What Guitar Does Marcus King Use?
Marcus King (born March 11th 1996) is best known as the frontman, lead singer and songwriter for The Marcus King Band. He has been active on the music scene since 2013 and comes from a long line of music makers. His dad, Marvin King was a well known blues guitarist in South Carolina who also appeared with gospel acts. While his grandad was also a popular musician around his local region.
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What Kind Of Guitar Does Marcus King Play?
Marcus King’s top guitar is his grandad’s 1962 Gibson ES-345 which he calls “Big Red”.
The Es-345 was a favourite for artists like; Freddie King, Chuck Berry and BB King as well as Eric Clapton.
Marcus doesn’t take this guitar on tour with him, to save it from getting damaged.
Marcus Also Plays The Following Guitars:
- Gibson ES-345 Custom – which is the prototype of his signature model and the guitar he takes on tour so as to keep his grandad’s legacy safe.
- Fender 1962 Stratocaster – which he modified by replacing the 3-way switch with a 5-way switch among other things.
- Gibson Les Paul Custom – which has a 1958 body with a 70s neck.
- Fender Telecaster – which is owned by Dan Auerbach and Marcus used on the “El Dorado” album.
- Gibson Les Paul Goldtop – The first Goldrtop he played belonged to Duane Allman and Marcus really liked it, he said that Gibson “were kind enough to send me one”.
- D’Angelico Excel EXL-1 – He can be seen playing this when performing the track “Wildflowers & Wine” on the live recording for World Cafe.
Acoustic Guitars Marcus King Plays
- 1939 Martin D-18 – Which was a gift from Zac Brown.
- Gibson Hummingbird – There’s a Youtube video showing Marcus playing this guitar while performing Bob Dylan’s “Tonight I’ll Be Staying With You”.
- Rockbridge Smeck – Which was given to Marcus by Rockbridge Guitar, they took a few to one of his shows. He said “They brought a few of them and this one really struck my fancy. It’s the Smeck model. Real short neck, but it just really projects and puts out a lot of sound. I just fell in love with the guitar as soon as I played it”.
Who Has Marcus King Worked With During His Career?
Marcus King works with the other members of the Marcus King Band – Jack Ryan (drums), Stephen Campbell (bass) and Justin Johnson (trumpet, trombone) as well as the touring musicians Chris Spies (saxophone) and Dane Farnsworth (keyboards). He has also worked with;
- Billy Strings
- Katie Pruitt
- Dan Auerbach
- Zac Brown Band
- Jamey Johnson
- Josh Smith
- Kirk Fletcher
- Hannah Wicklund
- Ashland Craft
- Eric Krasno Band
- Marvin King (his dad)
- And Many More
What Strings Does Marcus King Use?
Marcus uses Elixir Optiweb Nickel Plated Steel medium gauge strings (.011 – .049).
What Amps Does Marcus King Use?
Since 2021, Marcus has used his custom Orange MK Ultra heads and Orange slanted 8×10 Celestion Vintage as well as the Orange Rockerverb 50 MKIII. He also uses a 1968 Fender Bandmaster and a Fender Bassman cabinet.
What Effects Pedals Does Marcus King Use?
His pedal board contains;
- Dunlop Volume
- Cry Baby Wah
- MXR Booster
- Dunlop Echoplex Delay
- MXR Reverb
- Radial Shotgun Signal Splitter and Buffer
- Tr-Fi Two Face Fuzz
- MXR Micro Chorus
- Ibanez Tube Screamer
- Dunlop Rotovibe Chorus/Vibrato
- MXR Phase 100
- Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 3 Plus
What Pickups Does Marcus King Use?
Marcus King appears to use the pickups that were originally fitted to his guitars. That’s certainly the case with “Big Red”, that guitar is all original. However, he has been known to use Tyson Tone pickups. At some point there is a video showing Marcus playing slide guitar using Tyson Tone pickups.
What Chords Does Marcus King Use?
Marcus King plays blues guitar and shapes his chords according to the phrasing he is playing. He shifts between modes as easily as a knife through warm butter. Changing from D minor pentatonic to D blues and D major pentatonic and G7 arpeggios. On some tracks he switches it up to E major hexatonic using E7, A7 and B7.
What Pick Does Marcus King Use?
Marcus doesn’t usually use a guitar pick, he plays using his thumb and fingers in a type of picking style as can clearly be seen in the video above.
However he has been quoted as saying he used Dunlop Jazz III Picks on his “El Dorado” album.
What Kind Of Music Does Marcus King Play?
Marcus King plays blues, jazz and Southern rock, his idols were Duane Allman, Albert King, B B King, Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard.
How To Play Guitar Like Marcus King
To play the guitar like Marcus King takes a lot of studying. It doesn’t look like he’s studied much as he makes it look effortless. But to get that good takes a whole lot of study. Remember Marcus started to learn guitar at a very young age and was proficient enough to perform on one of his dad’s albums when he was just 11.
To play like Marcus on the guitar you’ll need to learn all of the blues scales inside out. Watch as many Duane Allman clips as you can as well as B B King, Albert King and learn plenty of jazz theory. Marcus did study jazz theory and jazz performance with Steve Watson at the Greenville Fine Arts Center.
If you find guitar apps helpful when learning, take a look through our list of guitar apps for 2023 that we recently reviewed and ranked.
Getting good at guitar isn’t easy, whether you’re researching through blog posts like this or following an app with online guitar lessons, but the key to becoming great like Marcus is dedication and consistency.
What Age Did Marcus King Learn Guitar?
Marcus was very young when he started to learn guitar, and by the time he was 8 years old, he started playing shows with his dad. When he was 11 he played guitar on one of his dad’s albums and he was a young teenager when he first got his own band.
Frequently Asked Questions
Marcus King does play slide guitar; a good example is the track “Rescue Me” taken from the album “Young Blood” where Marcus plays a great slide solo.
Marcus has used a Boss TU3 tuner in the past.
Marcus King uses Elixir Optiweb Nickel Plated medium gauge Steel strings (.011 – .049).
Marcus King’s first solo album was released in 2020 but he released his first album with The Marcus King Band in 2015.