January 31, 2022 4 min read
Ryan Guzman runs Gear Fever, a wonderful YouTube channel that offers demos of a wide array of gear in order to make it easier for guitarists to choose products that will help them get closer to their personal signature sound. We asked him a few questions to get a sense of what inspires and influences his content creation process.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and Gear Fever. How did you get started with this project? What was the initial idea behind it?
I picked up the guitar when I was 16 and was largely self-taught. I went to school for music, and Gear Fever has become a great outlet for creativity. My hobby - or obsession - with guitars and gear continued to grow into my adult years, and eventually my time playing at church now and then wasn’t enough. That’s where the idea for Gear Fever came from. I had a lot of ideas, pictures, and gear, and I was looking for an outlet to use it all (and I didn’t want to flood my personal Instagram page with guitar gear. So, Gear Fever was born! I didn’t have any goals or anything when I started but as opportunities came, I went for it. It’s been awesome!
When you're doing demos, what are your strategies for highlighting the unique aspects of each piece of gear? Do you find anything in particular especially challenging or rewarding?
I try to highlight the pedal both sonically and visually. I think that the look and design of guitar gear is what initially draws us to some gear. So, if I can make it look good, hopefully people will think I sound good too! When it comes to showing off the sounds of the gear, I really let the gear speak for itself. I very rarely do any post production to the audio. What you hear in my demos is exactly what the pedal sounds like. I walk through every element of a pedal - twist every knob, flip every toggle, and stomp every switch. I'm not the best player in the demo world, so my goal is to make a demo that's concise, honest, and informational. I let the listener form their opinions with their ears.
What got you interested in music more generally? Do you have any musical roots or memories that you'd like to share?
I grew up in a musical family. My parents and grandparents were musicians. I am originally a drummer! I started drumming when I was 8 years old and that was my main instrument for most of my childhood. Guitar didn't become my main instrument until college. I think that my drummers background really helps me to lock in with the groove and play guitar very rhythmically-minded.
What is your favorite thing about working in the industry? Do you have any interesting stories from working in music?
I'd say I'm "industry-adjacent," not fully "in" the industry. But, by FAR the best part of running Gear Fever has been the relationships I've formed and the friendships I've made. I've become friends with some of my favorite brands, builders, players, and content creators who I admired before Gear Fever existed. The guitar community is very small and tight, and one of the most gracious and welcoming groups of people. Very chill group of guys, and I'm so thankful to be a part of the group and contributing to the culture.
On your website you ask people to describe their "desert island rig" - what's yours? Is there any gear that you absolutely love working with?
Oh man, this changes regularly! I'll give you a few answers here...
1. My dream rig if money was no option: '64 Jazzmaster, '68 Princeton, and a Blues breaker.
2. Dream rig, from what I own: Novo Serus J, Benson Monarch, Browne Protein
What's your favorite thing about making content? If you had unlimited creative freedom and budget and could produce any kind of musical content, what would you make?
Best thing about making content is having access to more gear! I've been blessed to be able to get to demo and receive lots of gear since I started making demos. I've really been able to hone in on what I like and what I don't like. Also, photography and videography has become a very unexpected side passion that I didn't have before! The camera world is very similar to the guitar world - gear driven, very nerdy, and expensive!
If I could be producing any kind of musical content, it would for sure be an album. I don't know what, but the thought of getting to be with friends, writing, creating, recording, releasing, and performing original music is a dream.
What are your top three artists right now? Any favorite albums?
Always a tough question! Right now, I'm listening to a lot of Silk Sonic (This is Silk Sonic) John Mayer (Where the Light Is: Live from LA) and I've had a big Paramore - (all of their stuff, pre-breakup) resurgence recently.
What is something non-music related that you find significant or important?
I recently hosted a huge fundraiser with a few other demo guys to raise money and awareness for Testicular Cancer. We had 20+ brands and shops from Cottonwood and Sam Ash, to Gibson and Chase Bliss. We raised over $16k for The Testicular Cancer Society. 5 months ago I was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer and the last 5 months have been absolutely crazy - diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy, and I'm still in recovery. Fortunately, I'm all done with my chemo, and my situation was not that bad because we caught it early. But, it's so important to get yourself checked! TC is the #1 form of cancer for men from 15-35. Stay safe out there, people!
Gear Fever is our favorite demo channel, and we hope that we've answered some of your questions about how these demos come to be made. Consider checking our Ryan's channel the next time you're on the fence about buying some gear. If you're a buyer, brand or builder looking to view or commission new content, you can find him on YouTube or Instagram.
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