Mark Kroos on playing two guitars at the same time [VIDEO]

Mark Kroos on playing two guitars at the same time [VIDEO]
Josh Wolfe

Mark Kroos plays two guitars at the same time. Well, technically his instrument of choice is one guitar, two necks. But he doesn't play the double-necked guitar the way the instrument's designed. Instead, he has each neck set up like a normal six-string guitar. And he plays them simultaneously.

Kroos, who won Guitar Player Magazine's "Guitar Superstar" title in 2011, started playing the double-neck about four years ago, after more than a decade working with a standard single neck guitar.

"I started writing a piece where I didn't have enough space to do wanted I wanted on a single guitar," he remembers. "My hands were getting in the way of each other. So I set up another guitar on a keyboard stand, laying it flat with the case open, and I used my right hand to play that guitar and I used my left hand to play another guitar, holding it normally. After a while I thought, 'Hey, why don't I get a double-neck guitar.'"

Despite his musical coordination, Kroos says that his ambidextrous talents don't extend beyond his instrument. He chalks the skill up to a lot of practice, and, he says, the fact that fretting with his right hand is easier than people think. Plus, most of the parts he plays aren't individually tricky.

"A lot of times people ask me, 'Oh, do you practice one part and then practice the other part?'" Kroos says. "But no, because the parts by themselves are actually very, very easy. It's just putting them together that gets really complicated. But I get to the point where I think of it as all one part. I know that when my right hand plays this note, my left hand plays that note."

Only a handful of other people in the country play the double neck using the same method as Kroos. "We're all kind of pioneers," Kroos says. "It just opens up so many opportunities to do new things on guitar."

Kroos is in town Sunday for a gig at Springhouse Ministry Center, in Lyn-Lake. "Even though it's in a church, it won't be a particularly church-y concert," he says. "I try to make it as exciting as instrumental music can possibly be."

Before the show, check out Kroos's strumming in his cover of "Dueling Banjos" from Deliverance in which he, yes, plays both parts of the famous guitar duet (and acts). Since February, the video's racked up nearly a half million YouTube views.

Mark Kroos. Sunday, May 12. 7 p.m. Free. Springhouse Ministry Center 610 W. 28th Street

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