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Masters in Mechanics: The Carl Miner Interview

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Take a journey into the world of bluegrass flatpick virtuosity in this Masters in Mechanics double feature!

This month we’re taking you on a trip to Winfield Kansas for the 2007 National Guitar Flat Pick Championships. Bluegrass is a unique world where mechanical standards, competition, and creativity work together to produce amazing players like Carl Miner. Carl won the whole thing as a teen, and placed second twice, including the year we interviewed him.

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Masters in Mechanics: The Steve Morse Interview

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Cracking the Morse Code!

Steve Morse’s mind-boggling chops and peerless creativity have garnered him historical renown and captured the imagination of a generation of players.

His one-note-per-string alternate picking technique is one of the most magical in all of rock guitar. But behind the technique lies an amazing mechanical solution. In this interview, we not only witness the magic — we discover how it actually works.

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Introducing the Cracking the Code T-Shirt!

Sport the "Code" logo, with three different styles to choose from

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This is something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time, and we’ve finally figured out a great way to do it! We’re working with Printful, an on-demand printing company that plugs right into Gumroad and works seamlessly with the account you may already have as a Cracking the Code customer.

Three styles to choose from, one classic Code logo!

Three styles to choose from, one rocking Cracking the Code logo!

We have three styles to choose from. They each incorporate the awesome Code logo — the ultimate evocation of mechanical-meets-musical! — and are designed like a concert tee. Each shirt you buy helps support production of the show.

We have two styles of the short-sleeve tee. One is 100% cotton, which won’t stretch and won’t dramatically shrink when you wash it, and is a slim- to moderate-fitting shirt. The other is a premium tri-blend (polyester + cotton + rayon). It’s lightweight, a bit stretchy, and super-soft, like an old vintage tee, and is more of a charcoal than a pure black. Finally, we have a long-sleeve version of the 100% cotton tee. These are all American Apparel shirts so if you’ve worn them before you know what to expect!

You can order as many as you like, in any size, short- or long-sleeved. Click the links below to take a look!

Pentatonic Puzzle Contest

Solve the Puzzle of this Ascending Fours Pattern and Win a Free Masters in Mechanics Subscription!

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In the first three episodes of Season 2 of Cracking the Code, we spent a lot of time understanding the downward pickslanting system of Yngwie Malmsteen and Eric Johnson. And now it’s time to put that understanding to the creative test!

Yngwie is famous for his mastery of sequenced ideas, like fours. Eric Johnson is famous for his mastery of the pentatonic scale. And if we join these two aesthetics, we can do something really awesome: ascending pentatonic fours. There’s actually a really simple way of playing this that fits perfectly with the Yngwie and Eric picking system we’ve outlined so far. It sounds great, it’s easy to do…and we’re not going to tell you how to do it. And that’s because you are going to tell us!

If you can figure out the picking pattern to ascending pentatonic fours, we’ll give the first five correct responses a free Masters in Mechanics subscription. Watch the video above to learn more!

UPDATE: After 80+ responses in < 24 hrs, we've closed the contest. Contest aside, though, this is a great practical exercise in the power and flexibility of pickslanting — a homework assignment that will add an awesome pattern to your arsenal. We encourage you all to give it a try!

Masters in Mechanics: The Marshall Harrison Interview

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The Masters in Mechanics interview with the amazing Marshall Harrison features a detailed investigation of his sweep and hybrid picking wizardry, harmonic inventiveness, and blazing speed.

It includes 25 slow-motion examples with tablature, and over 20 minutes of awesome behind-the-scenes warmup and jamming footage. The interview is complemented by over 40 minutes of our trademark in-depth analysis.

The Marshall Harrison Interview includes:

  • 40-minute in-depth interview featuring Marshall’s sweep and hybrid picking wizardry
  • 45 minutes of our trademark in-depth analysis
  • 25 slow-motion examples + complete tablature in Guitar Pro and PDF formats
  • 20+ minutes of awesome behind-the-scenes warmup & jamming footage

Two ways to watch the full interview:

Masters in Mechanics: Cascade

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Our latest Masters in Mechanics seminar, “Cascade”, is an incredible 6-hour investigation that explores the ethereal guitar genius of Eric Johnson.

Along the way, we completely demystify his flowing multi-position pentatonic wizardry, glittering harmonic arpeggios, use of downward pickslanting, sweeping, the “bounce technique”, and more. We go frame by frame through his landmark 1988 Austin City Limits Performance to analyze numerous signature phrases, and take a special look at his two classic instructional videos, Total Electric Guitar and The Fine Art of Guitar.

Cascade features:

  • A whopping 35 chapters of video investigation
  • Massive download pack with over 100 slow-motion clips
  • Complete tablature for all clips in Guitar Pro and PDF formats
  • 45 pages of detailed performance notes

Two ways to watch the complete seminar:

Masters in Mechanics Subscription Giveaway

We're Giving Away 5 Free Subscriptions to Our Acclaimed Seminar Series!

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Entries are now closed! Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by. Stay tuned for future giveaways!

Cracking the Code is giving away — not one, not two, — but FIVE subscriptions to Masters in Mechanics.

Masters in Mechanics already includes 12+ hours of video investigation, hundreds of slow-mo clips and tablature, and pages and pages of performance notes. Here’s your chance to get it all!

To enter, drop us your email by midnight EST April 5, 2015. We’ll select and notify the five winners by the end of April.

Note that entering the giveaway signs you up for our mailing list, but we don’t send newsletters often, and when we do they often include all kinds of fun freebies. Of course, if you’re already on our list you can still enter above!

Good luck, and we look forward to seeing you in Masters in Mechanics!

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Season 2, Episode 3 is Here!

"Eric the Right" takes us inside Eric Johnson's Pentatonic Wizardry

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Cracking the Code, Season 2, Episode 3 is here! “Eric the Right” explores the ethereal soundscapes of Eric Johnson. We look at his unique interpretation of the downward pickslanting system, so distant sonically and yet in many respects so mechanically similar to Yngwie’s. We decode the famous (infamous?) Hot Licks “bounce technique” scene, cover basic pickslanting patterns, cascading pentatonic fingerings, and much more.

For an even deeper dive into the mechanics behind the music, the awesome EJ Pack, included with the Season Pass, is over 30 slow-motion examples with tablature, plus 25 pages of analysis. It’s a complete guide to replicating Eric’s pentatonic and arpeggiated mastery. Scale the High Landrons of technique and grab your Season Pass now!