Kaki King (born Katherine Elizabeth King, August 24, 1979) is an American guitarist and composer. King is known for her percussive and jazz-tinged melodies, energetic live shows, use of multiple tunings on acoustic and lap steel guitar, and her diverse range in different genres
A genre unto herself, Kaki King might just be the next guitar god. She fuses the ancient tradition of working with one’s hands with digital technology, projection-mapping imagery onto her guitar in her groundbreaking multimedia work “The Neck Is a Bridge to the Body.” Using her guitar’s neck like a keyboard, she plays an intricate melody as she takes the audience on a musical journey of light and sound. She calls it “guitar as paintbrush.”
Kaki King’s percussive technique (guitar geeks compare it to Preston Reed’s; everyone else compares it to Eddie Van Halen’s) drives her songs forward, while layers of overdubs and her own soft vocals create a shimmering cloud of sound.
King’s work on the soundtrack for 2007’s Into the Wild was nominated for a Golden Globe, along with contributors Michael Brook and Eddie Vedder. Her groundbreaking multimedia work The Neck Is a Bridge to the Body uses projection mapping to present the guitar as an ontological tabula rasa in a creation myth unlike any other.
Kaki King, the first female on Rolling Stone’s “guitar god” list, rocks out to a full live set
As a long-time Ovation player, King was invited to design her own custom guitar, the result being the Adamas 1581-KK model. Each guitar is signed by King, and she can be seen playing it often on tour and in The DVD for Tegan And Sara’s The Con.
King’s fingerstyle playing combines fret-tapping with slap bass techniques, using the guitar for percussive beats, as well as sound layering and looping. Her playing style has been compared to Michael Hedges and Preston Reed, the latter of whom she explicitly cites as an influence.
King uses Elixir Strings, particularly the Acoustic Light Guitar Strings on her custom Ovation Adamas guitar, and is a featured artist on the company’s website
King married her wife Jessica Templin in October 2012, giving Templin her name. The pair honeymooned in Australia, where King played at the Peats Ridge Festival