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Brendan Schlagel

Closeup of Magnet mounted on a guitar neck

Making the Magnet — have any design feedback?

By News 57 Comments

Nearly five years after our first Kickstarter attempt, we think it may be time for another go at getting the Magnet manufactured!

The Magnet is that red camera mount you’ve probably seen clamped onto a guitar neck in our lessons and interviews. It’s an awesome tool for filming your technique, and it works with any smartphone. 

We designed and prototyped it ourselves, and have had DIY instructions available for a while, but it’s expensive and time-consuming to make. We want to make an affordable version that anyone can buy and use as a tool to learn more about your playing.

As part of preparing for a possible manufacturing run, right now we’re taking a look at some small design tweaks. We’d love your feedback!

Twin Tweaks

One design tweak we’re making is to reverse the orientation of the Magnet, so it faces the bridge instead of the headstock. This way, when the Magnet expands, even with large phones, you won’t lose any more space on the fretboard.

Troy fastening the Magnet to the guitar

If those upper-fret arpeggios get out of control, our next design enhancement has you covered. Sometimes the phone shifts around during aggressive playing, or the Magnet gets bumped, and we wanted to address this possibility. So we’re adding a strap! With one simple drawstring, you can lock the phone in the Magnet, and the Magnet on the guitar neck, at the same time.

Magnet viewed from below with safety strap wrapping around the guitar neck

These two tweaks work together — we’ve been doing a lot of testing, and it turns out reversing the orientation is also what helps make it possible for the strap to better secure the Magnet.

Five years on, we’re amazed this design still works so well. The dual-expansion nature is uniquely functional and has proven itself time and again. And the goal is for the mass produced version to work even better — better tolerances, smoother operation, and just overall nicer to use.

Magnet Feedback

Right now we’re polishing our prototype and looking into getting some new quotes from factories. If all goes well, we’ll aim to do a new Kickstarter next year. For now, a couple quick questions for you!

If you have a DIY Magnet:

Anything you’ve noticed about the Magnet design and how it’s been working? Let us know if you have any suggestions or issues we may want to address. We probably can’t make any huge changes, but we’ll see what we can do!

If you don’t have a Magnet:

What do you think…excited by the prospect of a mass-manufactured Magnet? Other thoughts / feedback welcome! We’ve gathered feedback in the past but it’s been a while, and we’d love any thoughts and impressions you may want to share.

Please share your comments in the forum discussion, linked below!

Animated Troy with books and guitar in school hallway.

Announcing the Cracking the Code Scholarship Program

By News 4 Comments

We’re happy to announce the Cracking the Code Scholarship Program, to help bring our resources for learning guitar technique to as many players as possible.

From sharing videos on YouTube, to making forum access free for all, it’s long been important to us to balance the business side of Cracking the Code with a goal of helping all kinds of guitarists learn and improve.

With the scholarship, we’re now able to offer a reduced-rate monthly membership — our all access pass to the site — for anyone who needs it.

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Free live workshop with Teemu Mäntysaari

By News 20 Comments

Teemu is in town — wrapping up Wintersun’s Fall 2018 North American tour this Sunday at Irving Plaza in NYC (tickets here if you’re in the area!)

And on Monday, we’re hosting him at the Cracking the Code Studio for a live workshop and Q&A session.

Who is Teemu?

Teemu is the lead guitarist of Finnish power metal band Wintersun. He’s well versed in weaving punishing rhythms and intricate dual-lead flights of fantasy into epic power metal soundscapes.

Our interview with Teemu is one of our most watched ever, and for good reason — Teemu is a rare combination of ferocious player and masterful teacher. Specifically, he’s watched a lot of our stuff, and has extensive experience teaching pickslanting mechanics to guitarists of all levels.

Here’s a good clip of his scary arpeggio playing:

Event Details

We’re excited to catch up with Teemu and talk technique, teaching, and more. And we look forward to taking some viewer questions!

The event is free for everyone to watch, and will be live on YouTube.

If you have an account on the Cracking the Code Platform, you can tune in via our Live Studio and submit questions for Teemu once the event starts.

We’ll get an edited version uploaded to the site later, with clips and tablature for Masters in Mechanics members.

Tune in to watch the event live: Monday, Oct. 15th at 4pm ET / 8pm UTC

Free live broadcast with Mika Tyyskä aka Mr. Fastfinger

By News 19 Comments

Live broadcast with Mika Tyyskä!

Tuesday, August 21 — 2pm ET / 6pm UTC

Mark your calendar! We’ll be on air with Mika tomorrow afternoon, talking music and technique and answering viewer questions live.

It’s a free broadcast, and we’ll be streaming to YouTube — but to submit questions, you’ll need to log in to the Cracking the Code Platform and head to our Live Studio. Read More

Terry Syrek Interview

By News 23 Comments

We’ve just uploaded our interview with Terry Syrek to the Cracking the Code platform.

This interview is a revealing conversation about an elite player learning to live with a condition that severely affects his playing: focal dystonia. Read More

Saturday, March 4, 1pm EST: Live Cracking the Code Broadcast with Michael Angelo Batio!

By Events 3 Comments

We’ve got a special event this weekend: a live video interview with Michael Angelo Batio!

For months we’ve been working on improving our live streaming video setup. We’d like to be able to host more interviews in-house and even livestream some of them, in the highest possible quality. Technology has come a long way in the last few years, and we’ve now got an incredible, broadcast quality setup.

So, how are we going to test drive this thing? We’re excited to report that none other than Michael Angelo Batio will be stopping by our Brooklyn studio this Saturday at 1pm EST to give our new live broadcast rig a spin.

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Pickslanting Primer Giveaway

By News 5 Comments

We’re giving away 10 free copies of the Cracking the Code Pickslanting Primer!

To enter, just drop off your email below. We’ll be picking 10 viewers at random, and will send a notification to the winners next week. Whether you win or lose (and in our eyes, everyone’s a winner) we’d like to thank you for watching Cracking the Code.

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Strunz & Farah — Free Tablature Download!

By Uncategorized

It’s time for a free download from the Strunz & Farah Interview!

Jorge and Ardeshir composed an awesome intro jam specifically for their Masters in Mechanics interview. We’ve put together a video performance of the tune, along with a complete dual guitar transcription in Guitar Pro, into a download pack just for Cracking the Code viewers. Read More