Justin King (guitarist)

Justin King (guitarist)

Justin King is a musician from Eugene, Oregon, best recognized for his percussive acoustic style which consists of a variety of influences ranging from jazz to Celtic music. Currently, King focuses on performing rock music with his band.

Background and early musical projects

Born on June 12, 1980 in Eugene, Oregon, King comes from a family well known in the wine business under the King Estate name. King attended O'Hara Catholic School from the first grade through the eighth grade. He later attended Marist High School before attending Oak Hill Academy, a school started by his father, Ed King. Inspired by Nirvana, he began playing guitar around age fourteen and wrote and performed songs with his current bassist, Drew Dresman. Also after mastering the drums, King began to focus on acoustic guitar at age 19, and in 1999 he released his self-titled album, followed by "Opening" in 2000. Both are currently out-of-print, and King currently has no intent to reissue these albums.

"Le Bleu" and beyond

In 2001, King released "Le Bleu", which was a mostly instrumental album featuring only one track with vocals ("Ashes"). It dramatically showcased his skills on acoustic instruments, and although the album was independently released, it would receive critical acclaim.Cite web|url=http://www.acousticguitar.com/issues/ag118/reviews118.html|title=Acoustic Music CD Reviews|accessdate=2007-05-07|publisher="Acoustic Guitar"|year=2002|author=Julie Bergman] Cite web|url=http://acquired.trivialbeing.net/moviereview.php?subaction=showfull&id=1077598884|title=Justin King - Le Bleu|accessdate=2007-05-07|publisher=Trivial Being|year=2004|author=Praetorian] However, the biggest boon to his music career was the release of live videos on the internet. The first, and most famous, was a clip of the credits from a documentary on Jean Larrivée guitars. In it King plays an energetic, fast-paced version of "Phunkdified," [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgELiyZuDgE YouTube video of Justin King playing Phunkdfied in the Larrivée documentary] ] which served to introduce younger, web-savvy players to King's unique playing style. His live performance of "Knock on Wood" at the Hult Center in Eugene, OR., introduced the notorious double-neck acoustic guitar. [ [http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6173219744108377374&q=justin+king Google video of Justin King playing Knock on Wood] ]

Following the release of "Le Bleu", King began several new projects including an electronic remix of Le Bleu by the Raging Family, and another instrumental project with Carlos Vamos and Michael Manring. His primary focus, however, was a songwriting-based rock album. He assembled a new band with longtime friends Ehren Ebbage (lead guitar) and Drew Desman (bass.) In 2005, drummer James West, uncomfortable playing in a rock band, departed and was replaced by Los Angeles native and delinquent Berkeley Physics PhD student Nadir Jeevanjee. King's endeavor in rock music also features a return to playing piano on several songs. Justin's latest music maintains his complex musical style despite acquiring a more mainstream sound.

While King had traveled worldwide during his solo years, he embarked on long US-only tour to promote his new music. He toured constantly for over a year, and a lack of internet updates caused some fans to wonder what had happened to him. In summer of 2005, King announced that he had been picked up by Epic Records, and that the band's major-label debut was to be released summer 2006.

Sony BMG/Epic Records battle

On March 20, 2007, Justin King and his band, after a long struggle, ended their contract with Sony BMG/Epic Records [ [http://justinking.com/2007/03/28/freedom-tastes-like-champagne Freedom Tastes Like Champagne - Justin King announces release from Sony/Epic contract] ] . The band felt that the label took away a considerable amount of freedom in deciding how the music should sound, as well as showing little interest in King's musical ambitions. The band released a 5-song EP called Fall/Rise in Spring 2007 before resuming touring, which included several performances in South Korea. The band's debut album, "Justin King And The Apologies", was finally released on September 28th, 2007.


Justin has admitted to have spent "more than his means" on his gear. The following list includes some of his acoustic guitars, as well as the electric guitars he has in his possession.


*12 string Taylor (serial # 564!) spruce/rosewood (main acoustic)
*Taylor 714-CE (main guitar)
*1952 Martin 00 spruce/mahogany
*1957 Martin D-28 spruce/rosewood (main acoustic)
*90's Martin 00 spruce/rosewood
*Lowden 0-25 C cedar/rosewood
*Lowden 0-25 C cedar/rosewood, fingerboard extension
*Collings SJ spruce/flamed maple
*Goodall OM spruce/rosewood
*Melville Guitars of Australia spruce/rosewood, fingerboard extension, wide neck
*Breedlove custom 7-string spruce/rosewood
*Custom Larrivee Jumbo cutaway cedar/roosewood
*Custom Larrivee Jumbo cutaway spruce/rosewood
*Daryl Perry Flameco spruce/ash


*25th anniversary Fender Telecaster
*Buck Owens model Fender Telecaster
*Parker Fly Classic
*Bigsby Gretsch
*Fender 'Sub-sonic' baritone
*Godin Glissentar
*Fender Telecaster (assembled from other parts) with Suhr pickups
*Fender '72 Thinline Telecaster reissue
*Fender Aerodyne Telecaster
*Gibson 1957 Les Paul Goldtop reissue
*Gibson 1959 ES-335 reissue
*Gibson ES-126

Doolin double neck

Justin first approached Mike Doolin, an innovative luthier with an excellent reputation, to build a double-neck steel-string guitar. Justin wanted a guitar with two identical DADGAD-tuned necks to expand on his unique two-handed tapping style. The challenge was to design an instrument that could handle 340 pounds of string tension and yet still be acoustically responsive. The instrument features many of Doolin's innovations, including a pinless bridge, and adjustable neck angles. Doolin and King's chose an instrument with a modified jumbo-style body, cocobolo (rosewood) back and sides, and a redwood top. The redwood is incredibly strong and stable, while at the same time being dynamic and possessing a rich acoustic tone. They also decided on using B-Band acoustic pickups, which are known for their excellent fidelity. The result is an unprecedented instrument, completely unique, with a wonderful tone.


olo albums

*"Justin King" (out of print) 1999
*"Opening" (out of print) 2000
*"Le Bleu" 2001

Band albums

*"Justin King and the Apologies" 2007

EPs/Other Releases

*"Pilot EP" 2003
*"Bright And Dirty Lights EP" 2005
*"Bright And Dirty Lights Taster Disc" 2005
*"C-Sides" 2006
*"Fall/Rise" 2007


External links

* [http://www.justinking.com Justin King Homepage]
* [http://www.justinking.info Justin King Unofficial Forum]
* [http://monovita.org/article/200706/id/34 Monovita Magazine Interview]
* [http://www.doolinguitars.com/king.html Justin King Artist Page at Doolin Guitars]
* [http://www.awarestore.com/item16302 Buy Le Bleu (Awarestore)]
* [http://www.awarestore.com/item16236 Buy Fall/Rise EP (Awarestore)]

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