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Season 2 Arrives!

By codenews, News 18 Comments

Cracking the Code, Season 2

8 episodes and 2+ hours of groundbreaking technical insight. The Season Pass gets you:
Ad-free, HD downloads of all 8 episodes
Tablature from our episodes and features
Your choice of 1080p or 720p files
Special video downloads, like slow-motion footage of our new “Down Around the World” series
And to catch you up, we’ll even throw in a Season 1 Pass for free!

UPDATE: The Season Pass is now the Pickslanting Primer! Learn more here:

Cracking the Code Pickslanting Primer

We’re launching Season 2 of Cracking the Code, and with it, a truly groundbreaking exploration of picking technique.

Throughout history, great players — much like great athletes — have worked their magic by feel rather than by analysis. These gifted geniuses rely on mechanical optimizations to do things with picks and strings that they themselves may not even be aware of. In Season 2 of Cracking the Code, we’ll dive deep into what those optimizations are, and how they work.

Along the way, we’ll elaborate, for the first time, a complete system for advanced picking that unites a vast roster of all-time great players. Season 2 follows the thread that connects Yngwie and Eddie Van Halen, Eric Johnson and Albert Lee, Shawn Lane, Michael Angelo Batio, John McLaughlin, Steve Vai, Rusty Cooley, Al Di Mieola, Paul Gilbert, and so many more. It’s going to be an amazing ride. Read More

Unplugged and Overcranked

By codenews, News 9 Comments

The design of our smartphone camera mount has taken a quantum leap of sophistication in its most recent iteration. In fact, it has matured to such an extent that we’ve been using it in our own projects here at Cracking the Code. We recently produced a series of special features spotlighting Season 2 picking techniques in various musical styles. Read More

The Code Crescendo

By News One Comment

Word of the Code has been ricocheting around the Internet, from Facebook to forums to sites like Guitar Noize. We love reading your comments and emails, and following the discussion that’s been happening around the show. Every one of you who identifies with the project validates all the work we’ve put into this. And we’ve recently gotten some pretty awesome further validation from the web server behemoths and Internet at large: we’re now on the first page of Google results for “Cracking the Code”! Read More

Introducing the Code Archive

By codenews, News 14 Comments

2018 Update:

If you’re finding this post via search (or heroic blog-dive) please note that the Code Archives are a legacy product, no longer available in the form described below. They were, however, an important predecessor to our Masters in Mechanics interviews — of which you can find many on the Interviews page, with more coming soon!

—The Cracking the Code Team

The Cracking the Code project is the most comprehensive investigation of picking technique ever undertaken. And now, we’re making the raw materials of that investigation available for you to watch, study, and enjoy. Today we’re officially launching the Code Archive, the most unique collection of high-speed analytical guitar footage ever assembled, and a rare opportunity to study world-class technique up close and in action.
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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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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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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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Cracking the Code is Back! (What Took You So Long?)

By codenews, News 32 Comments

One Thing Leads to Another


50 SHADES OF GRADY: Why do we guitarists inflict the pain of practice upon ourselves?

Did you ever get out to the parking lot, realize you forgot the milk and the eggs, and have to go all the way back inside? It’s just like that time you had that killer idea to film those guitar players in slow motion, and print it up on a DVD. But then you realized you left out the truckload of technical research necessary to understand it all, and, on top of that, the historical backstory explaining why anyone even cares about this stuff in the first place. Totally — happens all the time!

And so it is that a simple idea born in the era of spinning optical discs grew into the most detailed investigation of picking technique ever put to internet video: Cracking the Code, the series.

Across three seasons, and more than five hours of in-depth historical and mechanical analysis — and, for that matter, five hours of plain old fun — the puzzle of plectrum dominance is expounded, unraveled, and finally mastered.

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A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far, Far Away

By News 7 Comments

Once upon a few billion years past, a chance lightning strike on the roiling seas of an empty world synthesized the tiny germ of an idea: a plot to unravel the secrets of guitar pick mechanics. From that moment, a mad accretive genesis ensued, piling idea upon idea, giving rise to the florid tangles of jungles, the heaving throngs of cities, the sandy spires of the pyramids, the…

…er, the sound of my alarm going off? (Queue the iPhone “Marimba” jingle.)
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