The science behind the speed.

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.

Well, it’s time to give up the secret recipe.

Season 1

Season 1 of Cracking the Code 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.

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Season 2

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 8 double-length episodes and almost two hours of musical and mechanical sleuthing.

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Season 3

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.

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Season 1 is available now — and with Episode 8, “Fast Forward”, we’ve wrapped our entire first season! Get your Season Pass now and own all 8 episodes in HD. And stay tuned for updates, because we’ve got much more coming soon.

Buy Season Pass ($5)