Mark Kroos
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Mark Kroos

Charlotte, North Carolina, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF

Charlotte, North Carolina, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2010
Solo Folk Acoustic

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In his latest video, Mark Kroos performs both parts of ‘Dueling Banjos’ on his Ovation / Celebrity double neck (model CSE-225). Published less than a week ago, the amazing performance has racked up nearly 11,000 YouTube hits. - Ovation Guitars Artist News


Greater Lansing native Mark Kroos offered the anti-Allen Iverson explanation for his success as a guitar player: practice.

Kroos, a product of Okemos High School and student of Roger Humphrey and Paul Theroux at Lansing’s Marshall Music, was recently named Guitar Player Magazine's 2011 International Guitar Superstar Competition in Nashville.

He began playing guitar at age 12, and said the countless hours he’s logged practicing are the No. 1 reason for his success. But, that said, he also pointed out a few additional advantages.

He credits “going out and being a go-getter” with his success, which includes not only the prestigious competition win but his ability to make a living doing what he loves.

For the past 18 months, Kroos has been touring the nation full-time. He gave up his apartment in Williamsburg, Virg., and hit the road. His go-getter attitude certainly helped, as did his relatively unusual setup.

Having something unique, that really doesn’t hurt.

“I play two guitar necks at the same time,” Kroos said.

He said he's quick to remind critics that the double-necked guitar was pretty popular with the glam-hair bands of the 80s. One neck is a standard, six-string guitar, and the other is the much less common 12-string.

The two-headed beast of an instrument is designed to make it possible to use both a 12-string and a six-string guitar during the course of the same song without having to go to the trouble of switching axes mid-measure. Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora plays the double-necked guitar in “Wanted Dead or Alive.” Note the hair.

Kroos doesn’t play paens to the pseudo-outlaw, however. He rocks what he calls “extreme folk guitar.” It’s this relatively recent genre, combined with his modification of the double-necked guitar, that’s helped him become a success. Kroos, unlike Sambora, uses both necks as six-string guitars.

The result, in compositions like the Superstar-competition winning “Flight Attempt,” is like an orchestra of acoustic guitars.

But the move to the modified double-neck wasn’t simply a gimmick to get more attention and establish Kroos’ reputation, though it certainly had that effect.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s tough to do and it does take a whole bunch of practice,” he said. Kroos said it’s been helpful in winning the completion and in the music business in general.

“It’s allowed me to go pretty far pretty fast,” he added.

Kroos returned to the Washington, D.C. area this week, but plans to swing back through his old stomping grounds again sometime in November.

He said he hoped to play a gig at his favorite venue in the Greater Lansing region, (SCENE) Metrospace in East Lansing.

Until then, fans can sate their appetites for Kroos’ music by visiting his website, www.markkroos.com. - mlive.com


Greater Lansing native Mark Kroos offered the anti-Allen Iverson explanation for his success as a guitar player: practice.

Kroos, a product of Okemos High School and student of Roger Humphrey and Paul Theroux at Lansing’s Marshall Music, was recently named Guitar Player Magazine's 2011 International Guitar Superstar Competition in Nashville.

He began playing guitar at age 12, and said the countless hours he’s logged practicing are the No. 1 reason for his success. But, that said, he also pointed out a few additional advantages.

He credits “going out and being a go-getter” with his success, which includes not only the prestigious competition win but his ability to make a living doing what he loves.

For the past 18 months, Kroos has been touring the nation full-time. He gave up his apartment in Williamsburg, Virg., and hit the road. His go-getter attitude certainly helped, as did his relatively unusual setup.

Having something unique, that really doesn’t hurt.

“I play two guitar necks at the same time,” Kroos said.

He said he's quick to remind critics that the double-necked guitar was pretty popular with the glam-hair bands of the 80s. One neck is a standard, six-string guitar, and the other is the much less common 12-string.

The two-headed beast of an instrument is designed to make it possible to use both a 12-string and a six-string guitar during the course of the same song without having to go to the trouble of switching axes mid-measure. Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora plays the double-necked guitar in “Wanted Dead or Alive.” Note the hair.

Kroos doesn’t play paens to the pseudo-outlaw, however. He rocks what he calls “extreme folk guitar.” It’s this relatively recent genre, combined with his modification of the double-necked guitar, that’s helped him become a success. Kroos, unlike Sambora, uses both necks as six-string guitars.

The result, in compositions like the Superstar-competition winning “Flight Attempt,” is like an orchestra of acoustic guitars.

But the move to the modified double-neck wasn’t simply a gimmick to get more attention and establish Kroos’ reputation, though it certainly had that effect.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s tough to do and it does take a whole bunch of practice,” he said. Kroos said it’s been helpful in winning the completion and in the music business in general.

“It’s allowed me to go pretty far pretty fast,” he added.

Kroos returned to the Washington, D.C. area this week, but plans to swing back through his old stomping grounds again sometime in November.

He said he hoped to play a gig at his favorite venue in the Greater Lansing region, (SCENE) Metrospace in East Lansing.

Until then, fans can sate their appetites for Kroos’ music by visiting his website, www.markkroos.com. - mlive.com


Playing a double-necked Ovation acoustic guitar in a solo performance, Williamsburg, VA’s Mark Kroos took down an onslaught of electric guitarists to become the champ of Guitar Player’s Guitar Superstar (GPGS) 2011.

Second place was captured by Fredrik Halland of Bergen, Norway, and third place went to Arek Religa of Chicago, IL. Nashville’s Forrest Lee, Jr., and Jeremy Ore of North East, PA, also roared onstage to compete.

Guitar legend Larry Carlton hosted the event, which was held in the Grand Ballroom at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel in Nashville, TN, during the summer NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) convention. Each of the five finalists — which were selected by the Guitar Player magazine staff from hundreds of video entries — performed an original instrumental song, and was rated on tone, technique, charisma, and composition by three guitar-star judges: Muriel Anderson (founder of All-Star Guitar Night and a stellar fingerstyle player), Reeves Gabrels (David Bowie, Rolling Stones, Ozzy Osbourne), and Carl Verheyen (L.A. session master and current member of Supertramp).

“Guitar Player’s Guitar Superstar is not so much a competition, as it is an initiative to evangelize extreme guitar playing to both the ‘in-the-know’ community of guitarists and fans of guitar music who may not be players themselves,” says Guitar Player Editor in Chief Michael Molenda. “Through seven seasons of producing this event, we’ve never been disappointed in the talent, passion, and goodwill of the finalists. This is truly an awesome celebration of the guitar and those who play it and adore it.”

As 2011 GPGS champion, Kroos won a feature article in Guitar Player magazine and a digital-distribution contract from Guitar Player Records/MI5 Recordings/Universal. He also took home a prize package from Ampeg, Framus, D’Addario, Love Pedal, Pigtronix, and TC Electronic worth more than $4,000. Halland scored prizes from D’Addario, Reverend, Love Pedal, Pigtronix, and TC Electronic worth more than $2,500, and Religa walked away with a $1,500 prize package from Godin, D’Addario, Love Pedal, Pigtronix, and TC Electronic. All five finalists also received gift bags worth $1,000 packed with products from D’Addario, Delta Labs, EMG, Essential Sound Products, Levy’s Leathers, and SKB Corporation.

Guitar Player’s Guitar Superstar 2011 was also chosen by GPGS presenting sponsor Ampeg to debut the company’s brand new GVT tube amplifiers. The entire amp backline for the show was provided by Ampeg, and all players plugged into GVT amps. In addition, Ampeg provided the night’s opening act, Elephantgun, which was chosen from thousands of bands who entered a “Straight Up Tone” competition to promote the new GVT amp line.

“‘Straight Up Tone’ is more than a theme, it’s what Ampeg GVT is all about, so what better place to showcase the powerful and versatile tone than Guitar Player’s Guitar Superstar,” says Shaunna Thompson, Media and PR manager for Loud Technologies, owner of Ampeg. “With its GVT Series, Ampeg is making a serious return to the guitar amp business, and we were very excited to see the overwhelmingly positive reaction from guitarists and fans alike.”

The other presenting sponsors of Guitar Player’s Guitar Superstar 2011 were EMG Pickups, Framus, NAMM, and SKB Corporation. - Guitar Player Magazine


By
D.R. Martin
– January 23, 2011Posted in: Reviews

Last November I happened to be scanning a community newspaper and saw a picture of a young guy playing an Ovation doubleneck. His name was Mark Kroos and he was doing a gig at a local church. The article called him “one of the only touring doubleneck guitarists in the world.” It referred to his “incredible tapping technique,” and mentioned influences such as Michael Hedges and Andy McKee. Well, that was sufficiently intriguing for me. Long story short, Kroos’s playing was impressive. But the Minneapolis church’s thin-sounding PA system didn’t—I suspected—nearly do him justice. Getting acquainted with his debut album And Grace Will Lead Me Home confirmed that.

There are, of course, masters who’ve taken the tapping approach to exalted levels—names like Emmett Chapman (of Chapman Stick fame), Hedges, Stanley Jordan, Eddie Van Halen. And purely from the perspective of hammer-on/pull-off virtuosity, Kroos—trained as a jazz guitarist, with three years in a touring ska/punk band—definitely knows a thing or two. With two six-string necks (the Ovation’s upper 12-string neck is strung and played as a six-string) going simultaneously, he creates a magnificent sound. Think sheets, waves, cascades of steel-string goodness—with shimmering treble lines and rumbling bass. Kroos’s two-fisted playing perhaps has more in common with the piano than the guitar—really and truly lap piano. Kroos also plays singleneck on a few items, to similar effect, and some of his tunings include Open D, DGDGAD and DADGAD.

Ten of the eleven pieces on Grace are Kroos’s own, and most of them don’t rely so much on through-composed melodies as nugget-sized figurations that repeat and evolve. I kept thinking that Kroos the composer may owe at least as much to Philip Glass as to Michael Hedges. That’s no bad thing, but it does mean that the majority of his tunes bear a strong family resemblance to one another. It’s an attractive and engrossing family, though.

“Indigo Child” is dazzling and new agey (in the best sense of that genre). While not nearly as austere as a Glass piano composition, it has a certain hypnotic power. The treble part proceeds and transforms with splashes of bright filigree, while the bass line rumbles down below—growing more and more intense along the way. “Speed Limit Enforced by Aircraft”—which opens the album—offers a galloping, glistening high voice over a thrumming bass. The tune’s lead figurations (not really melodies) switch between right and left hand. Not everything is hammered, though. Kroos finds time for a little picking and strumming, as well.

In “Tide Pools of Monterey” Kroos starts in a similar vein of repeated quicksilver figures up above, with rich chords marching below. Then, without warning, the bass line breaks out in a near-melody that is ecstatic and enchanting—a hint of what might lie in Kroos’s melodic future. The heartfelt main tune of “The Redemption (Here You Are, Glowing Sun)” is a further intimation of where Kroos could be going when he stretches out a little more with full-blown melody.

It’s one of the great hymns with one of the greatest tunes ever written that makes for a wonderful finale, “Amazing Grace.” It’s spare, powerful, haunting—a first-class arrangement. I’m hoping that he’ll tackle more covers like this in future albums. How about “The Water Is Wide”?

As I mentioned above, the church PA didn’t seem to do Kroos justice. But the big, rich, immersive recording quality on this CD definitely does; you can go swimming in this guitar sound. Kroos’s Ovation doubleneck sounds splendid, practically orchestral. Much of the effect is due to his technique of separating the two signals from the individual necks’ pickups.

There are lots of great young steel-string guitarists out there, and only time will tell if Mark Kroos climbs up that ladder. There’s little doubt, however, that he has most of the tools he needs to make the ascent. - Work and Worry: Acoustic Guitar, Fingerstyle, Folk, Blues & Beyond


I’m not worthy…

I’ve written about Mark Kroos before, here. He’s a fingerstyle guitarist who plays primarily by two-hand tapping on a double-necked Ovation acoustic. On The Sound of Snow, he puts this aside in favour of a single-necked 12-string guitar that he converted into a 6-string. (Doing so results in more space between the strings, universally preferred by fingerstyle players.) But even with half as many necks and half as many strings, he still rocks just as hard. And wrote all the lyrics. And sings them too. And offers the result for free download on his Bandcamp page.

I can’t stress this enough. If you like acoustic music, if you’re a fan of Andy McKee, Dave Matthews, Fountains of Wayne, Jason Mraz, Julia Nunes… go download this album. I have nothing bad to say about The Sound of Snow.

It’s clear from the album notes on his website that Kroos puts great emphasis on the craft of songwriting. He takes a somewhat more verbose approach to lyrics than some, using full sentences and proper grammatical phrasing like “to which he replied”, but he never needs to rush and the polysyllabic melodies work well the album’s buoyant tone. That’s not to say he minces his words; rather, the lyrics are invariably poignant and incisive.

As for the music, well… Mark Kroos is as talented a composer as he is a player, and if I can ever be considered half as skilled as he is now, I would regard that as high praise indeed.

In closing, I repeat: go download this album. It’s just four tracks long, but they are four of the most honest, moving, and best-written songs I’ve ever heard. Favourite track: “Sweet New England Sound“.

***** out of 5. - LIFEsus4


My wife and I had the pleasure a few weeks ago to hear Mark play a gig in a Minneapolis church (an Eliel Saarinen church no less). We were charmed by his warm personality and delighted by his breathtaking musicianship. FYI, Mark plays a double-neck Ovation acoustic, with the 12-string neck repurposed as a six string. So what he was doing at his show, and on this disk, is essentially playing TWO guitars simultaneously, one with each hand--largely by means of hammer ons and pull offs (you guitar geeks will know what that means). If you like Michael Hedges's guitar style, you'll like Mark's album. There are cascades of sound, thunderous bass passages, interweaving voices of the two guitar necks. It's truly virtuosic stuff. (I'm a duffer guitarist myself, and I'm green with envy, I can tell you!) Except for the ultimate piece--a gorgeous arrangement of Amazing Grace--the other nine tunes are of a sameness. But are gorgeous each and every one. Kind of a new agey esthetic, but deeper and more resonant. If you like solo steel-string acoustic guitar, as I do, you'll love Mark Kroos. - Amazon.com / D. R. M. "wicmar"


My wife and I had the pleasure a few weeks ago to hear Mark play a gig in a Minneapolis church (an Eliel Saarinen church no less). We were charmed by his warm personality and delighted by his breathtaking musicianship. FYI, Mark plays a double-neck Ovation acoustic, with the 12-string neck repurposed as a six string. So what he was doing at his show, and on this disk, is essentially playing TWO guitars simultaneously, one with each hand--largely by means of hammer ons and pull offs (you guitar geeks will know what that means). If you like Michael Hedges's guitar style, you'll like Mark's album. There are cascades of sound, thunderous bass passages, interweaving voices of the two guitar necks. It's truly virtuosic stuff. (I'm a duffer guitarist myself, and I'm green with envy, I can tell you!) Except for the ultimate piece--a gorgeous arrangement of Amazing Grace--the other nine tunes are of a sameness. But are gorgeous each and every one. Kind of a new agey esthetic, but deeper and more resonant. If you like solo steel-string acoustic guitar, as I do, you'll love Mark Kroos. - Amazon.com / D. R. M. "wicmar"


Review by Jimmy Allford
PA Music Scene.com
December 2010

MARK KROOS:
CD Titled: AND GRACE WILL LEAD ME HOME

This CD is an instrumental and consists of 11 songs. Mark is a Williamsburg, Va native and what makes him stand out he is one of the only touring double neck guitarists in the world. He plays a spectrum of music from Celtic to indie and punk rock. I must admit, his videos will amaze you.

The song on CD titled “STAIRS, TWO AT A TIME” will highlight what he is all about. The track titled ” THE REDEMPTION [HERE YOU ARE, GLOWING SUN]“, will definitely take you to place that you call your own. Mark does a remarkable version of “AMAZING GRACE” that could have you singing to it in no time as the tears stream down your face. “CAPO 4" is definitely worth a listen putting you into a mellow mood to relax next to your fireplace.

Check out Mark at: www.markkroos.com and www.youtube.com/mskroos

You can find Mark on tour with Bedford, PA native Matt Otis! Check out Mark’s video’s on YouTube. There is no doubt I think you will be very impressed to say the least. Just contact him if you ever want to book him and let him know I sent you.

My hats off to you Mark. Hopefully we’ll be able to meet up somewhere one day.

Best Regards,
Jim - PA Music Scene


"Wizard of the Double Neck Guitar" - Brad Squires


Discography

DVD: Music Videos and Live Studio Performances (2013)

Down Along the Lines of Joy (2012)

The Sound of Snow EP (2011)

And Grace Will Lead Me Home (2010)

Photos

Bio

Mark Kroos plays 2 guitar necks at the same time. Originally from Lansing, MI but currently based in Charlotte, NC he is one of the only people in the world touring his trade. His primarily instrumental style is characterized by open harmonies, polyphonic textures, incredible tapping technique, and is as entertaining to watch as it is to listen to. Live performances burst with energy and magnetism not typical of solo guitar music. Drawing influence from folk, Celtic, indie, and even punk rock artists as well as other great guitarists such as Michael Hedges, Tommy Emmanuel and Leo Kottke, Mark Kroos has developed his own edge to the acoustic guitar.

In July of 2011 Mark competed in Guitar Player Magazine's International Guitar Superstar Competition in Nashville for host Larry Carlton and renowned judges Muriel Anderson, Reeves Gabrels and Carl Verheyen, taking 1st place out of 5 invited competitors and thousands of others who had submitted online.

"Mark Kroos plays with a sensitivity to the music and positive energy that is truly refreshing."

Muriel Anderson
1989 International Fingerstyle Guitar Champion

Mark has since shared the stage with guitarists Mike Stern, Lee Ritenour, Phil Keaggy and Stanley Jordan among others during his past 4 years of extensive touring through the US and Canada.  He has also picked up full sponsorships with D'Addario Strings, Planet Waves Cables, Genz Benz Amplifiers, Ovation Guitars, Kopf Percussion and Kyser Capos.  

In March, 2013, Mark's Dueling Banjos video exploded on YouTube presenting many new performance opportunities.  Mark continues to tour throughout most of the year, giving concerts primarily in churches, schools, music stores and theaters.  

Mark released his debut DVD, Music Videos and Live Studio Performances last Fall (2013) which includes 16 beautiful videos of Mark's original arrangements.  He has also released 2 full-length instrumental guitar albums: Down Along the Lines of Joy (2012) andAnd Grace Will Lead Me Home (2010) as well as a 4 track vocal EP titled The Sound of Snow (2011).

Mark's touring began in May, 2010 when he embarked a sparsely-booked road trip, giving up his apartment in Williamsburg to play coffee shops and bars, relying on donations, human kindness and the grace of God. This road trip blossomed into a year-long concert tour filled with performances, clinics, and a multitude of new friends.  While still on the road more often than not, Mark has reclaimed a place of residence and occasionally takes breaks for writing, arranging and recording.  

Mark Kroos attended Bowling Green State Universitys school of music from 2004-2006, majoring in Jazz studies and guitar performance where he studied under Chris Buzzelli and Matthew Ardizzone. He developed a greater understanding of the instrument and improved his technique immensely but also found that his ability was lacking in the jazz idiom and left the music school to tour with his ska/punk band, The Argonauts. When the band stopped playing regularly in 2009, Mark began teaching and picked up the acoustic guitar. A whole lot of writing, practicing and 2 guitar necks later there was the musical madness that is Mark Kroos. 

Band Members