El McMeen, Fingerstyle Guitarist,
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El’s Memoir  “GROWING UP IN GOD’s COUNTRY” Honored as a “#1 New Release” on Amazon.

Internationally acclaimed acoustic guitarist El McMeen has been listed among the “100 Greatest Acoustic Guitarists.” 


His artistry has been praised in numerous publications, including the NY Daily News, Acoustic Guitar Magazine, and Guitar Player Magazine. El’s music has been hailed by critics as “stirring … unbridled acoustic beauty” and “drop-dead gorgeous” (Guitar Player Magazine) and as a “treasure” (Dirty Linen Magazine).
While he plays in many styles, El’s music focuses on beautiful melodies, and his up-tempo pieces reflect a joyful, toe-tapping pulse. He emphasizes touch, tone, and phrasing. He specializes in rhythmic flexibility and often employs harp-like arpeggios in many different genres of music, Celtic, spiritual, and pop.
El’s composition and performance of “Le Mans” won First Prize (Instrumental) in the 6th Annual International Acoustic Music Awards contest in 2009.
El has toured throughout the United States, but is now concentrating on guitar instruction, workshops and writing, in addition to composing and arranging pieces for guitar.
El’s recordings, “Breakout,” “The Lea Rig,” and “Solo Guitar Serenade,” are listed among the “100 Greatest Acoustic Guitar Albums.”
El’s books of guitar pieces, including several major folios written or co-written for Mel Bay Publications.
El’s DVD lessons for Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop.

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Shop CDs, DVDs, and Books

El has recorded numerous albums of guitar music, most of which are available in either digital or physical format through CD Baby. For El’s releases that are not distributed through CD Baby, please contact El directly through our contact page.
All of El’s albums of guitar music, most of which are available in digital and physical format through CD Baby. For releases not distributed through CD Baby please contact El directly.
All of El’s instructional and performance DVD’s are available through Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop.
El has written numerous books of music, and many individual transcriptions of tab/music for guitarists. His Mel Bay books are available through stores and online sites. His other books of tab/music, and his sheet music, are available for purchase through SheetMusicPlus.
El’s seminal book of music for string trio (violin, viola, and cello), called Celtic Treasures for String Trio, is available for purchase through SheetMusicPlus.
El’s memoir is available through Booklocker and on Amazon worldwide.

On Guitar

I’d like to offer a few general comments that relate to my own playing and musical interests, that may be helpful to you or stimulating to your thinking about music.
In the course of rendering music that is meaningful to me, I like to exploit the special attributes of the guitar, those that distinguish it from certain other instruments (in some cases, for example, the piano; in others, the harp). I use vibrato and sustained notes, hammer-ons and pull-offs, string snapping, slides, harmonics, unison notes and string bends. I combine those techniques with arpeggios and cross-string picking, counterpoint, and walking bass lines. (Cross-string picking means basically playing sequential notes on different strings of the guitar, rather than on the same string.)
I play with a combination of flesh and nails, and use a thumb pick to give strength to my bass lines. The thumb pick brings ease to my arpeggiation across the strings, and forces my fingers to play with maximum power, to raise the overall volume of the instrument, and thereby to allow for a greater dynamic range in my playing.  I find it appealing to play musical phrases “rubato” (with rhythmic flexibility), probably because of my background in a cappella choral singing. Playing freely lets the music breathe, and altering speed, attack and dynamics, as appropriate, help bring drama and urgency to the tune–which helps to maintain the interest of the listener (and the player!)
Here’s a suggestion for your vibrato. Try working the fretted string back and forth across, rather than parallel to, the fingerboard, using only the fretting finger, without the palm or thumb of the left hand as an anchor in back of the guitar neck. Mastering this difficult technique can enhance one’s playing greatly.

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