Three Guys Walk Into a Barn: How Barn 3 is Helping Players Unlock Eventide’s Full Potential 

ModKitsDIY

main-flow

One of the marks of a really great friendship is the wide variety of adventures a group of friends have together through the course of their lives. We all know friends like this. Friends that are down for whatever, that are happy to indulge your strangest or most impulsive whims, or that track your new moods, latest ideas, and are ready to accompany you on to the next big thing in your life.

OK, let me clarify: you are indeed reading a TheToneKing.com article, not a Hallmark card. Maybe that fluffy, puppies-romping-in-freshly-laundered-fleece-blankets paragraph is a bit over the top, but a long, tight-knit friendship is the catalyst behind Barn 3, a company bringing some fresh and considered thinking to the gear market.

The trio behind the brand is business manager Tom Murtagh, a one-man creative team Garret Hoskins, and “mad scientist” Ryan Keller.

“From day one, this has always been about our friendship. We’ve always looked at this as one giant art project, as a way to come together as adults. We all live in different areas and we can’t really play music together that much, but we wanted to do something musical together.” Keller told TheToneKing.com in a recent phone interview.

Barn 3’s first shot across the gear market bow is undeniably unique. Leading the charge for the company is the Barn 3 OX, a smartly rendered auxiliary switching system devised for Eventide’s popular Factor series of effects pedals, and the Tap Tempo, a combination momentary tap tempo and Nikola Tesla tribute. The OX and the Tap Tempo integrate together to with the Factor series to simply the myriad switching options available to users. The Tap Tempo is a compact, stand-alone momentary switch that plugs into the OX and, through MIDI, can simultaneously adjust the tempos of effects in multiple Factor pedals. Plus, since it’s decoupled from the OX, you can put it anywhere on your board.

Instead of offering an interpretation of an existing effect, which seems to practically be a requirement among many builders today, Barn 3’s OX and Tap Tempo simply provides greater access to the deep capabilities to Eventide’s innovative pedals. It all started after Keller, who has been devising devices to help operate his rigs for years, began adding Factor pedals to his own board.

“Ryan has been creating little tools like this for years, and we actually had the prototypes of these pedals on our boards for years,” Murtagh said.

“As I’m playing, I find needs for things, and a lot of what I’ve done in the past has been [to build] different switching devices for my pedalboard to make my life easier. When I started acquiring all the Eventides, it just got to the point where I was like ‘there’s got to be a better way.’

“Other auxiliary switches are either really big and take up a ton of real estate or they’re insanely tiny and the buttons are so close together that I don’t see any way that you could make it functional,” Keller explained.

Soon, Keller was prototyping the design for what would become the OX and Tap Tempo. Eventually, he began to think bigger.

“I just sat down one day and was like, ‘How in the world can I pull this off?'” said Ryan. “I started with looking at all the normal resources for pedal builders.” Ryan said.

“So I went to a metal working firm that I [knew], and I talked to them and said ‘This is what I want: something as small as possible to sit on the front of these pedals. I want it to be lower than the pedal is. I want it to attach to the pedal. We talked it through for a while and we came up with an idea.'” Ryan said. The OX was born.

But pedals just don’t market and sell themselves, and here Keller would need some help.

“I had wanted to market these for years, but I just didn’t know how to go about it and I didn’t have the funds to do it. That’s where Tom stepped in and gave me the push I needed,” said Keller.

One thing that any Barn 3 customer will notice right away is that level of care and detail put not only into the OX and Tap Tempo units, but into the packaging and instruction manual.

Line 6

“Unlike other boutique pedals that we’ve all bought, we really spent a lot of time on the packaging, the guidebook, and the other little stuff to make sure that that brand is reinforced.” Murtagh said. “Garrett is such an integral part of this because he really helped us think about the brand and how we can build this out in a really comprehensive way.”

“I work in the advertising industry, so that was my component [in trying] to make a brand and create a platform around Ryan for that kind of innovation.” Hoskins noted.

Hoskins also contributed to the artwork that adorns the OX and Tap Tempo units. “Ryan always had a couple of these raw metal, with no art or anything, pedals on his board…I’ve done art my whole life and have always done the art for all the different bands we were in, so I can draw.” Hoskins said.

With the team now in place, Keller, Murtagh, and Hoskins began in earnest to deliver Keller’s brainchild to the masses. They set budgets, researched suppliers, did the whole lawyer thing to properly incorporate their new business, and burned barrels of midnight oil further considering their brand and direction. And they needed a name for the venture, of course.

“We’ve all played in different bands together at the barn Ryan’s parents own, so that’s where the conception of the name came from. A lot of nights at the barn we sat around and created pages and pages of ideas for branding…and we just came back to the base essence of our friendship and music careers, which was Ryan’s parent’s barn and the three of us,” Hoskins said. The name “Barn 3” stuck.

The process wasn’t without some tense moments, however. “One of the things we realized was, ‘We’ve got to ask Eventide if they’re good with us using their name,'” Murtagh adds.

“So I found the national sales manager and wrote him this long email…we called a patent lawyer just to see what we could and couldn’t do, because we were expecting a ‘cease and desist’ order, but Eventide was like, ‘yeah, no problem…go for it.’ It’s just funny how awesome this industry is…it was such a cool brotherhood type of moment,” Murtagh said.

“It took us about a month or two to get everything in order, the funding and incorporation and all that, and then literally, on my end, I built all of these by hand. I converted my dad’s woodshed into a metal shop. The rest of it I did in my living room on a folding card table, watching MacGyver,” Keller said proudly.

“The whole manufacturing process, whatever step I was working on, was a new problem to solve,” Keller said. “It’s one thing to prototype something where you can spend five hours on it, but when you have to scale it up that’s a whole other ballgame. Literally, every step of the process was an uphill climb. Here’s a problem: how do I expand this? How do I fix this?

“It was probably at least six or seven months of working every single night when I got home from work and all through the weekends just to get these done. But when it was all said and done, if we hadn’t sold a single one of these, just the process was such a huge learning experience…because of the work the three of us did together. We created something bigger than ourselves. We pushed through and we got it done.”

“We sweated every decision we made,” Hoskins added. “That was the scrutiny we put everything under.”

It’s all paid off, in this writer’s opinion. The OX and Tap Tempo feel seamlessly integrated into the Factor design and footprint and make accessing presets and feature much more streamlined and efficient. The intuitiveness of the OX and Tap Tempo, along with the care and work ethic displayed by Murtagh, Hoskins, and Keller bode extremely well for the future success of Barn 3.

“Ryan’s ‘mad scientist-ness’ has created this huge backlog of things that we can launch,” Murtagh said. “He’s good at solving problems. What we want to do right now is focus on building relationships in the music community and with guitarists and figure out where their biggest problems are.”

So the future looks bright for Barn 3. But for right now, thanks to three friends and a barn in Pennsylvania, your Eventide Factor pedal will become one of your best friends, ready to help you embark of on some of your own musical journeys.

Cue the footage of Richard Dean Anderson holding a kitten that is playfully swatting at bubbles.

Tiny URL for this post:
 

Advertisements

SubscribeTTKsYTChannel

Filed Under: FeaturedInterviewsPedals

About the Author:

%d bloggers like this: