Hello. While AxeFxTutorials has only been around for about 2 years now, beginning in Jan 2015, the concept of AFT has been around since the beginning of 2008.
I purchased an Axe-Fx Ultra in 2007, and it changed my guitar-tone life forever, as it has for many others. Being the manager of a local Music Instrument store who tests and uses a lot of different gear, I became acquainted to the Axe-Fx Ultra very quickly. I discovered the FAS forum shortly after and began posting there.
Many people had questions on how to do this, how to do that. I knew the answer to some of those questions, and did what I could to help out with quick messages on the forum. As I learned more and more about the Ultra, I could answer more and more questions. And I soon made my first video about the Axe-Fx – how to use 2 guitars with 1 Axe-Fx. It was a very popular video, not really because of the topic, but because there was a tutorial style video regarding the Axe-Fx. From what I can remember, at the time only a few others had tutorial videos regarding the Standard and Ultra. So I decided to make a few more here and there when I could.
In 2011, I started an LLC for myself called Katsu Kuri Media. It was primarily going to focus on Photography, but the online presence quickly became filled with my Axe-Fx tutorials. By now, the Axe-Fx II had come out, and I started making new videos detailing some of the newer features on the II versus the Ultra.
My videos – especially the MFC-101 setup videos – started to become popular with Axe users, and I would see links to them on the forum often. They even somewhat became “the” videos to use, and to this day, many people link to the videos for explaining setup and concept explanations.
As Katsu Kuri Media, I began to write Articles on my website, some explaining in words the same topics as the videos, and later I wrote Articles on each new Firmware release. At the time, there was a bevy of Public Betas and Firmware after Firmware, as FAS honed in on some amazing new modeling techniques (FW 15 – 18 or so).
Writing all these articles was great, because it not only elucidated the new things for users of all experience levels, but it forced me to understand (as best as possible) the new things as well. As much as I could, I would explain the concepts in as simple terms as possible. The Axe-Fx Wiki – a great, and amazing resource – was already around, so I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just saying the exact same things. People appreciated the way I broke things down, and many of them told me things like “I FINALLY understand what all this means due to the way you explained it.”
At the time, I was just a normal customer and a barely known (it felt) forum member. I had no prior knowledge about anything, so I too had to wait for the release itself to figure everything out. I then quickly had to run through everything and type as fast as I could to get my article out close to the release time of the firmware. It took a good amount of time to write each article, verifying *I* knew what I was talking about, and that I was actually presenting things in an easier-to-understand way. But more than just the time spent on each article, as a “helper” kind of guy, I have to constantly and continuously know how to use the products.
In order to fully understand Firmware Updates and the changes, you really have to know the history and where things came from. You have to know what FW version had this feature, and what FW version got rid of it and instead replaced it with that. Just taking a break from the Axe-Fx II for a week caused me to forget things, so I was always constantly reading and researching to make sure I knew what was coming up and what was being left behind.
Because I was so inundated with the FAS knowledge, I tried doing some online video consultations to help people with their setups. It was always requested, yet when it came time to actually pay for someone helping, the response was not good at all. People generally didn’t want to pay for someone to teach them how turn knobs. Many comments were “well it’s digital, so just send me the file, and that should be free.” That’s a whole other topic, so let’s just say that the online consultations were not really successful.
Eventually “Katsu Kuri Media” didn’t make sense anymore, as I stopped the Photography and Video services part of my company, and mostly focused on Music. With just that one main thing, the “media company” tag didn’t really make sense. So instead I decided to start AxeFxTutorials. After all, that’s what I did, and that’s what I was focusing on.
I have always, always struggled with people not “trusting” my tutorials and information or just not paying attention because I was not officially from Fractal Audio Systems. Many people heard about or watched my videos, but then said “this would be better if it came from FAS itself.” It was also one of the reasons many people did not want to trade money for time with consultations. They’d “definitely” pay me if I worked for FAS, but they just couldn’t trust that my information was correct for such a complicated product.
Anyway, I figured with such a direct name – Axe-Fx Tutorials – perhaps more people would be attracted to and trust in the product. Of course it was better than “Katsu Kuri Media” – that’s a no-brainer. People’s knowledge of me on the forum had also increased around that time, partly because I was really successfully answering a lot of threads and questions on the forum – almost to a fault as many people accused me of grandstanding because *I* just HAD to answer every thread. I was even told to “let other people have a chance to answer” as well as “let other people answer the easy ones, you get the harder ones.” lul
I created a new website with a new layout, organized FAQ sections for each product, tried to make at least 1 miscellaneous article a week and an article for any Firmware update, and create a Latest Updates page where ONE page had all the latest FW and Software updates for all products.
Initially, the concept was “successful,” in that I had a good amount of daily views. About 500 seemed to be the highest average I could ever get for the site. This is very, very low for a website of any type. Of course, I tried to passively monetize the site so people didn’t have to pay THEIR money to view the content, but rather have advertisers pay for them.
Additionally, people always appreciated the videos, so maybe it was time to also start selling videos. Do some for free, some smaller, quicker topics, but for the big topics, have it be for sale. I thought $10 to $20 was a fair price for videos that ended up being about an hour long, and that took about 20-30 hours total to write, record, edit and produce.
At first, it was a rocky start, but as people bought the content and then commented on how it was well-done, informative and helpful, other people were inspired to purchase the videos too. At one point, this looked like the way to go. But as a business model, there are only so many topics that can be sold, and that started becoming apparent pretty quickly. The amount of time needed to produce the videos was also out of balance with the compensation, so though it was better, it was not sustainable.
With as much work as I had with my day job activities, I still WANTED to spend the time on the FAS gear with articles and videos. There is just something about FAS gear that is so giving, that makes me feel that I want to give back as much as possible. As I’ve explained, for me in my day-to-day living situation, I needed my FAS work to give back just a little. Just some bit of compensation for my time. On average, I can easily spend 2 to 4 hours daily just helping out on the forum – that includes reading, thinking, experimenting, downloading and trying presets, then writing the solutions. I could spend even more time if I let myself. Again, FAS gear just makes me want to help that much!
But at this point, I just have to call it like I see it: I just do not have the time anymore to dedicate to AFT nor the forum. It’s true – I said this before on the Forum and announced there 2 years ago that I was leaving. Some were very happy about that announcement actually! But I got a few messages of support and it motivated me to try again – that’s actually where and why AxeFxTutorials began!
But here we are almost 2 years into AFT, and I have reached the same conclusion. Whether it’s my fault for not working hard enough, or because there really isn’t a way to have FAS related services provide enough compensation to somewhat support itself, it’s just not possible for me to continue. Just a month ago, I announced “AFT IS BACK!” after having a long pause in site updates – about 8 months or so. I thought I could make the time again to do everything, but it just isn’t so. Doing things the same way but expecting a different result is the definition of Insanity. And I knew that all along, but tried to make little changes here and there, but alas, they were not enough.
As of right now, I still have to complete the final Part of my AX8 Beyond Basics series – this is STILL going to happen. That whole series was supposed to be done in May. But major changes in my day job and regular life threw a wrench in all of that, and balancing everything has been a real struggle. I truly apologize for that, and like I said I WILL finish that dang video! Most of it is written, I just need to record and edit it. I will for sure email the purchasers of the series when that is ready.
But for now, I wanted to just say that I think it’s finally time to fully put a stop to AxeFxTutorials.com, as well as my FAS related assistance on the Forum – the two really go hand-in-hand. I hate doing things in a mediocre way, but that typically means I either do things all-in, or stop completely. The 8 month hiatus on this site is an example of the “stop completely” and much of the work was all-in. But this is now definitely a full-on “stop completely.”
I will keep the Discord channel open and available, since that is a free service offered by the amazing people at Discord. But I will probably not chime in there often at all anymore. I will be stopping my live streams on Beam as well. For now, this site will stay up, but as an Archive only so that the links on the Wiki and in the forum won’t go to a dead page. But eventually I will not want to pay for the website hosting anymore, so I’ll think of what to do when we get closer to that time.
I really want to thank everyone who has supported me on the Forum, as Katsu Kuri Media, and as AxeFxTutorials. In many articles I said things like “We at AxeFxTutorials,” we this, we that. But it’s always been just me 🙂 I’ve tried along the way to get some more people involved, but no one wanted to put in the kind of work needed to keep something like this going – completely understandable of course!
A few people were very generous with monetary donations here and there to inspire me and keep me going – believe me, they helped immensely with motivation and usually some tasty pizza 🙂 And I want to thank all my “customers” who have purchased the videos I have sold on my Selz site. If you ever need to renew the download or viewing privileges, feel free to contact me! That said, I do highly recommend downloading the videos so you can keep them forever. Please, still do not share them, as I will be keeping my Selz store up. Thanks.
Again, thank you for those who have supported me, either with positivity or negativity – both can serve as motivation. It’s just finally time to stop this project. Believe me, I *always* did it so I could help others first and foremost. If I have ever helped you, it was a pleasure to be offer my services. It’s actually going to be tough to stop myself from chiming in with a quick/easy answer that could really help someone. But what *I* need now is that time back to myself, to help my family, small local business, and my sanity.
Thanks again to everyone over the years!
You can support him and AFT.com with a donation to our StreamJar page: http://streamjar.tv/donate/axefxtutorials