How to Slap, Tap and Pop on Acoustic Guitar with Justin King

Last week we posted a video we shot of acoustic guitarist Justin King performing his percussive "tapping" workout, "Phunkdified."

As a follow-up to that performance, we're pleased to present the following video of Justin breaking down some of his signature acoustic-guitar techniques.

Justin King also fronts King Radio, whose self-titled debut was released on October 16. King Radio, which was co-produced by Grammy winner Jim Scott (Tom Petty, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rolling Stones), contains 12 songs that showcase King and his band's unique blend of southern soul, country and rock and roll. For more about King, visit

  • Brooklyn-based band King Radio has confirmed the October 16 release for their self-titled debut album King Radio. Co-produced by Grammy winner Jim Scott (Tom Petty, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rolling Stones), King Radio’s dozen songs are a stunning blend of southern soul with gritty elements of country, soul and rock ‘n’ roll — compressing bristling energy, smoldering emotionalism and clear-eyed lyrics into an original distillation of timeless American music.

Built around the band’s core trio of singer, songwriter and guitar virtuoso Justin King, drummer and percussionist AJ Jump and bassist Mark Kiesinger (who is also a professional mortician), King Radio released their first single “Lonesome Nights” in 2012 and King began writing songs for a debut album. A successful Kickstarter campaign raised the funds for the band to co-produce King Radio with Jim Scott, along with the sprawling cast of 18 other musicians who appear on the album, bringing its panoramic arrangements to life.

Prior to the formation of King Radio, Justin King traveled the world as a solo guitarist and later as a war photographer. He was twice embedded with the U.S. Military in Iraq, and went on to cover a combative election, subsequent rioting and a cholera epidemic in Haiti. “Those experiences altered my perspective in ways that I hadn’t anticipated,” he says. “They allowed me to see some of the best and the worst of humanity, and to really get a better appreciation for the breadth of the human experience. It probably hardened me to some degree but I think it also made me more empathetic to the struggles we all go through.”

Those experiences fueled some of the most compelling songs on King Radio, like “The Valley,” a piano driven ballad that details the strains across the gulf between home and the battlefield. The tune also spotlights one of King’s most emotion-drenched vocal performances. “The struggles I saw troops have with being in a war zone and having to do missions every day while having a family back home that is struggling to keep their house, or a spouse who is leaving them because this is their fifth tour, was heartbreaking,” says King.

“What I’ve found in this band is the sound I’ve been searching for,” says King. “With the pedal steel guitar, mandolin, keyboards and fiddle, it’s got aspects of, for example, the Band, but with our horn section, there’s also a Motown element. It’s the right match for the stories I want to tell with my songs — about what it’s like to struggle, to love, to lose and to hang on.”

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Guitar World Staff

Since 1980, Guitar World has been the ultimate resource for guitarists. Whether you want to learn the techniques employed by your guitar heroes, read about their latest projects or simply need to know which guitar is the right one to buy, Guitar World is the place to look.