Hi-Tones: The Guitars and Music of Ritchie Valens

by Ryan Sheeler


“Hi-Tones:  The Guitars and Music of Ritchie Valens” – a new book project by Ryan Sheeler

My name is Ryan Sheeler and I am a professional guitarist, author and music educator from Ames Iowa.  I am working on a new book entitled “Hi-Tones:  The Guitars and Music of Ritchie Valens”.   This book is about the guitars, guitar style and music of Ritchie Valens.  I have been a Valens fan for many years, and I also really liked the 1987 film with Los Lobos performing Ritchie’s music.    As I studied and learned more throughout the years, it seemed to me that Ritchie did not get his due as a great guitarist when compared to others like Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Buddy Holly, Carl Perkins, Cliff Gallup, Scotty Moore, Duane Eddy, or James Burton.  I have been working on this project for more than 2 years now. 

The book will have two main sections.   The first section will discuss Ritchie’s guitars he used and his playing style.    Ritchie played several iconic guitars over the years and they have been featured on his records and in promotional photos, as well as being replicated for the 1987 film in most respects.   The second section features brand-new transcriptions of all of Ritchie’s songs on both of his studio albums, in lead sheet format with chords and guitar solos in TAB (tablature format).  I transcribed all of these all myself from scratch using the 2006 remastered Wounded Bird CD versions. 

This how I intended to execute this project.  The complete book draft is already complete.  I need to raise funds to cover the licensing and production costs.  I intend to use Ingram-Sparks to distribute and produced the books via an on-demand EBook and Print formats.  I intend to market the book in a mix of online and in-person methods.  Locally I intend to use outlets like the Iowa Rock n’ Roll Museum Association (IRRMA), Des Moines Music Coalition, the Ames (IA) Community Arts Council, all of which I am either a member of or have close ties to.  I intend to have the book available on all major book seller platforms such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, and other platforms within a month of final production date.   The timeline for this is 6-7 months from July 2019.  The 60th Anniversary of the Winter Dance Party will be held in February of 2019 in Clear Lake Iowa at the Surf Ballroom.  I attend this event every year. I wanted to have the book available by then.

I am asking for a minimum donation goal of $9600 to cover the costs of my project.   About half of the project costs will be licensing and permissions alone; while the other half will be editing and production costs.  This is a large project with several “moving parts” that all depend on each other.  I cannot move forward unless I get the licensing and legal permissions, and I want to have the best music book editing I can have available.  This is which I choose Charly Roberts and Ronny Schiff at O’Ruby Productions (www.selfpublishmusicbooks.com), as they have a wealth of experience with a number of great contacts and clients.  

This has been a labor of love for me and I am hopeful that it contributes to the Valens musical legacy.  I have invested nearly three years in this project, with dozens of phone calls, emails and conversations with people across the country. 

Please consider participating in the musical legacy of Ritchie Valens by making a tax-deductible contribution to my Hatchfund project today.



Condensed Budget *full budget with all line items available on request.




Licensing Costs


Valens estate licenses, Print Licenses, etc)

Editing/Design Costs


Oruby Publications, Editing/Layout, Cover Design by Fivver

Production Costs


IngramSpark POD/Ebook project + 100 copies, Bowker ISBN setup

Ancilary Costs


USPS Costs for Mailing (100 copies see Production)




 2. Stretch goal

If possible would like to extend a stretch goal of $11,000.  This would allow me to print more copies for donors, contributors and for networking and marketing purposes.  And it would allow me to pay for more editing, refinement, and customization to the project.  This also allows me some room for variance if licensing fees or production costs might increase.