What's the story with Troy Grady?

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by Stilicho, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. Stilicho

    Stilicho SS.org Regular

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    I've just found Troy Grady's "Crack the Code" series and I was wondering if anyone has ever bought any of his materials and found them useful?

    I'm interested in the idea of someone breaking down the mechanics of picking but the website gives off strong snake-oil salesman vibes. The other thing is that I can't imagine anything ground-breaking that guitarists don't already know, and his "pickslanting" series seems to just be a 5 hour elaboration on economy picking from what I've been reading.

    I'm a decent enough guitarist, but I've been struggling to push my sixteenth note scales past 195bpm and I'm not sure if this is a technique issue or if I just need to practice more. (I've been easing off of metronome practice to learn more songs recently.) So I guess I'm getting a little greedy and looking for "secrets" when I should know better...

    Anyway, any and all opinions are welcome!
     
  2. cwhitey2

    cwhitey2 BlackendCrust Metal™

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    He's legit.

    Ben Eller loves him and I love Ben so he equals win.

    But really I have tried to get into him and it's not for me...
     
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  3. Randy

    Randy ROOMFORYOUROOMFORYOUROOMFORYOU Super Moderator

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    Pickslanting is not economy picking, it's alternate picking and changing your pick angle based on optimizing where your pick winds up when you switch strings during fast runs.

    Essentially, picking perfectly flat or with the wrong slant for your run makes it so you're stuck between two strings and have to 'jump' one string (imagine an ascending 3NPS run, starting with picking down) on your way to the next. Being conscious of your pick slanting makes it so you're ''outside" the strings on your way to the next one. I know somebody who worked at it and it was a legitimate 'ah ha' immediate jump in his optimal speed.

    To Grady and his methods overall, he makes very well produced lessons (some of the best editing I've seen, well beyond much bigger companies). There's also something to be said about the mechanical analysis he employs, much like analyzing the mechanics of an athlete vastly effects their performance. His introductory docs on YT (the stuff about Yngwie for example) make a convincing appeal as to why analyzing mechanics matter.
     
  4. Stilicho

    Stilicho SS.org Regular

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    Thanks guys, I watched a bit of Ben Eller and he's pretty great so I'll look into some free material I can find on pickslanting and see if I find it worth buying.

    Thanks for clarifying what pickslanting is as well Randy, people like you are why I've been using this forum to find answers to all my questions for the past 4 years and finally made an account last week to get more involved in the community.
     
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  5. skmanga

    skmanga SS.org Regular

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    Ive seen him break down and analyze a players technique at a very micro level!
    For a self taught guy whos made many technique mistakes throughout the years, his videos are awesome.
     
  6. groverj3

    groverj3 Biologist/Guitarist

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    I had a similar inclination when I first saw his videos, it looked almost "too well produced" to be legit. However, his technique analysis is most definitely not snake oil. It's legit.

    Honestly, I never paid for his real lessons and exercises, but just the idea of pick slanting immediately made so much sense to me. It explained perfectly why I wasn't getting more accurate by simply repeating exercises ad nauseum with a metronome. I'm not sure why I never intuited how to improve my technique like this, but maybe because my teachers in the past, or video lessons I'd seen, were guys that just magically figured it out on their own without instruction at that micro of a level and figured that things like this come naturally. Or, and I think it's more likely, they simply never bother to really analyze their own technique to see what they do.

    I heard so much nonsense from teachers, and other people, who claimed to know how to improve your technique and none of it has ever held up:

    Person 1: "You must pick fast how you pick slow. It's what I do!"
    Me: *Watches intently* "Nope, full of shit. That is not what you're doing."

    Person 2: "You must play with a closed hand to be fast."
    Me: "Obviously nonsense, more players don't play like that."

    Person 3: "Pick only with this one particular wrist motion."
    Me: "Explain player x y or z that doesn't do that and is better than you."

    Person 4: "Always avoid 'inside' the strings picking."
    Me: *Watches other, better, players* "Clearly not everyone thinks this is hard."

    etc...

    The pick-slanting/crosspicking stuff isn't the only way to improve your picking mechanics, but at least it makes sense and I've seen results in my own playing after I took some time to actually invest in doing it. Not that I always do it consistently, but I'm not even sure that's the point. To use the appropriate pick-slanting technique when necessary seems reasonable.

    I think that guitar instruction is still pretty awful when it comes to technique compared to lots of other instruments out there. Too much emphasis on "play this lick a billion times and slowly increase the settings on your metronome" and not enough "this is how you position your hand, and this is the motion to make in this situation, backed up with examples and clear demonstrations."

    This was kind of a rant, but TLDR: Troy Grady's stuff is definitely worth a watch even if you don't want to shell out money.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
  7. QuantumCybin

    QuantumCybin Lost In Thought

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    Gotta throw in a +1 for Troy, his free Cracking the Code series on YouTube is like watching a informative TV show; it’s edited so well and really goes deep into techniques and also a little bit of biography on Grady’s journey as a guitar player himself. The pick slanting technique is explained super in depth, and it helps with the really great animations that he puts in to show exactly how changing the angle or slant of your pick helps to eliminate wasted energy down to the atomic level :lol:

    I still play like shit, but hey, the videos are fantastic and if you’re actually motivated to become a better player you’ll get a lot out of them!
     
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  8. Stilicho

    Stilicho SS.org Regular

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    Just an update for everyone: I found a torrent of Cracking the Code: Season One and it's great. It gives a narrative of guitar history as well as giving a great insight into this "pickslanting" technique which is a big help to my alternate picking speed. I could play fast already, but it's nice to escape from the economy picking technique that I assumed was the be-all-and-end-all of playing fast.

    Plus, like everyone said, the production is unbelievably good. I'll probably subscribe when I get paid. Great content and thanks for getting me to look into it!
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
  9. prlgmnr

    prlgmnr ...that kind of idea

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    Season 1 is all on Youtube anyway.
     
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  10. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Why bother? Season 1 and 2 are available for free on YouTube.

    I'm a Cracking the Code subscriber - I'd been a fan of his series on Youtube for a while now, and figured he was doing good enough work that even if I didnn't get a ton of mileage out of the added content, it would at least be money spent to support something that I'd already felt like I'd gotten my money's worth. Besides, I was recoverign from shoulder surgery (still am, it was January of this year), so I figured it was a perfect opportunity to unlearn bad habits.

    As far as what you get for your money, I'd say that most of the critical observations Troy has made about picking technique are covered in Seasons 1 and 2. What a membership gets you is 1) a LOT more detail, particularly on how Yngwie's picking technique actually informs a lot of his fretting hand decisions, which is pretty fascinating stuff, and 2) some really good deep dives on a number of other artists, which helps drive home the point that there's no one right solution, but rather there's a lot of different ways to go about picking mechanics, and if you've been playing for a long time, odds are you have at least a partially-formed solution to string changes in your picking mechanic so you can focus on finding ways to improve and enhance what you're already doing, rather than relearning a whole new technique. In my particular case, it turned out that what I was doing was actually a fairly well-formed crosspicking mechanic not too dissimilar from Andy Wood's, and that by dialing out a little bit of excess supplination and more consciously embracing the slightly arc'd mechanic, I was able to smooth things out a fair amount.

    As an aside, his site's forum is free to the public, and while it's not too busy and while there's a range of abilities and understanding about picking mechanics there, there's also some REALLY good info in there.

    I'm of the mindset that this is the single best thing they've produced:


    You're gonna think I'm crazy at first, but trust me - the ability to start to deconstruct the mechanical process that drives your particular pick stroke is incredibly powerful, and it's cool when you suddenly begin to see how all the various parts fit together.

    So yeah... I get that it sounds a lot like "this one weird trick will improve your guitar playing!" but Troy's doing pretty impressive work, and it's helped me a lot. Besides, the first season in particular is just fun - it brings me back to being a teenager in my bedroom playing guitar, and the feeling of hearing something that just leaves your jaw on the floor.
     
  11. Stilicho

    Stilicho SS.org Regular

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    >Why bother? Season 1 and 2 are available for free on YouTube.
    Lol, I've gotten into such a bad habit of torrenting everything I want that I didn't even think of checking YouTube.
     
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  12. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Subscribe to his youtube channel, there's a lot of good content over and above the seasons he posts.

    Also, if you like something, pay for it. :lol: Support good creative work, for god's sake! :lol:
     
  13. Stilicho

    Stilicho SS.org Regular

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    What I usually do is torrent something to try it out - well, just if I can't find a demo - then I buy them. I bought TH3 for example after the demo blew me away. Don't worry, I know the importance of encouraging good content makers when there's so much crap out there :lol:

    And I subbed to the channel there, lots of good stuff for free.
     
  14. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Yeah, honestly what first really caught my attention on thge CtC stuff wasn't all the pickslanting/edgepicking/stringhopping/etc stuff which DOES read a lot like sales-y jargon, so much as his transcription of a run Vai plays at the start of the Crossroads duel scene, which was both really well put together as a production, but also an impressively thoughtful, analytical, and well-reasoned deconstruction of the run. He's a very methodical student of the guitar, and brings a lot of thought into his work - and it shows.
     
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  15. Stilicho

    Stilicho SS.org Regular

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    I agree, the sales jargon really turned me off at the start. Yep that was the first thing I saw when I went to the channel and it's a great exposition on Steve Vai's technique. I'm actually pretty excited to work through more of his content. Should be a big help with pushing my alternate picking past 200bpm.

    I'll make a note to try to keep this thread updated with a before/after comparison after I have a few weeks/months to focus on my alternate picking speed since I have plenty of free time over the next few months.
     
  16. Semi-pro

    Semi-pro SS.org Regular

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    Very good and in-depth material. All the clips are totally worth watching. HOWEVER, I made the stupid mistake of buying the season pass before I realized that you can see all the material on youtube. Just a few tabs for your buck to the licks that he already shows in the episodes. "Well, at least he's going through some interesting artists in the future episodes" I thought. Now 2+ years have passed by and they're trying to milk more money with all these different stuff (masters of mechanics etc) instead of going on with the series.

    All in all, good material but everything that's out there for free is already covering all the important stuff.
     
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  17. prlgmnr

    prlgmnr ...that kind of idea

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    I don't know if Masters in Mechanics is so much "milking more money" as "presenting unprecedented insights in to the techniques of a range of players" but one man's something is another's something else as they say.
     
  18. Semi-pro

    Semi-pro SS.org Regular

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    Sure, but wasn't that supposed to be the original idea of Cracking the Code more or less? MoM is literally the reason the show has come to a halt. I asked about it a long time ago and the reply was that coming up with MoM was necessary in order to continue the show. In other words, ask money from a new service in order to produce the other content you've already received the money for. I don't care what it's called, but doesn't seem too contradictory to having the "snake oil" word pop up above.

    Honestly, I'm very happy for all the content Troy has put out. I much rather have it than nothing similar at all :) But they shouldn't have taken advance payments of something that they still haven't been able to deliver.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2018
  19. USMarine75

    USMarine75 Doc McStuffins (*Block version, not sig) Contributor

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    He's a Yale nerd who took all of the old REH type vids and broke them down like they were the Zapruder film and discovered common trends among many of the 80s/90s shredders.

    But, the really great thing about Troy (subscriber here) is that he is open to other techniques. He's not pushy about how DWPS is the only way to achieve speed and accuracy. His episode with Martin Miller and his technique is probably my favorite, because he's gushing over a guy that only mildly uses his DWPS and mostly uses other styles.

    The main complaint I hear is that he is long winded. But he's a technique nerd and you can see he genuinely LOVES this stuff. He also has the older Cracking the Code, which is more of a slickly produced historical documentary of pick slanting, verses the newer technique episodes which cover the same material but are more to the point.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2018
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  20. Stilicho

    Stilicho SS.org Regular

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    I'm really not complaining about him being long-winded, it's actually a joy just to watch the videos and enjoy the story-telling aspect.
     

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