I think that we are witnessing a revolution in guitar instruction, due to Troy Grady’s genius and scientific approach. The right hand (picking hand) has been almost totally ignored until Troy shed light on it, using mechanics and lots of brilliant detective work. “Cracking the Code” is exactly that: delving into a previously arcane and unspoken area of guitar playing.
Secrecy, or arcane ‘unspoken’ information, is the way many systems ‘keep their power.’ I see this ‘unspoken’ aspect in many other areas of life, especially in social areas.
The only specific, useful information about EJ’s technique (according to my criteria) has had to be painstakingly discovered by Troy Grady.
Sure, I can see how everybody needs to develop ‘their own style,’ and that seems to be EJ’s attitude; thus his instructional videos have very little specific information about what he is doing with the notes themselves (pitches, melodic structures, riffs, rhythmic groupings). We have to go to this forum to find out any specifics, thanks to Troy’s painstaking scrutiny of slowed-down excerpts of the Austin City Limits video.
So why hasn’t Eric Johnson allowed himself to be ‘strapped to the magnet’ as one member put it?
Could it be that he doesn’t wish to reveal his secrets? I remember something Frank Zappa said, I’ll paraphrase: “Someday a younger player will come along, take all your riffs and turn them from eighth notes into sixteenth notes, and move them up a minor third.” Zappa saw that he might soon be outplayed, at least technically.
I’ve even seen EJ himself marveling at the skill of younger players (in a Rick Beato video), jokingly saying these kids can play “Cliffs of Dover” better than he can!
I haven’t disparaged Eric Johnson’s character; I know he’s a nice person. I simply said he was not the optimal teacher of the specifics of his own technique. (“The Art of Bullshit” was just Texan humor, which I’m sure EJ ‘and his people’ would understand).
Neither was Frank Zappa; his “The Frank Zappa Guitar Book” is full of daunting, complicated transcriptions done by Steve Vai, full of nested tuplets and irrational rhythmic groupings. This underscores the limitations of music notation, and the need for more picking-hand and fingering-hand information, which Troy Grady is creating with his revolutionary methods.
Of course we don’t want to see a bunch of “Eric Johnson clones” created, but on the other hand, we need specific, useful information, not vague generalities.
“Your own style” will develop on its own, regardless, because music is an expression of our being, and we are all unique beings.
Of course, we can do it “the old-fashioned way” like Troy Grady and so many other players have done: “Crack the Code” by careful slowed-down listening, and meticulous observation.
Good luck with that! I saw EJ play multiple times, as early as 1974 in small clubs, and even in close proximity his technique remained opaque to me. What is happening is too fast to be deciphered except by intense scrutiny in a recording. After all, that’s the whole idea of speed: to “blow the listener away.”