Kevin Kastning

Artist of the Month | August 2014


I am running stereo versions of the K&K Pure Mini systems in both of my main instruments: the Emerald Guitars 36-string Kevin Kastning Signature Model Double Contraguitar, and the Emerald Guitars 30-string Kevin Kastning Signature Model Contra-Soprano guitar. Emerald is currently building another extended-range signature model, and it will also have a stereo K&K Pure Mini system.

I’ve tried most of the pickups on the market, but the K&K Pure Mini is my choice for these instruments with their massive ranges. The K&K Pure Mini sounds closest to using a microphone; I’ve never heard a pickup system accomplish this. In fact, I use the K&K Pure Mini when in the recording studio, along with my usual mic setup. You can hear it on my new album “Watercolor Sky” from Greydisc Records.

I’ve played studio tracks of the K&K Pure Mini for some of my collaborators, and they didn’t know that it wasn’t mics! In concert use, the K&K Pure Mini provides total realism and clarity with no feedback issues. I no longer use mics on stage; only the K&K Pure Mini systems.

K&K, thank you for this incredible system.

During Kevin’s time at Berklee College of Music in Boston, he studied privately with guitar legend Pat Metheny. Kevin has composed over 200 works for various solo and chamber group instrumentations. Guitar Player magazine said of Kevin, “Kevin is one of the deepest guitarists I’ve ever encountered,” and his feature interview in the Holiday 2010 issue of Guitar Playerwas named by that magazine as one of their top 30 interviews of all time.

Kevin is a recording artist for Greydisc Records; that label features 17 albums by Kevin, with more on the way. He has also been featured on two compilation albums on MoonJune Records, and appeared on the 2008 album release “International Fretless Artists.”

Kevin has recorded albums with Alex De Grassi, Michael Manring, Balazs Major (Hungary), Mark Wingfield (UK), Siegfried, Sandor Szabo (Hungary), Gilbert Isbin (Belgium), and Carl Clements. Kevin’s albums consistently receive very strong reviews from music magazines worldwide; as well as international radio airplay.

In 2012, radio WFMU in New York City stated, “For a number of years, Kevin Kastning has been turning acoustic guitar playing inside out. Sonic landscapes populate his music, with microtonal overlays of tones and textures.” In 2013, two of Kevin’s 2013 releases on Greydisc “Becoming” with Sandor Szabo and Balazs Major, and “Dark Sonatas” with Mark Wingfield, were both named as two of the Best Albums of 2013 by

Kevin’s 2012 album with Sandor Szabo, “The Book of Crossings” was named one of the Top 10 Albums of 2012 by Acoustic Guitar Magazine and Acoustic Music Magazine. Leonardo Pavkovic of MoonJune Records said, “I consider Kevin a painter of magic, beautiful dark notes.” In 2013, Midwest Record Magazine stated, “Kevin Kastning earns his spurs once again as the reigning modern guitarist in the country.” In 2013, Music Web Express Magazine said, “With the release of these two very guitar-centric albums, Kevin Kastning sets a new standard for the guitar world.” JazzTimes Magazine called Kevin a “revered guitarist,” and a “celebrated acoustic guitar wizard.”

“In Winter,” Kevin’s 2012 collaboration with bass legend Michael Manring, was named as Instrumental Album of the Year” by Latewire webzine. Kastning’s 2007 Greydisc release, “Resonance” placed in The Perfect Soundmagazine’s Top 10 Albums of 2007, and his 2009 Greydisc release “Parabola,” was named by NPR’s “Pushing the Envelope” as one of The Best Albums of the Year for 2009. Kastning’s 2011 Greydisc release, “I walked into the silver darkness” was named as a Favorite of 2011 by New York City’s WFMU-FM. Innerviews magazine said of “I walked into the silver darkness:” “A fantastic, expansive and adventurous album from two master musicians. Unquestionably, one of the best albums of this or any other year.”

WHUS-FM in Connecticut stated “Kevin’s music, both solo and in tandem with other talented musicians, creates a bedrock of “aural familiarity” using the classic sound of the acoustic guitar while seamlessly taking the listener into his impressionistic compositional world of alternative tunings, phrasings, and tonality.”

In October 2004, Kevin was voted Artist of the Month by the 13th Fret, the world’s largest acoustic guitar forum. In November 2007, Yankee Magazine stated, “Kastning is a pioneer in modern acoustic guitar composition.” In 2010, Gondola Magazine (Hungary) stated, “Kevin Kastning is a new figure of the American guitar scene; it is not an exaggeration that he is the most modern guitarist now in the US.” In late 2009, Kevin completed a successful European concert tour with Dominic Miller, guitarist with Sting. Mr. Miller calls Kevin “An amazing player; completely original.” In December 2010, Kevin was honored with a feature article in Guitar Player magazine, and again in September 2011. Guitarist Steve Hackett of Genesis stated, “I enjoyed listening to your CDs. I like your style and the music has an intriguing atmosphere.”

Kevin is an artist endorser for:

• Emerald Guitars
• Daniel Roberts Stringworks
• Santa Cruz Guitars
• Bricasti Design
• G7 Performance Capos
• K&K Sound
• Microtech Gefell Microphones
• Peterson Tuners
• Hipshot
• John Pearse Strings
• And others….

Kevin is the inventor of the 36-string Double Contraguitar, the 30-string Contra-Soprano guitar (Emerald Guitars), the 17-string/9-course Contraguitar, the 16-string/8-course Contraguitar (Daniel Roberts Stringworks), the DKK bass-baritone guitar, the DKK-12 12-string extended baritone guitar, the double-course alto guitar in A (Santa Cruz Guitars). Originally from Kansas, Kevin currently resides in northern Massachusetts.

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