This month GT's prog hound Paul Biela­tow­icz un­locks the gui­tar style of Ty Ta­bor from the spir­i­tu­ally in­clined and highly mu­si­cal three-piece, King’s X.

Guitar Techniques - - Contents -

Paul Biela­tow­icz on the prog gui­tar style of Ty Ta­bor from the hugely un­der­rated Kings X.

Ty Ta­bor was born in 1961, in Pearl, Mis­sis­sippi. He be­gan singing and play­ing gui­tar at a young age, and by his early teens was per­form­ing with his fa­ther and his brother in a blue­grass band.

As the pop­u­lar mu­sic of the 60s and 70s be­gan to catch his ear - much of it com­ing from the so-called Bri­tish In­va­sion bands with their in­ter­est­ing chords and great vo­cal har­monies - he wanted to do the same and so started play­ing in high school bands. One of these was a Chris­tian rock group called Matthew, which would be the ve­hi­cle that kick-started young Ta­bor's tour­ing ca­reer, not long af­ter he grad­u­ated.

A lit­tle later Ta­bor moved to Spring­field, Mis­souri to at­tend col­lege; once there he im­mersed him­self in the lo­cal mu­sic scene. One band he played with had the op­por­tu­nity to open for the suc­cess­ful Chris­tian gui­tarist, Phil Keaggy.

Keaggy's drum­mer was Jerry Gaskill; he and Ta­bor hit it off per­son­ally and mu­si­cally, and it wasn’t long be­fore the two would get to­gether and form a band, chang­ing both of their ca­reers for­ever.

In the spring of 1980 Ty was asked to per­form at a col­lege talent show with a fe­male singer. Bass player Doug Pin­nick was in the au­di­ence, and was so im­pressed by Ta­bor's per­for­mance that he got in touch with the gui­tarist and the two be­gan col­lab­o­rat­ing.

Even­tu­ally Ta­bor, Pin­nick, Gaskill and gui­tarist Dan McCol­lam formed their own out­fit, called The Edge. McCol­lam left and was soon re­placed, and when his re­place­ment de­cided to quit the band, they made the fateful de­ci­sion to con­tinue as a trio. They changed their name to Sneak Pre­view and re­leased a self-ti­tled EP in 1983. A few years later the band were picked up by the vice pres­i­dent of ZZ Top’s pro­duc­tion com­pany, who took them un­der his wing, be­com­ing their man­ager and in­flu­enc­ing their name change to King’s X.

Al­though highly rated and re­ceiv­ing great re­views in the press and ac­co­lades from many big-name artists, King's X never got the commercial suc­cess that they de­served. How­ever, with the band Ta­bor has be­come one of most well re­spected gui­tarists in the prog rock genre to­day. His style and tone, as well as his vo­cals and song­writ­ing, are cru­cial el­e­ments in the in­no­va­tive King’s X sound.

Spir­i­tual in na­ture, the band’s lyrics have of­ten led to them be­ing la­belled as 'Chris­tian rock', al­though that’s con­sis­tently been shrugged off by the mem­bers as un­true.

With King’s X, Ta­bor has be­come one of most well re­spected gui­tarists in the genre to­day.

Ty Ta­bor: ace six-stringer with King's X

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