Basic vs Paid Membership, what's available

Are any of theTuttle, Grier or Miner videos (or any players demonstrating techniques with clean electric tones) in the basic member video area? The only thing I’ve found is a 12 minute introduction video, and the brief bit of playing was so distorted it was impossible to follow even at slow speed. On a technique-oriented site I’d expect the majority of the videos to feature clean playing (you can add distortion, but not take it away). I’m not looking for “all bluegrass” by any means, just clarity. And, as mentioned, where to find the basic material (unless that one video was it); I can’t see subscribing based on a few minutes of camera work, a bit outline-style text and a sales pitch, if that’s all the "basic membership " consists of.

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There are interview excerpts and lesson materials by these players and many more all over Troy’s YouTube channel.

Have fun!

Sorry for the confusion - we’ll try to make it clearer what things you can watch on the site, and we’ll try to make sure a variety of stuff is available for those who are still looking around.

For now, if you’re looking for large quantities of stuff, as @element0s points out, the YouTube channel is a good place to start. If you’re into grassy sounds, we have a few entire interviews up there with Andy Wood since we streamed them live. This for example, both mando and acoustic:

Obviously, there is no slow motion or tablature here, since this was done live. And without my 88mph DeLorean, we’re out of luck on including that. However the edited version of this on our web site has all of that and honestly, it’s great. We get to the bottom of what Andy is doing mechanically, and we got such a good look at this, that we have included some of that footage in later lessons we have done since that time.

Edit: I see you asked about Molly and David - we do have two very nice Molly clips up on the YT channel:

Disagree strongly. Note attack and muting are so different on high gain that playing that way counts as a skill in itself. It’s always obvious when I sit down with someone who primarily practices clean, because when they click on the overdrive it’s a wall of noise and the pick attack is all over the map.

So I like both, and do lots of each. Clean practice gives you dynamics control, and dirty tone practice gives you high gain tone control and open-string noise control. You may even need to switch grips / edge picking setups, anchor points, and so on, for each. Whole different animals.

When it’s appropriate, we totally do clean tone stuff. In fact our last two subscriber broadcasts are clean tone because they were crosspicking related. You can find those here:

…and you can find some excerpts of the second one, again, on our YouTube channel:

Some of the stuff on wrist motion I now consider so important, that we put the first of these broadcasts, the wrist crosspicking one, in our getting started guide. You can find that here, and that may also provide some insight into how we recommend you begin the technique side of things on our site:

Again, we’ll take a look at streamlining things for new members. Even if not everything is playable with a free account, our goal was exposing as much as possible so you can get a sense of what there is. I feel like most sites put none of this - it’s all paywall and leap of faith, and personally I’m not into that. We’ll try to get this even more transparent moving forward.


Some people say playing with distortion is easier because they claim distortion "hides mistakes.’ However, there are plenty of examples where distortion makes mistakes sound worse and more noticeable than if the tone had been clean. Ritchie Blackmore described playing a guitar through a distorted Marshall stack to “controlling a wild elephant.” Yngwie Malmsteen has said that people who say his tone sounds clean and not distorted at all, when plugging into his guitar, amp and effects experience all sorts of problems controlling the feedback and distortion. His set-up certainly doesn’t sound clean for those other people who have tried to play it! The way Yngwie plays through a heavily distorted set-up and manages to get such a clean sounding tone through it that there are people who think he doesn’t use distortion is a tremendous art in itself!

So, overall, which animal do you think is harder to control and sound musical with: Playing electric guitar with a clean tone or with a high gain tone? I think when you consider the need to control feedback, noise from open strings, and the need to have a good muting technique in place for both hands, especially the fretboard hand, it’s harder to sound accurate, well articulated and above all, musical, through a heavily distorted set-up than through a clean tone set-up.

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While I generally agree that controlling feedback, muting etc. is a huge challenge, for me which sound is “harder” to use really depends on the type of phrase/song!

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That’s a valid point since there are songs for which a distorted tone wouldn’t even sound good at all! I suppose my comment you referenced was brought about by players who are primarily acoustic guitarists who say how much more difficult what they do is compared to playing an electric guitar with a high gain tone. Well, I guarantee you that if you take a guitarist who has never played anything but an acoustic guitar before and have him play through Yngwie Malmsteen’s or Zakk Wylde’s rig, they’re going to sound awful unless they stick with it and eventually learn to control the distortion and the problems a heavily distorted, high volume set-up presents!

I play clean, distorted and acoustic and I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. FWIW I know few guitarists that play ONLY distorted - so why have the free examples in a more stylistically specific tone? IMO it’s very difficult to clearly hear the “slowed” snips in the intro video. My point is there are NO “clean” examples anywhere on the site accessible to those with basic accounts You directed me you YouTube videos, but that doesn’t have the organization of the site - it’s hit or miss . But critically your ignoring my main point: as far as I can tell NONE of the foundation material the entire “Cracking the Code” site is based on is accessible with a basic account nor can any be found on YouTube. If we want to understand any of the basic mechanics and terminology the entire site is based on it costs money - yet advanced videos are free on YouTube. Sorry but I find that concept completely backwards. And even after spending time hunting and pecking through YouTube videos I’d have no grasp of the basic concepts. The materials on the site are fairly expensive (especially for anyone with a fixed income) and the marketing just doesn’t “sell” me - because you don’t explain what “language” you’re presenting things in. i.e. the mechanics and methodology - what appears to be the content of the “Motion”, “Movement” and “Primer” ). To me it seems like those should be “basic” materials with the dozens of “player specific” materials the “premium” content". But instead we can see parts of “the meal” without being told what anything is made of.

Silverface, you’re quite critical of Cracking The Code in the above post. That’s your right as everyone is entitled to his opinion. However it’s a lot easier to say something is the shits than it is to say “This is the shits and here’s why…”

You seem to believe they’re not providing you with the amount and type of free content you feel entitled to receiving. My question to you is: Why do you feel entitled to receiving any free content at all? Any free content CTC provides for you is literally a gift and you’re complaining that the gift they’re giving you isn’t good enough? In my opinion that’s both ungrateful and unrealistic. Who is offering a better deal than Cracking The Code? For that matter, who is offering you as good of a deal as CTC?

These interviews that they do for The Masters Of Mechanics cost money. These guitarists they get for those interviews don’t just take the time to be interviewed and then show their secrets to the public for free! Why then do you feel entitled to see any part of those interviews at all for free?

I never ignore anyone’s point. However, I am frequently guilty of not GETTING the point, and if that’s the case here I apologize.

What things of ours did you run across that brought you here?

Just as a bit of context, what put us on the map, so to speak, was a 12-episode web series that detailed the process of stumbling across a few key observations about picking technique, aka “pickslanting”. That was the original “Cracking the Code” web sieries, and those episodes are completely free on YouTube, and also here on our site. Much of the basic terms you may hear people using in conversations about us come from there:

Starting about Episode 9 things get more technical in describing pickslanting discoveries as they relate to Yngwie, Eric Johnson, and so on. The presentation is meant to be entertaining, and that’s true of most of the stuff we specifically produce for YouTube. But despite that it was still revelatory for a lot of people.

Other YouTube features are all collected here, and they are also all free, and cover a lot of basic stuff:

The Crossroads Diminished video is our most popular video, ever, a couple million views and counting. Many people think it’s the best explanation of two-way pickslanting we’ve done.

Our big instructional products, the Pickslanting Primer, the Volcano Seminar, the Antigravity seminar, detail those concepts in a more of an instructional style, me talking at a camera, and so on. They’re all linked right on the home page and we tried to include at least one free video someone can watch on each of those pages. If your interest is clean-tone stuff, one of the McLaughlin videos is free, and that’s acoustic. You can find that in his section of the Pickslanting Primer.

There was a not any specific attempt to make “advanced” things free and “introductory” things paid. The idea was to give you a sampling of what’s available across the site. More generally, we killed ourselves for over a year to build the site. It took thousands of lines of custom code. We wanted everything we have done displayed in an organized, attractive, easy-to-use fashion. And we specifically wanted no hidden paywall pages. If we have it, you can see it. You may not be able to watch it, but you know we have it so the intent was for there to be as few surprises as possible. We did not build a monolith that requires a credit card number to check out, because personally as a consumer I hate that.

Re: clean vs dirty tone, yes, if a line is designed to be played with gain, then I teach it that way. All the Yngwie stuff fits that bill, for example. However, again, I see value in both kinds of practice and do both kinds myself. We’ll keep that feedback in mind moving forward.

In general it sounds like you have pretty specific ideas about how you want to see things you’re considering spending hard-earned cash on. And we are always interested in that kind of feedback. I do think we can do a better job organizing stuff here. I can tell you for sure our goal in setting all this up was to be as transparent as possible. So it’s always a little ironic when prospective customers end up seemingly annoyed by stuff we spent tons and tons of time trying to present in the most open way we can.


Wow Acecrusher. Thanks for your total lack of courtesy. I never said nor implied anything is “the shits” (although I will now put your comments in that category). The personal attack was totally unwarranted - I’m new here, so you being such an asswipe and feeling entitled to speak on the behalf of the site (whether you are or not is irrelevant - you stepped in the shit, you clean your feet) aren’t exactly great selling points… I don’t KNOW what Cracking the Code offers because I don’t yet know what’s going on. I never said I was entitled to shit. My comments were based on the premise that it would seem to make sense to have the basics - terminology, methods, etc etc - available to basic members with the more advance stuff to paid members (the ones who can figure out whether they WANT it of not). The fact that various videos are scattered across YouTube is not any kind of liners “Here’s the package…THIS is what we offer” layout.

If this is the kind of treatment I could expect for 1) not having a fucking crystal ball and knowing what all the content is/how it’s organized already and 2) not immediately ringing the cash register because of the members’ feeling that it’s God’s gift to all guitarists - then screw it. I’m not going to waste my time or money, or get insulted by some self-appointed Sergeant at-Dickhead.

Troy, sorry - I won’t ask you anything else. Your serf Acecrusher ensured you don’t need to waste your time with me.

Thanks for the kind help guys.

I’m sorry for the lack of welcome you received here. Everything I wrote about us taking feedback seriously is sincere. Nobody needs to open their wallet to have their feedback listened to, and nobody speaks for us but the three of us, that being @Troy, @Adam, and @Brendan. I’m including that here just as a matter of record.

I’m closing the thread an we’ll be dealing with this offline. Sorry again for the way this rolled out.