As part one in a long series of interviews with YouTube’s most popular guitar players, we had the pleasure of talking with Ryan from 60 Cycle Hum and asking him a few questions about what got him and Steve started, and of course, guitars.
With this series, we hope to shed light on how many of these incredibly popular YouTube guitarists, all with varied backgrounds, got to where they are today. Whether they moved from a live stage to the screen or never toured the country, many of these YouTube personalities are becoming “rock stars” or “guitar heroes” in their own distinct way.
Don’t forget to like, subscribe, and follow all of our 60 Cycle Hum’s videos and podcasts, you won’t be disappointed!
Matt: Hi Ryan, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us! What inspired you to start the whole 60 Cycle Hum YouTube channel and pod cast and really your whole career in the guitar world? Especially because you are coming at it from a surf- and church-rock inspired angle unlike many of your peers.
“Well the podcast started because my co-host Steve and I would sit at our desk jobs and send craigslist ads back and forth to each other all day. Around the same time, we both started listening to podcasts, and we looked at each other and said well, we’re kind of already doing that now, we just need to actually record it. So, we spent about 6 months joking about it, and once we figured out a name for the show, we started doing it. We already had mic’s and basic recording experience so it was easy to jump into.
As far as moving to YouTube and demos, it kind of just naturally progressed from doing the podcast. A friend of ours visited JHS and I said “hey bring me back some pedals” like jokingly and when he came back he actually brought back some pedals for us. I had already got into doing video production work, and I figured if people were gonna start giving me pedals than I need to shoot video coverage of them. And it just kinda grew out of that, I’ve realized it’s something I really enjoy doing. It’s just kinda slowly grown over the past five years.”
Matt: You do some really cool, not necessarily complex but awesome modifications. You have made a Fender Flying V, you fixed up the Epiphone SL1…What is your favorite build that you’ve ever done for the channel?
“Oh man, this is a hard question. My most functional one I did before I started the podcast, it’s a Mexican Strat body with a baritone Telecaster neck on it. The modifications I’ve done to the Squier Bullet Mustang have been a ton of fun for me. I just did a bunch of paint modifications to it, then I threw in a kill switch and then I dropped in an noatronic expression system into it. It’s a bare bones, good playing, cheap guitar so you can do a lot to it and not feel bad about it.“
Matt: I also loved the Harley Benton Mustang-style one, and you did the self-cut pickguard.
“That one was a lot of fun. I think what I like the most about that one is that I didn’t like the guitar stock when it arrived. The pickups were kinda ehh, the hardware needed help, like it was a really cheap version of an offset tremolo. But now that I have a pickup in it that I like and did some cosmetic modifications, I really like that guitar!”
Matt: One thing I also noticed about your podcast and your videos, more so in the videos, is that you’ve done a lot of work with more affordable guitars. Did you start that partly out of a market inefficiency where people weren’t covering them? Did you just not wanna go out and get Gibson’s and Fender’s?
“It’s a lot of things. I think that I’ve always had an attraction and a love for affordable guitars. I have a bit of an ADD mentality for guitars, I play one for a little while and then I want to shift to another. That’s a lot easier to do with affordable guitars. If I was going to be someone who only spent more than $1500 on a guitar, I’d only buy a new guitar every 3 years. With $200 guitars you can buy a new one almost every month and just keep putting them back into the market and doing experiments with them.
I want to try every single guitar that there is and cheap guitars happen to be what I can afford to that. And there is this niche in the YouTube market for that, I don’t see a lot of people doing what I’m doing where I buy a cheap guitar and spend 5 or 6 videos doing mods to it or exploring it and demoing it.”
Matt: Money aside or modifications aside, if the Fender or Gibson Custom shop was going to build you a dream guitar, what would you pick?
“I play surf rock and a lot of more classic/retro music, but I started out, my very first guitar was this Floyd Rose, 24 frets, shred kind of thing. That’s one thing I really like about the Harley Benton guitars, they all have really flat radius. I’ve always wanted a guitar that has that early ‘60s look like a Jaguar or Vox Phantom, but is like a secret shredder. Like a Jaguar with a Wizard neck on it or something. And a pickup that is wound just a little bit too hot. Like some sort of a Jazzmaster or Jaguar that is secretly hot rodded to be a fast player and high output with some sort of ridiculous metal flake look.”