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“Cracking the Code” by Troy Grady

I browse Youtube almost daily for instructional videos about music theory, guitar exercises and other related topics and yesterday I stumbled upon the Holy Grail.

“Cracking the Code” by Troy Grady was mentioned in a comment on another Youtube video and since it had a few likes I checked it out. Holy shit, I’m so glad that I did. Troy must have put literally hundreds of hours into the series. It’s funny, gritty, accurate, interesting and tremendously helpful – a welcome alternative to the regular Youtube clickbait barrage.

Becoming a better rock guitarist in 12 (half-)steps

The series consists of 12 parts. It’s a documentary of Troy’s journey of becoming a better guitar player. The wisdom contained is useful for guitarists of all genres and skill levels, even if the historical anecdotes might be known already.

Troy describes in great detail how the legendary Casio SK-1 (a sampling keyboard) helped him to decipher many difficult riffs that hadn’t been tabbed at that time. He tells us about his tab notebook which he updated regularly. He was not just transcribing metal riffs but also music from many other genres. Because great guitar riffs can be found in any kind of music. Just remember “Beat It” with the superb shredding solo by Eddie Van Halen. It’s doesn’t get more “metal” than this unforgettable solo (starts at 3:10).

The 12 episodes have a duration of roughly 10 to 30 minutes each. The ideal dosage for a daily routine, a mental warm-up if you will. The series hints at many techniques that can be explored on the fly or later, in a real exercise.

Episode 1: Rock to the future

Episode 2: Rise of the Viking

Episode 3: A Pick and a Hard Place

Episode 4: Speed Trap

Episode 5: Los Tres Enemigos

Episode 6: Punched Out

Episode 7: Lix Et Veritas

Episode 8: Fast Forward

Episode 9: Get Down for the Upstroke

Episode 10: Inside the Volcano

Episode 11: Eric the Right

Episode 12: Conquering the Scale

Conclusion: Good shit, indeed.

I haven’t seen anyone on Youtube put so much effort into a series before. This is the kind of quality content that I thought (and wished) Youtube had been created for.

“Cracking the Code” inspires me to work harder on my skills. Things that I couldn’t wrap my head around even after hours upon hours of watching other instructional videos are now very clear. At least theoretically. The practical application of what I’m learning is of course a never-ending process and will never really be completed.

The series has been done with loads of attention to detail and Troy Grady is putting it all together very nicely. Definitely worth watching if you want to learn about standard rock guitar techniques.