Cracking the Code - Steve Morse (2015)
Steve Morse's almost mythical musical capabilities need no introduction. Marrying blazing chops to a singular sense of hook writing creativity, his distinctive brand of rootsy American virtuosity has inspired generations of players to think outside of the pentatonic box. Morse is renowned for reeling off what he calls "un-guitaristic" lines of seemingly impossible complexity. These keyboard- and fiddle-inspired trademark phrases often consist of no more than a single note on any given string. This kind of one-note-per-string arpeggio picking is typically regarded as the domain of fingerpickers, not flatpickers. Yet the effortlessness with which Morse nails these gymnastic routines is the obvious clue that something mechanically magical is happening under the hood.
I was fortunate enough to interview Morse for the Cracking the Code documentary project, and the high-speed camera provides a rare look at the mechanical magic of his arpeggio picking technique.
Morse has written on a number of musical topics right here at Guitar World under the "Morse Code" banner. Now it's time to take a crack at identifying the elusive ingredients of his arpeggio code.
Our latest Masters in Mechanics release explores Steve Morse's mind-boggling chops and peerless creativity — including a breakdown of his seemingly-impossible one-note-per-string alternate picking technique.
It includes over two hours of in-depth investigation:
75-minute interview featuring Steve's alternate picking ingenuity
50+ minutes of our trademark in-depth analysis
48 slow-motion examples with tablature
10 minutes of fun behind-the-scenes footage