Marcus King: "I've been as inspired by the Wu-Tang Clan as I have by Aretha Franklin or Duane Allman"

Elixir® Strings
(Image credit: Elixir® Strings)

Marcus King cannot be pigeonholed and his fascinating musical journey so far is proof. It's all a reflection of an artist whose influences are so broad, he's even drawn from the melodic approaches of iconic vocalists to inspire his guitar lines.

When I was coming up playing, I didn't want to sound like every other guitar player so I wanted my guitar to sound like Janice Joplin or Tina Tuner's voice

"When I was coming up playing, I didn't want to sound like every other guitar player so I wanted my guitar to sound like Janice Joplin or Tina Tuner's voice," Marcus reflects in the Elixir® Strings interview video below. "Their phraseology and the way they approached a song is so much different and richer to me than their guitar counterparts."

Don't be closed-minded about it - listen to everything

Even so, Marcus King's musical search hasn't been limited to the blues and soul music.  

"I've been as inspired by the Wu-Tang Clan as I have by Aretha Franklin, or Duane Allman, for example," he adds. "So don't be closed-minded about it - listen to everything."

Marcus also explains how even absorbing audiobook versions of classic literature like John Steinbeck's East Of Eden on the tour bus can inspire his craft. "Listening to the way he so colourfully depicts the American landscape, it just heals my soul and influences the way I try to depict what I'm talking about," he says.

It all comes together live – the place Marcus believes he really thrives. "I've always said the stage is kind of like a therapist's office," he smiles, "and the audience is more or less like a therapist. They can hear everything that I have to say and they give you some reciprocation, some feedback, and allow you to get it all off your mind and off your chest."

Elixir® Strings

(Image credit: Elixir® Strings)

Elixir Strings feel right at home under my hands

The rig for delivering Marcus's musical testimony live is formidable; his signature Orange MK Ultra stacks coupled with a Fender Dual Showman head, plus an armoury of guitars including his signature Gibson ES-345 and the unusual three-pickup Les Paul Custom – all fitted with Elixir® Strings

It's Elixir® Strings that he still relies upon night and night, nearly a decade on from his first encounter with them: "I just loved how they held the note – sustained," he says. "I loved the feel of them. They feel right at home under my hands." 

Elixir® Strings

(Image credit: Elixir® Strings)

The long life and great tone of Elixir® Strings also benefit Marcus's playing at home, where his most treasured instruments reside: "I've got these guitars that I don't particularly take out on the road and six months will go by, I'll pull out Big Red (Marcus's original 1962 Gibson ES-345) and it's in tune – it still sounds as crisp as the day I put the strings on."

Marcus King plays Elixir® Electric Nickel Plated Stee; Strings with OPTIWEB® Coating 11-49 and Acoustic Phosphor Bronze Strings with NANOWEB® Coating 13-56.

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