Success, all want it but what is it really? Many consider success to be achieving your goals in a profitable way? This could be but goals change—almost daily sometimes—they satisfy and then they don’t anymore.
Well then, what?
Could it be that success is evidenced by the amount of joy you feel as you go through your day? Not to be confused with pleasure, but a sense of joy and peace so deep that it passes all understanding, looping back on itself to be the creative motivation that directs circumstances and situations to manifest as we have always wanted, and more. When we have it, or even a portion of it, doors open before us.
Ryan Ochsner is one for whom the door has swung open wide. Many are now proclaiming Ryan to be the luckiest man in the music business.
But is it luck?
Moving from Colorado a mere 3 1/2 years ago, Ryan arrived in Nashville intent on attending Belmont University to major in the Business of Music and perhaps play guitar. Not only did he land a gig with the mega band Lonestar only 10 months after arriving but while Lonestar takes a break, Ryan is now Kellie Pickler’s number one guitar slinger.
How did this all happen?
Already an established Anderson electric guitar player, it began right before he left for Nashville. Ryan bought a used Crowdster online from a guy who turned out to be Rooster. Ryan recognized him because he had read this earlier Guitar of the Week. Rooster was living in Nashville at the time.
Arriving in Nashville himself, and now being a multiple Anderson Guitar player/owner, Ryan enthusiastically joined the Anderson Forum, to share stories of these inspiring guitars. It wasn’t long before he met, among others, Michael Britt from the band Lonestar—also an Anderson lover and player—and also living in Nashville. Through the Anderson Forum Ryan and Michael chatted about guitars and other gear. Trading some gear, they talked on the phone. About three months later, seemingly out of the blue, Michael asked Ryan if he wanted to audition for the Lonestar gig. They met, ran through the songs together and then did the audition. It was Ryan’s understanding that this was just supposed to be a sub job for a weekend gig. Come to find out however, the previous guitar player had actually left so following the gig Michael asked Ryan if he wanted to play with them full time.
Guess what Ryan’s reply was.
The Lonestar gig went on for quite sometime, touring across the country. When Lonestar decided to take a break, Kellie Pickler snatched Ryan up in a heartbeat for her band.
Still enjoying much success, they have made appearances on many TV Shows and concerts throughout the country and toured other parts of the globe—even stopping over in Iraq to entertain and hopefully lift the troops stationed there.
Shortly after connecting with Lonestar, Ryan commissioned us to build him a rather unique Hollow T Classic-Drop Top finished in a Translucent Sparkle Plum—a plum version of our original translucent sparkle color—Sheer Gold. It is featured above.
Editor’s Note: You many have noticed that there is something different about the B saddle. After receiving the guitar, Ryan had a McVay B-Bender installed by McVay himself. This is the only one of his Andersons equipped this way.
For live acoustic guitar work Ryan relies heavily on a Crowdster and had this to say about a Lonestar gig at the Grand Ole Opry, “We played the Grand Ole Opry Saturday night. What an awesome experience. As far as I know, I think the first Anderson Crowdster to play there. And I guess the FOH Sound guys kept asking what type of guitar I was playing. They really loved the sound. Both Michael and our monitor guy told me that. Just thought you might like to know.”
Also, “I played my Crowdster on Jimmy Kimmel back in Jan. Very fun! That Crowdster sounded killer. Glad to be playing it. Thanks.”
So how is that for a story of success? How does something like this happen? What is the secret?
Is it that Ryan plays more notes that anyone else, is he faster, stronger and more prolific than anyone else alive? Perhaps, but spend more than 2 minutes with him and you will know the real reason behind it all. Instantly you are struck with his all pervasively caring, open and supportive personality. Simply put, people like him because he genuinely likes them. Imagine that. Who would have thought that in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.
We did an interview to get more details on the particulars—just in case you find it interesting or you can apply some of Ryan’s experience to your own gigging situation.
TAGW: What amp are you playing through?
Ryan: I'm using a Divided by Thirteen FTR 37 and a Dr. Z, Maz 38 out on the road. They're amazing. I've been using them through a Z Best 2x12 loaded with a Celestion V30 and a G12H30. Cabinet is pointed backwards 20 feet behind—closed back with an SM-57 mic on one of the speakers.
I've also got a Fender, Prosonic amp that I bought from Michael Britt a few years back. I've done a lot of recording with that one, and I can always rely on it.
TAGW: What is your pedal board setup?
Ryan: I've changed things around lately, and I'm still in the process of determining what exactly I'll be using next year. I'd been using a Ground Control GCX looper, a Line 6 Echo Pro, a tray of pedals, and a Tonebone Headbone Amp Head Switcher. This allowed for me to instantly switch between my two amps while only using a single speaker cab. For this next year, I've decided to go back to my Trailer Trash Pedalboard right into the amps. Some of my favorite pedals right now include the Hotcake Bluesberry, Hermida Mosferatu and Zen Drive, Keeley Compressor and Katana, Boss DC-3 Dimension Chorus, and the TC Nova Delay.
TAGW: Are you wireless onstage? If so do you find a loss of tone without cable?
Ryan: I usually am wireless. I'm using an Audio Technica 5000 series unit, and I really like it. I don't think I hear a huge loss of tone. Honestly, when we're live, there are so many things that change the tone between the point of the pick hitting the strings to the sound waves reaching the listeners’ ears. A cable is simple, reliable, and it always sounds great, but going wireless lets me move around on stage and interact with the audience more. I love being able to do that!
TAGW: Are you in-ear or wedges? Do you like this setup—why or why not?
Ryan: I am in ears. I use Westone ES3s and Sensaphonic 3D ears. I do like using ears because the mix is very consistent from day to day and you don't have to worry about standing in front of that "sweet spot" of a wedge. I can dial in the mix that I want, and it's with me during the whole show.
TAGW: Are you doing any singing?
Ryan: I am singing backup with Kellie. I really enjoy doing that as well. When they asked me if I’d like to, I just jumped in and didn’t really think about it and it is great—singing is another aspect of enjoying the show.
TAGW: What do you eat before and after the gig?
Ryan: I've been on the health kick this year, so I really try to go for some fruit or something good. It's hard to pass on the pizza after the show but I try to stay away from the greasy food late at night!
TAGW: How late do you stay up and what is your after-gig ritual—watching old movies—playing more guitar—eating again—reading Guitar of the Week for the 12th time?
Ryan: After a show, I usually am back on the bus fairly quickly. I think I'm addicted to the internet. You must have an IP address monitor or something because I do read the Guitar of the Week multiple times per day. After the show I check my e-mail, surf the net a bit and sometimes we'll watch a movie. As of recent, Kellie and I have found ourselves catching horror movies on late at night; it's kind of a love-hate thing. It’s almost painful to watch some of them, but our curiosity gets the best of us!
TAGW: Hey, who’s the other guy in the picture with you and Kellie?
Ryan: That would be Josh Henson, Kellie's lead guitar player. He is an extremely talented player, and I love working with him.
TAGW: If you could be any animal what would it be?
Ryan: I think I'd have to go with a bird of some sort—maybe an eagle. Doesn't everybody want to fly?
TAGW: Favorite food?
Ryan: Anything Asian. My favorites are Thai, Indian, and Chinese.
TAGW: Favorite band?
Ryan: Believe it or not, I'm going to go with Lonestar. I loved their music when I was growing up, and it was such a cool thing for me to be able to play and tour with them from 2005 - 2007. My favorite artists are Reba, LeAnn Rimes, Clint Black, and Celine Dion. We actually had the chance to open up for Clint this past summer, and it was an amazing time. Clint and his band were great, and I couldn't help but keep drooling over his Andersons. I'm hoping to catch Celine Dion with Andre Coutu sometime on her next tour.
TAGW: If you could only pick one, who would be your most influential guitar player?
Ryan: Dann Huff. I really admire every aspect of his playing.
TAGW: What are some of your favorite interest other than guitar?
Ryan: Working out, sight seeing out on the road and song writing are some of my favorite things to do. I also do a fair amount of eBaying. That can be addicting!
TAGW: What do you think is the most important aspect of being a pro player and staying there?
Ryan: I think the most important aspect is keeping the dream alive. We all started doing this because we loved it and had a dream. We all wanted to be that “one guy,” whoever it was, at some concert up on stage playing in front of thousands of people and rocking out. I feel so blessed to have had all the opportunities I've been given. I hope to never take it all for granted. It’s also very important to continuously learn new things and take new ideas from other players. I hope to do this for many years to come and it seems to me that the guys that stay in this business for a long period of time are not only always on top of their game as a player but they really are great people and have a positive outlook in the way they approach life.
• MODEL: – Hollow T Classic-Drop Top
• FINISH: – Sheer Plum (Translucent Sparkle Plum)
• BODY WOOD: – Quilt Maple Top with Swamp Ash Back
• BODY WOOD BACK COLOR: – same
• NECK WOOD: – Maple with Rosewood Fingerboard
• HEADSTOCK COLOR: – Matching
• NECK BACK FINISH: – Natural Satin
• NECK BACKSHAPE: – 50’s “V” Small
• NUT WIDTH: – 1 5/8-inch
• SCALE LENGTH: – 25 1/2-inch
• FRETS: – Heavy—Exclusive Anderson Stainless Steel
• BRIDGE: – Fixed Bridge with McVay installed McVay B-Bender
• TUNING GEAR: – Split Shaft
• HARDWARE COLOR: – Gold
• PICKGUARD: – Pearl White
• NECK PICKUP: – SA1R
• MIDDLE PICKUP: – SA1
• BRIDGE PICKUP: –TD3+
• SWITCHING: – 5-Way with Push/Pull & Master Splitter
• PICKUP COVERS: – N/A
• PICKUP RINGS: – N/A
• STRING GAUGE REQUESTED: – .010-.046 Elixir® with NANOWEB® Coating
• DESTINATION/LOCATION: – Artist