Freddie Green Style: Lessons & Technique

"It's not what we don't know that hurts us; rather, what gets us into trouble is what we are absolutely certain of that just ain't so."
- Mark Twain


Freddie Green's Rhythm Guitar Style Revisited
In February 2004, DownBeat magazine published Michael Pettersen's followup to his October 2000 article, providing further insights based on new transcriptions and a video of Freddie Green.


Distilling Big Band Guitar: The Essence of Freddie Green
Here is an article written for the October 2000 issue of DownBeat magazine by site contributor Michael Pettersen.

Notable Quotes Supporting the "One Note Chord" theory

A rare conversation where Freddie Green tells a little about his chordal approach

For the experienced player looking for a great distilled lesson, read this "One Minute Freddie Green" posting by Michael Pettersen


The Dynamic Chord and Muted Notes (DCMN) analysis of Freddie Green's Rhythm Guitar Style: What's in a "One-Note" Chord?
This superb article by contributor Mark Allen expands upon the "One Note Chord" theory first put forth by Michael Pettersen in the DownBeat article above.


Freddie Green: A Musical Analysis of the Guitar in the Count Basie Rhythm Section
A THESIS by Matt G. Buttermann submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Music in Jazz Performance in the College of Arts and Communication, William Paterson University, May 2009.


The Short and Long of Freddie Green: How He Varied The Length Of The Quarter Note Pulse
Michael Pettersen contributed this transcription which also serves as an excellent lesson on how Freddie created that famous groove.


Favorite Chord Voicings of Freddie Green
Like all guitarists, Freddie Green had favorite chord forms. As the result of his numerous transcriptions, Michael Pettersen offers this guide to Freddie Green's favorites.


"Four Brothers" in the style of Freddie Green
Michael Pettersen offers his version of how Freddie might have played "Four Brothers".


Freddie Green Chord Forms/Basics/How To Use
by Jakub Cervenka


Why Freddie Green Worked Well with Pianists
A concise article by Michael Pettersen that serves as an excellent lesson on this aspect of Freddie Green's style.


A New Hypothesis About Freddie Green's Guitar Technique
Albert Romaní offers his theory that the guitar chord forms commonly used by Freddie Green evolved from tenor banjo chord forms.


Another Approach to Fingering Three-Note Chords
Guitarist Andrew Snee offers alternative chord fingerings to those suggested in Mark Allen's DCMN article.


Performing with Freddie Green
Bassist Lynn Seaton played with the Count Basie Orchestra alongside Freddie Green.  He offers first-hand comments about the guitar technique of Mr. Rhythm.


Freddie Green: He Did Indeed Play One Note Chords
Guitarist James Chirillo has performed with jazz legends Benny Goodman, Benny Carter, and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. He offers insightful comments about the rhythm guitar technique of Freddie Green.


How the 1930's Jazz Environment Shaped Freddie Green's Approach to Rhythm Guitar
This article is by Gunther Schuller and is taken from his book, The Swing Era.


Alternate Perspectives from Respected Professional Guitarists About the "One Note Chord" Theory
These comments were posted with permission from a newsgroup discussion.


Freddie Green: Birth of a Style
Contributor David Ness provided this article which was published in the November 1999 edition of the IAJE's Jazz Educators Journal.


Basics of Freddie Green Comping
An article by Tim Berens, guitarist for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, shares many useful insights about the big band guitar style.

Die Grundlagen von Freddie Green's Begleitstil


12-bar Blues in the Key of F
Michael Pettersen offers an exercise using chord voicings in the style of Freddie Green as applied to a typical 12-bar blues.


Right-Hand Man: The Rhythm Secrets of Count Basie Guitarist Freddie Green
John Lehmann-Haupt wrote this article for the May 1998 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine. It has been condensed from the original and covers only the sections that directly relate to the style of Freddie Green.


Harmonic Techniques to Create Moving Chord Progressions using Three Note Voicings - Part 1
An exercise and analysis of typical Freddie Green chord voicings based upon the structure of "I Got Rhythm" by Michael Pettersen.


Harmonic Techniques to Create Moving Chord Progressions using Three Note Voicings - Part 2
A continuation of the above analysis by Michael Pettersen based upon the structure of "As Time Goes By".


Harmonic Techniques to Create Moving Chord Progressions using Three Note Voicings - Part 3
A continuation of the above analysis by Michael Pettersen based upon the structure of "Sweet Lorraine".


Book Excerpt: How To Play Guitar In A Big Band
This is a short summary of Traditional Jazz Rhythm Guitar with reference to Freddie Green by Tom Bruner.


Book Excerpt: Jim Hall - Exploring Jazz Guitar
Nice insights and memories from legendary guitarist Jim Hall regarding Freddie Green.


Book Excerpt: How To Simplify Rhythm Guitar Playing
Guitar techniques for stabilizing the rhythm section, by Dr. William Fowler for a 1978 DownBeat magazine article.


Bucky Pizzarelli "Blues for Green" Guitar Player Magazine Article
Excerpts from an August 1987 interview with Bucky Pizzarelli.


Amplifying an Acoustic Archtop Guitar in a Big Band
Michael Pettersen offers useful tips and techniques for microphones, amplifiers, and more.


Paul Meyers: Down For Double with Jon Hendricks and Annie Ross
Excerpts from a May 2002 online interview with guitarist Paul Meyers. Insightful comments about the playing technique and chord voicings of Freddie Green.


A Comparative Study of Rhythm Guitar Styles
This article by Michael Pettersen examines and compares Western Swing, Allan Reuss, Teddy Wilson, Barry Galbraith, and Freddie Green on a 12-bar blues chord progression. The article also contains biographical information on each of the players.


Freddie Green's Positional Leaps on the Fingerboard: A Hypothesis
Guitarist Andrew Snee offers a hypothesis on a puzzling aspect of Freddie's playing technique.


"I Got Rhythm" in the style of Freddie Green
Michael Pettersen offers his version of how Freddie might have played "Rhythm" changes.


Recollections of Freddie Green
By rhythm guitarist John Parrott


Bassist Walter Page's Influence on Freddie Green
Jazz historian Loren Schoenberg provides insight on Freddie's style of rhythm guitar.


Turk Van Lake's Rhythm Guitar Articles from Metronome Magazine 1957-58
Rhythm guitarist Turk Van Lake wrote a series of articles on guitar for Metronome magazine in the 1950's. Five of these articles were specifically about rhythm guitar and appeared in July 1957, September 1957, December 1957, February 1958, and June 1958. Here are all five articles, edited for clarification.


Dispelling Myths about Freddie Green's Technique
Michael Pettersen reminds us not to beleive everything we read.


Rhythym Guitar: Lessons I Have Learned
Guitarist Jerry Krahn shares many insights from his extensive career as a professional musician.


Thoughts on Rhythm Guitar
Guitarist James Chirillo performs regularly with Jazz at Lincoln Center. Based in the New York City are, James is a superb jazz guitarist and he is particularly passionate about rhythm guitar.


Blues For Pep
Michael Pettersen composed a tune in honor of Freddie Green on the 95th anniversary of his birth.


The Improvised Counterpoint of Freddie Green by Trevor de Clercq
Trevor de Clercq authored this fine academic paper as part of his MA/PhD studies at Eastman School of Music.


Did Freddie Green always play the guitar chart "as written?"
An analysis of a live performance video in which Freddie's the chart for "Magic Flea."


A Brief Study of Freddie Green's Unique Timbre
By Ro Takayama/edited by Michael Pettersen


Barry Galbraith’s Approach to Rhythm Guitar
By Mike Caruso – student and friend of Barry Galbraith


Sincere thanks to all of the authors for allowing us to
share this information with our visitors.

The Style | Recordings | Biographical Info | Photos | Additional Info | Contact Us | Post Comments | Home Page