FAQ

Getting Started

What is Cracking the Code?

What’s the best way to get started? Should I become a member, or just buy a download or three?

Okay, I like downloads and the interactive platform features — I want to have it all! Can I get both?

Do you offer private lessons?

Watching and Purchasing

How can I pay? How secure is your payment processing?

How does this site work? How do I use the member platform?

How do I access the download products I’ve purchased?

Is your site mobile friendly? How do I view my downloads on my phone or tablet?

Can I be able to buy Cracking the Code on DVD?

How do I cancel my Masters in Mechanics subscription?

I’m having trouble purchasing or accessing a product. What should I do?

Gear

Dude, what amps do you use?

What pedals do you use?

What picks do you use?

Getting Started

What is Cracking the Code?

At Cracking the Code, we make instructional material for musicians using an evidence-based approach. We conduct in-depth interviews with amazing players to understand the movements and practice habits that power their playing. We explore related topics like musical learning and motor skill acquisition, and we interview experts in those fields whose research might be useful to practicing musicians. We want to understand how playing techniques really work, and we want to know the most effective and straightforward ways to learn them.

What put us on the map is our work in breaking down picking technique, one of the most challenging and historically misunderstood subjects in guitar playing. We used slow-motion video to reveal techniques like pickslanting and crosspicking which master players use, often without realizing it, to play with supreme accuracy. These movements were almost completely overlooked before Cracking the Code. But anyone can study and practice them, without needing to be a mechanical genius.

In other words, Cracking the Code is a ton of stuff to watch and study: a wide array of interviews and lessons, thousands of musical examples, detailed technical references on playing technique, live broadcasts and help sessions, and more.

We make all this available to you in two main ways:

  • a membership platform — this site right here, you’re on it!
  • and a la carte download products

What’s the best way to get started? Should I become a member, or just buy a download or three?

If you want to watch a bunch of our stuff, we recommend subscribing. It’s the cheapest way to get started, and it still gets you access to everything. You can watch all our interviews and lessons, including over 1,000 musical examples filmed in our trademark 120fps slow-motion footage. The platform includes tablature with synchronized video playback using Soundslice, and also file downloads in PDF and Guitar Pro directly to your desktop or mobile device. We take great pains to make sure our screens adapt to any kind of device, from flat panels to phones. Finally, subscribing to our platform is the way to go if you’d like to become part of the community, as membership includes things like livestream events and forum access.

If you just want a specific product, enjoy owning files, and prefer a non-subscription option, the downloads are great too! They include downloads of all videos in HD quality, and tabs in Guitar Pro and PDF. If you’re looking for our best single purchase, we recommend Pickslanting Primer as a great introduction to the main picking concepts we cover.

We have plenty of free lessons available too. You can access these right here on our platform with a free account, and also on our YouTube channel.

If you have further questions, just shoot us a note — we’re happy to help you decide!

Okay, I like downloads and the interactive platform features — I want to have it all! Can I get both?

Yes! Our membership platform and download store work together in a couple cool ways:

  • With paid membership you’ll get a free copy of our latest download, as well as each new release that comes out during the time you are a subscriber. This is our way of saying thanks for helping make these things happen!
  • With download purchases, you’ll also get access to the corresponding section of our site for each thing you’ve bought. For example, if you’ve bought Pickslanting Primer and the Andy Wood interview, you’ll be able to view all the Pickslanting Primer and Andy Wood stuff on our site with no restrictions. You can just make a free account on our platform, and as long as you use the same email address you used for your download purchases, we will recognize you automatically.

We have plenty of customers who have both subscribed and bought downloads at various points. There’s no long-term commitment required for membership, and if you cancel you’ll still have access to your downloads forever. So you pretty much can’t go wrong!

Do you offer private lessons?

Unfortunately we’re not able to offer any private lessons — we’re just too busy!

We often get these requests from viewers who have seen a couple of our videos but are not yet familiar with all that we’ve covered. If that’s the case, we recommend you start by browsing our site and familiarizing yourself with all that we cover. In many cases, you’ll find we’ve already addressed at length exactly the thing you’re wondering about. We have a number of videos available to watch even at our free membership level.

The next step would be to subscribe to our monthly premium membership and dive into more of our material — we’ve poured everything we know into this stuff, and we really think it’s the best way to start diving deeper. We’ve also tried to make sure it’s a great value! If you prefer a la carte products, you can find those in our download store here.

There’s not much point in us looking at your technique before you’ve done your homework. But when you do take the time to go through all the material, you’re likely to find lots of basic stuff that you yourself can fix. Finally, you can always take the concepts you’re most interested in and work through them with a local teacher on whatever lesson schedule works best for you.

Watching and Purchasing

How can I pay? How secure is your payment processing?

For both Cracking the Code Membership (here on our website) and download purchases (via Gumroad) you can pay by either credit card or Paypal.

We use Woocommerce for processing subscription payments here on on site, and Gumroad for all our download products. Both use industry-standard security features and take this stuff very seriously — we should be in good hands.

How does this site work? How do I use the member platform?

To learn more about how the site works, take a look through our “Getting Started Guide” — we made this as a quick overview of how our platform works. It covers all the important info when it comes to things like navigating the site, watching videos, using Soundslice, and getting around on the forum.

Important note: depending on what you’ve bought with us, you may have an account just on Gumroad, an account here on our site, or both. These are two distinct accounts / logins, but you can use the same email for both and we’ll link your purchases to your member account!

Already have an account? Head here to log in. If you don’t have an account, create one here! Once you’re logged in, you can browse all the sections of the site right from our homepage.

How do I access the download products I’ve purchased?

When you buy something from Gumroad for the first time, you’ll be prompted to enter a password to create a Gumroad account. When you do this, all subsequent purchases with the same email/login will show up in your Gumroad Library so you have easy access to them in one place while logged in. You can then stream all your purchased videos directly from Gumroad or re-download them if you need to.

If you choose not to create a Gumroad account, you’ll still always have access to both stream and download your videos using the links in the Gumroad receipt you received immediately after purchase — so keep that in a safe place! If you lose it, though, no worries, email us and we can send it to you again.

Is your site mobile friendly? How do I view my downloads on my phone or tablet?

We’ve designed our web platform to be mobile friendly as well, and we’ve tested on a number of devices to make sure everything from videos to Soundslice to the forum is optimized for smaller screen sizes. If you catch any display bugs please let us know!

To view your download products, You should be able to simply open the Gumroad app (iOS or Android), log in, and see all the products that have already been added to your Gumroad Library. Note that you’ll be able to watch the video chapters in the app, but the slow-mo videos and PDFs are bundled as .zip files so at the moment you’ll have to use a computer to view those, or unzip first and transfer to your device using something like Dropbox.

If you don’t have a Gumroad account, you can click the “open in app” button from your email receipt and follow the instructions to have Gumroad text you a link to add the product to your library. More info on that here.

Can I buy Cracking the Code on DVD or Blu-Ray?

We don’t currently offer DVDs or Blu-rays of any Cracking the Code material. Right now our priorities are producing lessons for streaming/download, and adding awesome features to our web platform!

How do I cancel my Masters in Mechanics subscription?

Go to the Subscriptions section of your account page. If you’ve signed up directly from our site, you’ll be able to view your subscription information and cancel from this page. If you started your membership August 2017 or earlier, your subscription payments are still managed via Gumroad — you can log in there and cancel from the product page on your Gumroad library. If you have any problems with this, just shoot us a note and we can cancel your subscription manually.

I’m having trouble purchasing or accessing a product. What should I do?

If you’re having trouble with logging in or signing up for membership here on our site, drop us a note — we handle the site development ourselves and will look into the issue as soon as possible!

If you’re having difficulties with Gumroad, we’ve found one of the below solutions often does the trick:

  • It’s easy to create a Gumroad account at time of purchase, sometimes without even realizing it. If you have trouble purchasing or accessing a product, first try going to the Gumroad homepage and logging in, either with your email, or via Facebook/Twitter. Once you’re logged in, refresh the product page to purchase, or head to your Gumroad Library to view your products.
  • If that doesn’t work, you may be running into some kind of compatibility issue. Double check that your browser is up to date, and try disabling any plugins that could be causing a conflict. You also may have luck giving a different browser a try.

For further Gumroad-related technical questions/problems, you can search their Help Center, or shoot them an email — they’re quite responsive and will help you out with any other issues you’re having.

Gear

Dude, what amps do you use?

Generally, I use the Cornford Hellcat for most of our soundtrack work. I have a bunch of amps but the Hellcat is very controlled in the bass and the fizz parts of the spectrum, so I don’t low- or high-pass it at mix time.

What pedals do you use?

None. But I will almost always throw on some reverb in Logic. And if you’re looking for subtle widening on single-mic guitar tracks, our two favorite choices for that are Plugin Alliance’s Stereomaker, and Nugen Audio’s Stereoizer. We’ll sometimes even throw a dash of this on voiceover tracks as well.

What picks do you use?

Many / any. I have no strong preferences when it comes to pick choice. In our various lessons and slow-motion clips, I’ve probably used everything that’s commonly available at your local music store. And I like them all for what they are. Like most players I probably prefer a somewhat heavier pick if I have to push around heavy gauge strings. But again this is not specific, and I’ll use anything from a .7mm or so on up.

Part of the freedom of understanding how picking works is losing the superstition that certain equipment is critical to being able to play. Thankfully, when it comes to simply executing basic technique, there’s tremendous flexibility there. The rainbow of pick choices is your Crayola 64!

|