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No More Bull: The Moog Taurus I

By Features No Comments

The Taurus had actually been designed by Moog as part of a trio of synthesizers called the Constellation. The lower portion, operated via foot like the pipe organs of yore, would handle bass duties. The upper sections, supplied separately, would present more traditional keyboard interfaces. While the Constellation project faltered, the bass pedal section became a success on its own.  As a rock band accoutrement, its hands-free operation provided guitar-driven songs a keyboard part without, quite literally, lifting a finger.
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Moving Fast, Moving Forward

By News 5 Comments

Doesn’t it feel like just yesterday — or at least just last decade — that Cracking the Code first seeped into your consciousness, blazing riffs and whispers of picking secrets crackling across your computer screen and through your speakers? Well, with Episode 8: “Fast Forward”, we’ve hit our first big milestone and wrapped up Season 1. There’s much yet to come, but we’re proud to close the first folio of this journey and get down to business on the next steps.

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Behind the Scenes: Envisioning the Arpeggio Mystery

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In the Arpeggio Mystery, we explore the difficulties a person is likely to encounter reverse engineering Yngwie Malmsteen’s arpeggio-based solos in a world populated by jagged trees, wolves shrouded in fog and shadows, and a circus full of little moving angular pick people. It’s a scene that’s become a favorite of mine, but it didn’t just form out of the ether. A lot of consideration went into the conceptualization of this world, and a lot of work went into its execution, so how did we go about making it? And where did the inspiration for the scene come from?

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Behind the Scenes: Rock Concert Regenesis

Behind the Scenes: Rock Concert Regenesis

By Features No Comments

Let’s go back to November 19, 1990, to a mid-size concert venue on the edge of campus in a college town on the eastern seaboard…back to one rocking night at Toad’s Place, where both Alice in Chains and Extreme took the stage, performing to a crowd of twenty-somethings, buzzed, and abuzz with excitement. While Troy remembers this night clearly — the cheering crowd, the lights, the energy, the unique sound of Alice in Chains, the picking mastery of Nuno himself — I don’t remember it at all; I was still in Seattle (and in diapers) and wouldn’t set foot in New Haven for another couple decades. If you weren’t there either, it’s hard to imagine the atmosphere and excitement that permeated the space, hard to feel the experience of being at that particular concert. But it’s an important scene to the narrative of Cracking the Code, and in the process of creating Episode 7: Licks et Veritas, we had to come up with some way to depict this event in all its glory.

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Licks and Truth: Episode 7 Goes Live!

By News No Comments

The dog may not have eaten our homework, but we did have to chase him around the yard for a week to get it back! Episode 7, “Lix et Veritas”, delayed for a week, is finally ready.

To quote a band you’ll see in Episode 7, it’s a monster! Episode 7, at over 20 minutes long, is nearly a double episode.  And this is after cutting a two or three scenes which would have pushed the total length closer to half an hour.  It’s also perhaps the most television-esque of the series so far, featuring some of our most immersive animations, and a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat guitar contest showdown.  Before you hit the play button, you’ll definitely want to hit the concession stand.
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Hail, the Cab: Building a Custom 2x12 Cabinet

By Features 6 Comments

Cracking the Code Impulse Response Pack

Record the speaker cabinet sounds of Cracking the Code with the Cracking the Code IR Pack!

Includes all the pine cabinet H30 impulses — plus the Marshall 1960A impulses we use for rhythm tracks, and a couple ultra-rare Cornford 2×12 impulses featuring the Vintage 30 speaker recorded via the Shure SM57.

UPDATE: We don’t currently have the impulse response pack for sale, but will try to get it added to our new store soon.

Amid the seemingly illimitable interest in amplifiers, with their mysterious tone crafting abilities, and their steam-punk innards so attractively aglow with filaments and glass, it’s easy to overlook the humble wooden box at the end of the chain. But if your 10-second Chevelle is only as fast as the slicks that hook it to the tarmac, then your supercharged big block of an amp only sounds as good as the device actually emitting those pressure waves into the room: the speaker cabinet.

Indeed, the speaker and cabinet assembly is a good part of any classic tone. That sparkle on the first Van Halen album? Reportedly the work of the glittery JBL D-120 speaker. But with a nearly endless variety of speaker cabinets available in all shapes, sizes, and power handling capabilities, why build your own? As is often the case in the world of extreme guitar sports, the answer is simple: because we can.
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Steve Always Wins: The Crossroads Intimidation Breakdown

By codenews, Lessons 48 Comments

In 1986, Steve Vai was having one of those years. March saw the debut of the film Crossroads, for which Steve wrote and performed both the rock and neoclassical sequences of the now-famous guitar duel, and in which he also landed a starring role as the devil’s swaggering henchman, Jack Butler. Trailer clips of the film’s climactic musical showdown, with its mesmerizing cascade of diminished arpeggios, had just begun to explode adolescent minds across the country when David Lee Roth stepped into the studio with Steve to record his highly anticipated post-Van Halen grudge album.

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Lesson: Inside Eddie's Arcade

By codenews, Lessons 5 Comments

The Cutting Room Floor

Not all great ideas make the final cut, and the overly ambitious scene “Eddie’s Arcade”, from Season 1, Episode 1 of Cracking the Code, is a great example of that. An over-the-top homage to Tron Legacy and Back to the Future, it was a tour de force of cinematic animation whose demands on my personal time were ultimately at odds with the exigency of actually getting things finished.

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Whoa, We're Halfway There!

By News No Comments

Season 1 is halfway complete; we’ve released our first four episodes, and are hard at work on getting through the back nine. Back four, rather. Sorry to mix the metaphors. Episode 4 is (as of right now) live on the Season 1 page, and it just might be our best yet. (Though I also really like Episode 3. And Episode 1 will always be close to our hearts…) Suffice it to say, we’re happy with the quality of what we’ve been putting out, and hope you’re enjoying Season 1 as well. We’d love to know for sure, though, so if you have a minute, we’ve created a brief questionnaire to get your feedback and find out what we can do to make the show even better.

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Behind the Scenes: Centipede

By codenews, Features No Comments

Retro gaming meets rock in this sneak peak of an upcoming behind-the-scenes look at our audio production process. In this sequence, from Season 1’s Episode 3, “A Pick and Hard Place”, Atari’s trackball-powered classic Centipede provides the visual analogy for an investigation of the fretboard contortions of the infamous descending fours lick. You’ve played it. You’ve cursed it. Don’t worry, we all have.

Stay tuned for the full Centipede studio feature in weeks to come.