Watch Episode 1 Now
Season 1, Episode 1: Rock to the Future is live to stream.
Just when you thought it was safe to turn on the metronome.
Cracking the Code is a groundbreaking documentary series that explores the puzzle of virtuoso guitar picking. The show’s three seasons chart thousands of hours of research, across nearly three decades, in pursuit of an elusive formula for plectrum dominion. Melding archival footage, in-depth interviews, painstakingly crafted animation, and custom soundtrack, it’s a pop-science investigation of an age-old mystery: Why are some players seemingly super-powered?
The surprising answer is that the world’s top guitarists rely on a system of highly efficient, highly precise, and yet nearly subconscious mechanical techniques. To replicate this, students of the instrument would have to traverse years of practice, only to arrive independently at precisely the same set of subtle hand movements. That’s like expecting every Swedish chef to reinvent the meatball.
This presents a bizarre pedagogical conundrum: How do you teach something that is unknown even to its greatest practitioners? Considering the obstacles, that we even have great practitioners is a striking testament to intuitive genius.
Well, it’s time to give genius a run for its money.
Picking, A Fight
Premieres 11/7/2013. Free to stream. Cheap to own.
To unravel the mystery of advanced guitar technique, we’re going back — way back, to a time when the hair was big and the riffs were bigger.
Season 1 of Cracking the Code is a rocking documentary that recounts the story of virtuoso guitar amid the unprecedented flowering of technique in the ’80s. Across 8 episodes, and nearly 1.5 hours of in-depth analysis, it sets out the core technical challenges of the instrument — challenges which we’ll soon surmount in seasons 2 and 3.
Why is the guitar so bedeviling? Buckle up for the trip as we find out.Read More
A New Era of Right Hand Regimentation
Season 2 of Cracking the Code is the most incisive investigation of picking mechanics ever put to video. A technical detective story of unprecedented scope, it spans 16 episodes and almost two and a half hours of musical and mechanical sleuthing.
Offering a totally new model for right hand dominance, Season 2 completely deconstructs the iconic techniques of Yngwie Malmsteen, Eric Johnson, Paul Gilbert, Shawn Lane, and a host of others.
Season 2 arrives in two installments, starting in the spring of 2014 — and is available for preorder now.Read More
Out of the Lab, Into the Wild
There was once an impossible daydream: an electric eye, ensconced in a vantage point impossibly close, whose split-second reflexes could ensnare time. For a kid in a cathode ray era, this was pure fantasy. But as tubes and tape gave way to bits, the fantastical suddenly became real.
Season 3 of Cracking the Code is an interview series with legendary players captured in high-speed video. Built on Season 2’s framework for advanced picking, Season 3 provides an unprecedented real-world look at these techniques in action.
Along the way, even more techniques are added to the canon, and the journey of mastery comes to a close — or maybe a new beginning.Read More