The Mika Tyyskä interview is here!


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It’s time to enjoy the spellbinding sounds of an amazing musician who also happens to be an internet pioneer.

Mika Tyyskä is the creator of the Guitar Shred Show, an ingeniously inventive Flash animation that took the incipient guitar internet by storm over ten years ago. In the Shred Show, intrepid Web 2.0 surfers could use their keyboards to control a shredding avatar named Mr. Fastfinger. Armed with a battery of '80s-inspired licks, the sensei-like Fastfinger waged musical warfare against an accordion playing demon who had possessed a horde of finger-tapping dwarves. The concept was clearly insane.

And insanely fun.

The game’s cartoon sensibility and musical sophistication was instantly endearing. And thanks to some clever Flash h4x0ring, its surprisingly responsive controls made it addictive to play even with the more limited connection speeds of the day.

Spiritually, the Shred Show was both cutting-edge and unabashedly nostalgic. It was filled with musical references to a golden age of heroes that had continued to inform guitar stardom even among those who were too young to have a wardrobe stocked with Spandex leggings. In other words, the Guitar Shred Show had all the ingredients of an internet phenomenon. And succeed it did, taking root in the nascent social media landscape during a fertile time after broadband but before YouTube.

More importantly, it served as the launchpad of a musical career for the Finnish art student and polymath wizard who was its creator. In our interview with Mika, we talk about the origins of the Fastfinger project, and his musical evolution since that time. He graciously performs two of his awesomely lyrical compositions, Be Wind My Friend and Effortless. In fact, Effortless is complete with the same synchronized visuals you’d see at a Fastfinger show. Mika also gives us a tour of the truly inspiring sounds on his pedalboard, affirming that his artistry extends to the brushes and colors he uses, and not just the subjects he paints.

Our interview with the amazing Mike Tyyskä is ready to watch for Cracking the Code subscribers, right here on the Cracking the Code platform.


FYI, we’re working on tablature but clips are all up in Soundslice and interview is of course ready to roll.


Aw yeah. I thought the Mr. Fastfingers cartoons were way older than that (I could have sworn I remembered them from college, which would put them almost 20 years ago), but I remember thinking they were cool as hell. I’ll try to check this out tonight!


Can’t wait to watch this. Mika is incredible and I think his tone is fantastic!


That’s for damn sure. He gets some really great sounds out of that rig. Unfortunately we’ve got no shots of the pedalboard but we’ll get him on a live broadcast soon so he can show us what it all looks like.


Nice to have him!! His phrasing is so insane, i love it!


I’ve seen Mika play in about the year 1990. They were two guys, the other one must have been his friend he mentions at 53:20.

It was unreal. They were teens and they played better than any Finnish guitar hero we had ever heard.

Their last number was a folk song called ”Säkkijärven polkka”, at extreme tempo:

Mika played the lead and the rhythm guitar was played with pure arpeggios, all the time. I did not even know back then that guitar could be played like that. I had to ask Mika after the show and he explained the concept briefly. We were all still with our jaws at the floor so Mika must have thought we were just a very stupid audience :slight_smile:

I’ve followed Mr. Fastfinger ever since the original Flash thing, but I still don’t know the name of the other guy. He had a scalloped Charvel and he was like water: shapeless, flowing, effortless. A natural guitar player, just like Mika said.

But guess what? Säkkijärven polkka is an accordion song…


When will this interview be available on the Gumroad store @Brendan? I’m looking now and don’t see it, the most recent thing is the Andy Wood acoustic interview.


Probably never! We’re moving to self hosted downloads that will hopefully no longer require the jump over to another web site. We’re still working on that but will probably have downloads of a user’s existing purchases working right from their account this week.

Unclear when we will have new product downloads available working from our own site/store. If you’re interested in this one I would recommend a subscription anyway. Lots of new stuff to watch beyond this.


Thanks @Troy. I’ll wait until the Joe Stump interview comes online then I will subscribe. I don’t want to subscribe now for say six months and then no Joe Stump interview. The Mika and Joe interviews are the two ones that I’ve been waiting on the most.



Man this guy is so rad. I’ve never seen a Finn smile so much. He’s one of my favourite new(ish) discoveries right now.


Hi Troy, I had the same question. Found the Mika interview under “Credits.” Thanks for the clarification.


Presumably related to the platform changes @Troy and @Brendan have hinted at, I found mine not under “Credits” like past downloads, but already added to “Downloads”.

Only feedback is that there’s no longer a “date added” column in the “Downloads” table, so I had to “manually” know that there’s a new download available, know it’s name, and fnd that name in the list. I get there are compromises to be made re: how much information to cram into the screen, but the ability to sort by release date would be really handy. Or maybe have a separate “my-account” sublink for “newest 5 downloads” or similar, where I can tell at a glance what I don’t have yet (if anything).


Well, that was fast! We just turned this on about ten minutes ago. So yes you can now access file downloads from your account under “Downloads”. It’s greatly simplified. Just click to download files immediately, with no journey to another web site.

Previously you had to get a “credit” for something, then go over to Gumroad and “buy” the item for zero dollars. It was an annoying hack. So from now on, you can mostly ignore the “Credits” section.

We don’t have dates on products. We’ll think about sorting these some way. But someone who buys a bunch of a la carte items right now doesn’t really care what date those items came out in the distant past, only when they bought them. If anything, a date reflecting when you got access to that item, like a purchase, but not actually a purchase, is probably what you’re looking for, and that’s… more complicated!


Haha. We’re sneaky like that.

I like seeing the “You Got ____” emails in my inbox. For those of us that are driven to distraction and don’t always pick up on things in a timely fashion, the meta notice is awesome. Something similar would be much appreciated!

Coincidentally, just bugged a synth plugin maker to update their UI. As the years roll by and number of small, intangible cloud based items increase, nice to have the reassurance of being able to inventory easily.

Thanks for providing such amazing value over these past however many, many months. :slight_smile: Peace, Daniel


Was the Mika interview the final interview to be done outside of your new studio?


Almost but not quite! More recently we also filmed interviews with Frank Gambale and Brendon Small in LA earlier this year.

We’re glad to be able to do most things now in the new studio, as it’s a lot easier for us to have a consistent setup all in one place. But we may still travel for interviews on occasion in the future if / when logistically necessary.


Interesting interview, although Not as technique orientated as I thought it was going to be.


I had to pause this at 26 mins to come over here and bust your chops a little. Everything he is telling you is music from a artistic standpoint. He is talking about characters, playing what a character would be doing, he doesn’t have a “bag of licks” for stuff… music is imagination man… you look at what you are doing and imagine.


Are you talking about the part of the interview where I’m trying to figure out his fretboard map? I can see why you might feel this way - talking about improvisation is one of those sacred cows the way picking technique used to be. But the truth is you don’t just ‘imagine’ it and do it. Otherwise every player with ‘imagination’ would be equally eloquent on guitar, with a huge vocabulary of awesome things to play from every spot on the neck, no matter what chord is playing, and no matter what chord comes next.

Instead, there is a process at work of how he visualizes notes on the board. And great improvisers have a better view of this, so that they both have a bigger world of ideas to draw from, and better access to those ideas no matter where they are. So far what we’re seeing in our interviews is that their visualization is a mish mash of conscious and subconscious - even when you’re talking to really technical players like Gambale or Oz Noy. I’m trying to pull out the subconscious parts here and I’m absolutely still learning what questions to ask to get someone to where they can verbalize a subconscious thing. In no way am I great at this yet!

We do eventually get a little insight into how Mika thinks. He basically sees certain spots as home bases, in a CAGED sort of way, with some overlap to the frets immediately left and right on the neck. I don’t think we really got to the bottom of how he knows where the new notes are when the harmonies change out from under him.

Again, I’m still learning what questions work and don’t work with players on this subject. But there is no question in my mind at this point that you need a visualization system to be a good improviser, and that someone can be both very creative and pretty technical with harmony as a composer, and still not be very good at on-the-fly improv without it.