a tune by tune breakdown of Ted's tuning on each song. I have been trying without success to find my copy since the album was reissued on CD. It would be good to post that information. Perhaps VG would let you use it on the website for educational purposes. Meanwhile, I'll keep searching.

DanSawyer

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Posts: 289
Reply with quote  #2 
Now that you mention it, I do remember that article in Vintage Guitar magazine. I asked Ted about it at the time. He said, "Oh, you mean the article by the cop?" We laughed and then he then went on to say that Jim Hilmar was a law officer who just happened to love guitar. I must say that Jim Hilmar wrote an excellent column in VG. He introduced us to many great guitar recordings. I believe he is also a local disc jockey who has a radio show featuring guitarists.

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Dan Sawyer, friend of Ted's.
DanSawyer

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Posts: 289
Reply with quote  #3 
All of that and i forgot the topic! I used to know the answer to the question, but someone like Joey Backenstow or Bob Holt would know the answer. In general though, Ted used to mainly tune in Eb, D or C#. As i recall, he prefered Eb (half a step down) and C# (minor 3rd down) the most in those days. This was usually on one of his Teles.

In more recent years, Ted had pretty much reverted back to standard tuning, although he never stopped experimenting with tunings. In fact he had some guitars in which he kept tuned UP rather than down. In particular some of the small Guild hollowbodies such as Aristocrat, M-65 and T-100.

One of the first things Ted did when playing a guitar for the first time was, figuring out in which register it sounded the best. So, he would play progressions all over the neck, noting things like, "triads on the middle strings sound really fat around the 9th fret" or "listen to the harpsichord-type tone above the 12th fret". While doing this, he would also try all the various pickup combinations. It was an almost scientific way of evaluating tone. My point is,  doing all these tests that he did, Ted would often realize that a guitar would sound better in a different pitch. This was early in his career. Ted would almost always perform at standard pitch during the last 15 years. He felt there was still much more music to discover in the standard tuning. Of course, music is an endless discovery.


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Dan Sawyer, friend of Ted's.
Hal9000

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Posts: 23
Reply with quote  #4 

Ted showed me one where he dropped the high e string (rather than the low e string) down to d.  Works nice for some things.  He used to tell me about what he called his "Bill Evan's Tuning" however one thing led to another and I never got that one.  Anyone know about the Bill Evans tuning? 

jerome

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Posts: 49
Reply with quote  #5 

Hello folks, I was unable to locate my old copy of Vintage Guitar with the Spotlight article. However, Jim Hilmar was kind enough to eMail me the info.

 "Summertime/Ain't Necessarily So", "They Can't Take That Away From Me","Send In The Clowns","Watch What Happens" and "A Certain Smile" were tuned Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb (1/2 step down).

 "Old Man River" and Just Friends" were tuned Db Gb B E Ab Db (1 1/2 steps down).

Danny Boy was tuned Db Ab Db Gb Bb Eb (Drop D 1/2 step down).

In the article, Ted said he played "They Can't Take That Away From Me' in D then modulated to F (which would sound Db to E).  

I hope everyone finds this useful. Info on the guitars will be posted in the gear forum.

NickStasinos

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Posts: 323
Reply with quote  #6 

Leon,

 

I have a copy of the '96 Vintage Guitar (pages 178-179) for you.  I don't know how I over-looked that since I use a copy as the cover to my transcription notebook.  Let me know what format you want it in (pdf, bmp, etc.).

 

Nick

 


Jerome,

 

Thanks for taking the time to post the tunings for each of the songs on Solo Guitar.  I am looking at my copy of the Vintage Guitar article and I don't see 1 1/2 steps down for "Old Man River" and "Just Friends"?  The article qoutes Ted has having it down 1 whole step (uses a degree mark after the 1) for each of these songs.  Just a simple adjustment!

 

Nick

 


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Specializing in fingerstyle guitar transcription and engraving.
jerome

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Posts: 49
Reply with quote  #7 

Hi Nick,

The Degree mark in Jim's original article was a printing error. It should have read 1 1/2 steps down for Just Friends and Old Man River. On Ted's chord grid for Just Friends the first note is open 6th string followed by a root position E triad at the 12th fret. On the CD you hear a low Db bass note followed by a Db triad. Ted's grid for Old Man River has the first 3 notes as a B root position triad 7th fret descending as single notes 5, 3, R. On the CD you'll hear it as an Ab. I've compared the chord grids to the CD and it checks out.

Regards,

Jerome

NickStasinos

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Posts: 323
Reply with quote  #8 

Jerome,

 

Of course, a typo!  Thanks for desiphering the degree symbol for us (1° = 1 ½).  I thought about visiting the recording again before posting, just to be sure, but it got late. 

 

 

Nick


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Specializing in fingerstyle guitar transcription and engraving.
JayGraydon

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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanSawyer
All of that and i forgot the topic! I used to know the answer to the question, but someone like Joey Backenstow or Bob Holt would know the answer. In general though, Ted used to mainly tune in Eb, D or C#. As i recall, he prefered Eb (half a step down) and C# (minor 3rd down) the most in those days. This was usually on one of his Teles. In more recent years, Ted had pretty much reverted back to standard tuning, although he never stopped experimenting with tunings. In fact he had some guitars in which he kept tuned UP rather than down. In particular some of the small Guild hollowbodies such as Aristocrat, M-65 and T-100. One of the first things Ted did when playing a guitar for the first time was, figuring out in which register it sounded the best. So, he would play progressions all over the neck, noting things like, "triads on the middle strings sound really fat around the 9th fret" or "listen to the harpsichord-type tone above the 12th fret". While doing this, he would also try all the various pickup combinations. It was an almost scientific way of evaluating tone. My point is,  doing all these tests that he did, Ted would often realize that a guitar would sound better in a different pitch. This was early in his career. Ted would almost always perform at standard pitch during the last 15 years. He felt there was still much more music to discover in the standard tuning. Of course, music is an endless discovery.
>>

Years ago, Ted used to tune his 355 to up to G for a harpsichord effect. He must have busted many high "E strings" to get up to pitch <g> Not sure what guage he used on the top string.

I always loved that guitar as it played well and had many tonal possibilities using inductor coils and caps on switches. He ripped out the 22 fret/cut the neck as to add a pickup in front of the neck pickup.

In the 80's I ran into a guy that had bought the guitar from Ted in a bar in the middle of nowhere (Central Coast in CA). I was totally freaked out as I had told Ted if he ever sells the guitar, I would like to purchase. In any case, the fellow mentioned Ted was totally into baseball cards and sold the guitar as to purchase some cards.

A few years later, I was told Ted bought back the guitar and as far as I know, it remained in his possession.

Jay Graydon, a friend of Ted's
DanSawyer

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Posts: 289
Reply with quote  #10 
Jay, great story and it's great to see you posting here.

Ted told me a funny story about that 355. One day we were talking about old Guild archtops and I mentioned that George Gruhn used to work at Guild and knew a lot about them. Ted says, "George Gruhn!! I don't even know him and he got really mad at me!" It turns out, years ago, Ted was playing that Gibson 355 at the NAMM show. This guitar had lots of extra switches, added pickups and even part of the fingerboard cut off (so the neck pickup could get a warmer sound.) In other words, everything you shouldn't do to a vintage guitar. Of course, we didn't think that way in the 1970s. They were just "used" guitars.

Anyway, Ted was sitting there happily playing. George walked past Ted, saw the guitar and did a double-take, turned around and walked back to where Ted was sitting. Ted recognized Gruhn from photos in Guitar Player magazine, but had never met him. Well, George proceeded to berate and criticise Ted for the guitar's condition. Saying things like, "How could you do such a thing to that guitar?" and "Do you have any idea what that guitar is worth and how rare it is?" "You've ruined a piece of American heritage." Ted was shocked that someone he had never met could be rude and presumptious like that. Too bad Ted didn't reply with something like, "Do you have any idea who i am, what a great guitarist and teacher i am, what kind of respect i have, and how well my books sell? But then, that wouldn't be like Ted to reply like that.

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Dan Sawyer, friend of Ted's.
YoungBlood

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Posts: 66
Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanSawyer
...Well, George proceeded to berate and criticise Ted for the guitar's condition. Saying things like, "How could you do such a thing to that guitar?" and "Do you have any idea what that guitar is worth and how rare it is?" "You've ruined a piece of American heritage." Ted was shocked that someone he had never met could be rude and presumptious like that....


It's a shame that some people care more about the instrument itself, rather than the music to be played on the instrument!
I think the vintage market is much too far out of hand. I mean, a new 1054 Strat was around $159 if memory serves? Now that same guitar in the same condition will easily fetch upwards of 20-30k, if not more.

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EXPERIMENT. Patience and determination are key.
guitbeef

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Posts: 13
Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by YoungBlood
It's a shame that some people care more about the instrument itself, rather than the music to be played on the instrument!


Amen to that! I couldn't imagine walking past Renoir or Picasso while they we working and preaching to them about what they should do with their brushes! And not even noticing the genius being displayed, to boot. I would never condone mistreating an instrument (of course not the case here), but I also don't condone putting an instrument above the art of making music.
BTW, something I've heard around Nashville quite a few times is that if you want to find out what your guitar is worth to sell, ask Gruhn what he'll give you for it, then take that number and multiply it by four and sell to someone else.
markjens

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Posts: 121
Reply with quote  #13 

You'll notice that none of us is writing about what a great guitarist (or store owner) Mr. Gruhn is, and though it wouldn't be Ted's way to have us bad mouthing him, there are entirely too many people putting great value on the tool, and too little on the artist.  It is epidemic in this country that the music gets short shrift while we watch the prices of instruments (new and old) reach atmospheric levels.  Meanwhile music lessons have gotten so high I cannot afford to send all of my sons to music lessons.  Our local emporium charges $30 per half, $60 per hour.  First, there isn't much getting done in 30 minutes, and second, I place enormous value on Ted's humanitarian desire to have as many people as possible be able to afford his lessons.  I know they never made him wealthy, and we'll all no doubt agree they didn't make him as wealthy as he deserved to be, but here we are, doing our best to continue the legacy of a man who has one.  I know this grew beyond what I wanted, but if George Gruhn only had a clue, as a matter of fact by now he probably kicks his OWN butt for having said such things to Ted Greene of all people.  Sorry for the soapbox, but what Mr. Greene accomplished is so much greater than all of the 'vintage' instruments that will ever go through a store's inventory.  I am turning my sons on to his teachings, and I hope they'll do the same.

DougMiers

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Posts: 24
Reply with quote  #14 

I hope you all won't mind if I morph this conversation just a little bit.  Talking about the red 355... (Thanks Leon, I love hearing about that guitar.) I first ran into Ted's first book in about 1973, and I was just FASCINATED by all the switches.  I couldn't stop thinking about what they must do.  It got me experimenting and trying to expand the sounds that I could get from my own guitars.  Years later when I finally had the opportunity to meet Ted, I took my own 355--the one I had reworked with all the ideas I had come up with.  I was so proud that even though my switches didn't do the same things as his switches (LOL) he really got a kick out of what I had come up with.  My point in relating this story is that here is one more way that Ted influenced, motivated, and helped "to increase the amount of enjoyable music in the world."

markjens

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Posts: 121
Reply with quote  #15 

Doug,

Wonderful!  I have to imagine what a kick Ted must have gotten out of your 'experiments.'  Leon, I am not surprised at all to hear that Ted would dismiss the whole thing with a wave.  He just doesn't impress me as the kind of guy who would either hold a grudge or be too terribly concerned about the dogmatic opinions of others.  I truly wish I could have spent some time with him, I suspect he would have been a calming influence at various times when I needed one '8)  Now, about that tone thing - man, I sure wish I could get my Tele to sound even a bit like Ted's.  I know that the huge majority of his tone came from his fingers, but whatever is possible for me to attain, I sure would like to.

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