The Science Behind the Strings

The acclaimed Cracking the Code documentary series uses video analysis to solve the puzzle of virtuoso guitar picking.

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?

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Episode 3 Eric Johnson “EJ Pack”

Our special download pack for Episode 3 is available now as part of the Season 2 Pass. It’s an exhaustive collection of 34 musical examples and 25 pages of performance notes — our most extensive download pack to date. Episode 3 will be out soon. You can purchase the Season Pass here:

See what people are saying about Cracking the Code:

"After playing for over 18 years and always struggling with alternate picking (I was never clean enough and could never repeat the same phrase without mistakes) I stumbled upon your video about downward pick slanting and it really opened my eyes. I got your season 2 pass and the licks are awesome exercises, especially because of the demonstration and the tabs that denote the pick direction. For the first time in about 4-6 years I have the motivation that I actually learn can pick clean and fast. Keep up the good work and I'll be awaiting your next videos eagerly!!"

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"The quality of both the presentation and of the content itself is unparalleled in my previous YouTube experience...I greatly enjoy — and am extremely impressed with — your detailed mechanical analyses…The insights you have presented are already helping to improve my picking ability, and for that I am very grateful."

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"Most creative, refreshing guitar pedagogy I have seen in years."

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"I rarely post comments for anything. But this video series is a revelation...for the past two days I've been practicing patterns which change strings when my pick stroke is in the correct direction. That single idea has unlocked speed and accuracy I didn't know I had."

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"There's a billion great instructors on YouTube, and I've seen most of them. But you might be the absolute best. Both analysis and presentation is world class. Thank you so much for this."

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"Wow, this method of teaching is so far above any other video I've ever seen. Much more efficient, interesting, immersive and fun to watch. This is fantastic! Too many great things to mention!"

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"You've done it man. What you're doing here is something that's been absolutely absent and lacking in the rock guitar arena of ongoing education and analysis. This is everything I've needed and wanted as a player since I was a teen. Thank you SO much. I'm sharing this with all of my guitar friends."

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"Troy, this is OUTSTANDING stuff. Definitely signing up for the full series...these few videos have utterly transformed my playing."

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"I tried the pick slanting last night and I have INSTANTLY noticed a significant speed difference...I no longer feel like my pick is stuck in mud. It doesn't feel as awkward as I anticipated. Who knew that such a small mechanical change in conjunction with even note chunking would have such immediate benefits?! Incredible."

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Masters in Mechanics

Masters in Mechanics is an in-depth lecture series that delivers advanced technical investigations into the art and science of guitar, every month.  Read More…

Cracking the Code

Season 2 of Cracking the Code is a technical detective story of unprecedented scope — the most incisive investigation of picking mechanics ever put to video.  Read More…

Code Archive

The Code Archive is the most unique collection of high-speed analytical guitar footage ever assembled, and represents a rare opportunity to study world-class technique in action.  Read More…

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