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Critique Your Technique With Cracking The Code!

By August 29, 2022 August 31st, 2022 News

After many hours of concerted h4x0ring, we finally launched an awesome feature we’ve been planning for a long time: Platform Technique Critique.

What is Technique Critique?

Since we launched our forum in 2017, the “Technique Critique” section has been an incredible resource. By simply linking to clips of your playing that you’ve posted online, forum members and Cracking the Code team members could offer you strategic advice for improvement.

This turned out to be super successful. Because Technique Critique relies on video, were were quickly able to spot issues which in many cases had gone undiagnosed for years. If you’ve never filmed your own technique, it’s amazing how obvious some issues become once you see them up close. You can watch real-life case studies from this work in our instructional material, like this Primer lesson about stringhopping:

Platform Critique

Forum Technique Critique is of course still available, and still an amazing free resource. But we understand that not everyone is eager to post clips of their playing on a public forum. If that’s you, we have the solution: Platform Technique Critique. This is a way to get feedback on your mechanics that is just between you and us, as part of your subscription.

This new feature includes a wealth of great upgrades:

  • The Technique Critique Library, with customizable privacy settings and guaranteed feedback from the Cracking the Code instructor team
  • The Video Library of the clips used in your crtiques, and for tracking your progress
  • The ability to take and store Cracking the Code diagnostic test results, like our world-famous (ha) Table Tap Tests™
  • A brand-new user dashboard to organize all this awesome stuff, complete with customizable profile, alerts, bookmarks, watch history, test results, and more

If that sounds like a lot of work, it was! We’d like to extend our special thanks to Cracking the Code member @joebegly for pitching in on our development team. While he may be better known on the forum for his work on the six-string, on this project he flexed his expert keyboard chops — the Qwerty kind — to lend modern interactivity to these new features.

Meet The Instructors

The instructor team at launch includes me, the amazing Tommaso Tufarelli, aka @tommo, and the equally amazing @Teemu_Mantysaari.

If you’ve visited our forum, where Tommo serves as head moderator, then you’ve already experienced the incongruity of his calm, unflappable demeanor as a moderator and simultaneously brutal chops as a player:

You may already know Teemu Mäntysaari from his work with the bands Wintersun and Smackbound, and of course from his Cracking The Code interview:

If you watched that interview, then you also know that Teemu has years of private teaching experience, with a focus on hands-on testing that is very similar to our own. We’re excited and a little bit humbled to have Teemu, his thoughtful mind, and his searing skills on the team.

Picking Technique Primary Care

“Team” is really the operative word here. Even the most skilled player is still a sample set of 1 when it comes to what worked for them personally. On top of that, impressions and memory are highly selective. A player may think a particular habit in the past led to a specific skill they possess in the present. But unless they can actually rule out other possiblities, how can they really be sure where that skill came from?

With the instructor team we want to bring clarity to the teaching process in a couple of critical ways.

The first is our collaborative approach. Like medical providers working together at a clinic, we can brainstorm strategies drawn from our collective experience. The next TC you create may or may not be assigned the same instructor as before, but behind the scenes we’ll always be communicating to make sure we’re pointing you in the right direction.

Michael Angelo Batio with the original ShredCam rig

The second key is fieldwork. Since our very first interviews more than fifteen years ago, a hallmark of Cracking the Code has been its evidence-based approach. Rather than guess what great players do, we’ve placed cameras on as many of them as we can, to see what expert technique really looks like. Platform TC turbocharges that approach. With video of every critique we do, we’ll have even better perspective on what works and what doesn’t.

To start with, we have decided not to limit the number of TCs you can make. But to continue the medical analogy, we’ll let you know when we need to see you again. It could be right away with a different video angle. Or it could be next month after you work on a specific assignment.


The best part is that all of this is included in your subscription. Yes, we’ve bumped the prices a little. But keep in mind that these changes won’t affect existing subscribers unless you cancel and restart your subscription. And two, we think this increase is reasonable because all of us on the team must now be on call for personalized feedback.

If money is still an issue, don’t forget about the Cracking The Code Scholarship program. As of this writing, I’m not aware of any other leading instructional site that has placed such a comprehensive financial assistance program at the center of their teaching. If you want to improve your technique, then we want to help, no matter your financial situation.

We’re super excited to begin a new era of teaching at Cracking The Code. So what are you waiting for? Make your critique now!

Top Comments

  1. Avatar for Troy Troy says:

    If you’ve been poking around the site the last few days you may have already noted the rollout of a whole raft of new features, including, among many things, a particularly big new addition: Technique Critique on the platform.

    Included with your monthly subscription, you can now upload clips of your playing directly to the platform for guaranteed feedback on your technique, with customizable privacy settings for those who may not feel quite so comfortable with posting clips on a public forum. This is something we’ve been planning for a very long time, and with the help of the amazing @joebegly setting aside his dangerously fast elbow technique for his dangerously fast web development skills, we were able to get it done.

    Forum Technique Critique will of course continue to be a valuable resource, and we’ll continue to contribute there as we always have — on a best-effort basis. But the platform version comes with an additonal guarantee that we, the instructor team, will respond and in a timely fashion. This is a large commitment since it means we’re essentially on call to provide feedback to everyone who signs up.

    At the same time, we’re excited about the learning opportunity for us because it means really being able to see who we’re helping and to what degree. It’s nice to make lessons that people enjoy watching, but that’s not why we got into this. We want to see actual results and we can’t do that unless we close the loop.

    The instructor team currently includes myself, and the dangerously-similiarly-named @tommo and Teemu, aka @Teemu_Mantysaari.

    If you’ve been on the forum for any length of time, you’re already familiar with Tommo’s ridiculous playing and impossibly constructive attitude in all situations. It is no surprise why he’s been a valued member of the team for as long as he has.

    If you’ve watched Teemu’s interview then you know that apart from his face-melting skills, he has a wealth of teaching experience and a practical, evidence-based approach very similar to ours. We’re thrilled to have him as part of the team.

    This is a big step forward, and we’re excited about some truly collaborative teamwork where we can identify problems that affect players at all levels, and put together some powerfully productive techniques to solve them.

    We’ve enabled error messages on the site, so if you notice any bugs appearing, definitely let us know. We’ve squashed a bunch already but I’m sure there will be many more. Thank you!

  2. Avatar for tommo tommo says:

    That “max 5 videos at a time” code better work, our very lives depend on it :rofl:

  3. Thanks for the mention, Troy!

    I just wanted to say publicly how awesome it was to (virtually) work with you on the new features. I’m never shy about saying how I think your findings and platform are the best thing to happen to guitar since the invention of the amplifier. So, I’m honored I got to be a part of helping you take it even further.

    And also I wanted to say, publicly, that it was pretty humbling to learn that Troy is a pro-level web developer himself and, in my estimation, he didn’t even need my help on these platform updates. As if it’s not enough that he’s good at video production, product branding, running an e-commerce business, picking at an elite level in *nearly every picking motion out there (see footnote)…Troy could easily land a full time job building web sites (not that he’d want to, just sayin’…he could). I just have to wonder, what else is he really really good at??? It’s a bit demoralizing lol!!! I think he only asked me to help out because there just aren’t enough hours in the day. But, I’m glad he did because he was awesome to work with. The personality we all know and love from the instructional videos and interviews is the real deal.

    I’m looking forward seeing all the people the new features will help out. And uh…I’m gonna use it myself to make sure I haven’t gone down the wrong path on my crosspicking endeavors :slight_smile:

    Foot Notes:
    *I’m still waiting to see Troy on camera doing Rusty Cooley style elbow motion and/or that thumb/index finger flexy-thingy I’ve seen in Joe Stump’s and (some of) Yngwie’s playing :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

  4. Hey everybody!

    It’s an honor to join @Troy and @tommo as part of the Cracking The Code instructor team! Thank you for having me! :pray:

    I look forward to seeing your videos and helping out solving problems!

  5. Avatar for Troy Troy says:

    I really don’t do any kind of DSX elbow. I see great elbow players and their smoothness and speed, I definitely haven’t spent the time to make that work. I assume it’s doable, as almost everything we’ve looked at is.

    Interestingly, when it comes to elbow motion, most of our teaching on the subject has simply been explaining to people who can already do the motion that it’s worth using. Learning motions is not trivial. If you have a skill, that’s money in the bank and worth doing more of.

Continue the discussion at The Cracking the Code Forum

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