It’s not often that a 20-year-old guitar prodigy gets help from the likes of Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes on his major label debut. But that’s exactly what happened in the case of Greenville, S.C. native Marcus King. Speaking with Guitar Player, King recently opened up about the influences that shaped his southern blues-rock sound.
“Duane Allman was the first guitar player that figuratively took me up and shook me,” says King. “The intensity of the whole Allman Brothers band inspired me to drive further as a musician. From a very young age, I tried to gain influence from any channel I could. I’d listen to Etta James’ vocals, Jimmy Smith’s organ playing, or John Coltrane’s sax, and try to apply what I heard to guitar.”
Not surprisingly, King developed his sound playing Gibson electrics. “I had been mostly playing a brown SG from the early ‘60s that I found at a Christian bookstore when I was 11 years old,” he says. “It has Grover tuners and mini humbuckers. But for the past couple of years, I’ve been playing what was my grandfather’s guitar. It’s a ’62 Gibson ES-345. Once I switched to that hollowbody, man, I couldn’t turn back. I used the SG one a couple of tunes for the record, but for the most part it was the 345.”