Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

In which I review a Baby Taylor for American Musical Supply

November 30, 2012

So, I don’t just write about music. I also take great joy in writing music. When American Musical Supply gave me the chance to combine these two loves by reviewing musical instruments, I immediately jumped at it. I’m not going to spam y’all, but about once a month I expect to throw a video up about an instrument (which I or some lucky accomplice gets to keep afterwards).

Which brings us to the Taylor BT1 Baby Taylor 34 Size Acoustic Guitar. AMS sent me one as my initial foray into reviewing, which is slightly problematic because I’m like Ben Folds: I play almost everything but guitar. So I enlisted the help of my friend Adam Howard, who records as The Duke of Norfolk, to test out this acoustic guitar.

Adam told me that he had long wanted a size 34 guitar (which he called a three-quarters size guitar), because of their versatility and usefulness. “I can throw it on my back,” he said. “It’s like a sketchbook or a notepad.” It is almost the size of one, certainly; it was remarkably light and incredibly easy to play. Even I, with my stumpy fingers (hello, bass and piano), was able to reach frets easily. For someone with regular-sized fingers like Adam, it made playing chords that require distant frets positively easy. “When I play this chord on a dreadnaught size guitar, it’s incredibly difficult,” Adam said. “Here, it’s just easy.”

But the benefits of this Taylor extend beyond its playability. Adam had a high opinion of Taylor guitars before this review, and those expectations were fulfilled in the make and finish of the baby Taylor. Its sound quality was appealing to him as well. Small guitars have a bit of a looser sound to the notes because of the way they are strung, and Adam was pleased with their ring and resonance. The guitar sounded great when picking single notes or strumming full chords.

If you’re interested in a versatile 6-string acoustic guitar that allows for easy transport, the Taylor BT1 Baby Taylor 34 Size Acoustic Guitar is a strong bet.

Guitars, Amps, Passport: Two Point Zero Booking Makes International Touring Easier

February 8, 2008

Guitars, Amps, Passport: Two Point Zero Booking Makes International Touring Easier

By Megan Morgan

A vast ocean splits Steffen Kelle’s company down the middle, but he doesn’t let it get in the way. Kelle runs Two Point Zero, a booking agency that sends European bands to America and brings American bands to Europe.

Kelle formed Two Point Zero only four months ago in October of 2007. When on tour with his Germany-based band Pull a Star Trip and Boston, Mass., rock band Beautiful Lies, he got the idea for the agency.

“I booked parts of the tour for Pull a Star Trip and Beautiful Lies in August 2007,” Kelle said. “We became great friends while we were on tour, and I figured, why not give other bands from Europe and the U.S. the chance to explore each other’s continents with guitars ready to rock?”

Kelle, an adamant supporter of independent music, wants to give lesser-known bands the opportunity to branch out across the globe.

“We’re trying to bring the U.S. and Europe closer together,” he said. “These chances are mostly only given to big shots in the business. We think that the small and independent bands that don’t even have to have label support are the ones worth supporting… for instance, have them perform in countries where they normally wouldn’t have access to.”

Zach McLean, guitarist/vocalist for Boston-based Beautiful Lies, owes his band’s upcoming eight-country tour to Kelle.

“We’re going to Europe for eighteen shows, because Steffen worked his butt off,” McLean said. “It is definitely beneficial.”

Keeping track of cross-continental contacts may sound like an obstacle, but Kelle and his business partner Till Tillmann do most of the booking work online, through emails and “myspacing.” Kelle said that the web keeps his company afloat, and the name of his company reflects this.

“The name comes from Web 2.0,” Kelle said. “It has helped and helps make everything that we’ve achieved possible.”

Running a cross-continental booking agency isn’t the only thing Kelle has accomplished; Kelle is also a touring musician and is currently enrolled in school. So how does he possibly have time for all this?

“I cloned myself about a year ago,” Kelle joked. “No seriously, booking is my current girlfriend. We spend a lot of time together. Sometimes she can be a bitch, but most of the time we’re having a blast.”

But if anyone can do it, Kelle can; he has quite the qualifications. After getting his Bachelor of Arts in Popular Music and Media at the University of Paderborn, he is now currently enrolled in Germany’s only Pop Academy, where music specialists are trained.

So although Europe may seem like a world away, the talented, passionate and qualified guys up at Two Point Zero Booking are striving to close this physical gap and make independent music more global.

– Megan Morgan

Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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