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Producing Other Guitarists

El has personally assisted scores of guitarists in finding and developing their own voice on the instrument. He has produced/co-produced recordings for talented players, and has spent 100’s of hours in various studios on his own and other guitarists’ recordings.


In 2020, and moving forward, El has decided to return to working with fingerstyle guitarists in their efforts to create memorable guitar recordings.


He has instituted this procedure: he will receive one or two mp3 submissions from interested guitarists, review them without charge, and advise as to whether he feels he could be helpful in their recording efforts. He will quote a fee for the work anticipated, half of which will be payable in advance and is non-refundable. Travel and lodging expenses will be extra, and payable in advance.


For guitarists with whom El works, he will provide without charge copies of such of his own sheet music and/or recordings that he feels would be helpful to the particular guitarist in developing and honing his or her own arrangements and compositions.


Below are a few testimonials from guitarists to whom El has rendered assistance over the years.


“If you want to take your playing to the next level, then El McMeen is the guy you need to connect with. Not only is he a breath-taking player and interpreter of Celtic and religious (among others) music, he is a wonderful and inspiring teacher. When I first hear El’s music some 10 or 12 years ago I knew that was how I wanted to play. Several years later I had the chance to meet El at a concert he did in Chicago with Larry Pattis. He was as open, warm and friendly as the music he makes. We arranged a lesson for the next time I was in his neck of the woods (I traveled from Texas to the cold northeast!). The 3 hours I spent with El is easily the best investment I have ever made in my musical life. He is a thoughtful, caring and committed teacher that will help you take what you have and make it better. Over the last 7 or 8 years El has brought me from barely able to pick-out “My Mary of the Curling Hair” (give his version a listen) to going into the recording studio with me and producing my little CD. If you want to see how far you can travel down your musical road, my advice is to spend some time with a master player, teacher, and just great guy!” – G.C.
“I have been studying guitar for 8 years now. When I first started learning to play the guitar, I worked with a local teacher that would only teach things one way and when what I wanted to learn strayed away from what they wanted to teach, I was forced to learn on my own. I struggled learning this way for some time, until I discovered El’s music and his style of playing.


Living many states away from El has not proven to be an obstacle, not only has El been open to and supportive of communicating via email and recordings, but also in setting up times that I can travel to him and learn in person; something I have done a few times in the past 5 years. El is very open to what your goals are and what you’re interested in learning, offers a stress-free environment for learning and is very encouraging. Each time I have visited El, I have left with a feeling that my time could not have been better spent as well as have a renewed drive and desire to excel in my playing.


Not only is El a great teacher, but he’s also a wonderful person. In the beginning I was a student learning from a very talented teacher; today I call him my friend.” – S. K.
“I did not know El until I came across an article in the local newspaper about an acoustic guitarist who won an award for song of the year. I asked my wife if she knew the name. It turns out that she knew both El and his wife Sheila. A couple of questions and phone calls later, a lesson was arranged.


I have been working on playing guitar for the last five years. I have struggled with trying to teach myself. The opportunity to work with El could not be passed up! El is not only a brilliant guitarist, he is a patient, observant teacher. While El has a tremendous wealth of knowledge, he does not overwhelm you with too many concepts and things to work on. I have found this to be a common trait amongst excellent teachers. El has that ability to pinpoint an area to improve upon and provide the way to do it.


It is clear that El’s experience and study of music has given him insights that are on another level. He presents subtle concepts and changes that have a tremendous impact on how you play.


El is a wonderful person who makes you feel relaxed while taking a lesson. He has helped me progress tremendously as a fingerstyle guitarist. El has provided me with beautiful arrangements, insightful instruction, and motivation to continue to improve. I truly cherish the time that I spend with him.” – M. L.
“First and foremost, El is without a doubt one of the most gifted guitarists out there. His style and repertoire are very distinct, captivating and beautiful. The music that comes out of El’s guitar is the most passionate, graceful and moving music I have ever heard, and I am so fortunate to have met him at an early age.


I first came across the name El McMeen from Stefan Grossman’s DVD Celtic Fingerstyle Guitar: The Blarney Pilgrim. I was so moved by his arrangement of “O’Carolan’s Farewell to Music,” I had to have more, so I looked up some information online. As a central New Jersey native, I was very excited to learn that El lives only about an hour or so north, so I found his email and sent him a few fingerstyle songs I have been working on just for the hell of it, including his rendition of Farewell. To my complete surprise, I found that he had emailed me back, giving me advice to make my playing better. After a short time and a few songs later, El suggested a lesson and before I knew it I was packing my guitar and making my way up to north Jersey.


My first lesson with El was really a turning point in my playing, in that he introduced me to the dreaded thumb-pick; a tool I despised. He really emphasized the importance of the thumb-pick for Celtic guitar, so I had to overcome my reluctance and I am so glad I did because it really helped me create my own style. Since that first lesson we have had several more in which he helped me in my dynamics and musical approach as well as how to convey my emotion and arrange songs better. He is an astounding teacher.


The best thing about El is the support and encouragement he has given me over the last few years. To this day I send him a recording of almost everything I work on so I can get his criticisms and feedback. He has inspired me to not only be a distinguished guitarist but a singer and songwriter as well… Who would have thought that man I saw on the DVD would help me so much on my musical journey? I sure didn’t. Over the past few years I have been extremely fortunate to have him watch me progress, hoping that he might see that my playing is a reflection of his. El was musical inspiration that became a mentor, and a mentor that became a friend, and I don’t know what I would do without him.” – D. H.
“El McMeen is an incredibly talented musician, and a gifted teacher. Not all musicians make good teachers, so it is especially helpful to find one who is good at it, and El excels at teaching.


I recently attended a workshop he was a teacher at and found his insights into my playing to be focused and helpful. He offered just the right amounts of positive reinforcement and constructive criticism designed to help me to improve my guitar arranging and musicianship.”
– P. H.
“El McMeen is one of the great acoustic guitarists in the world today and his teaching abilities mirror his virtuosity. A great teacher listens to the pupil as well as instructs and El is very sensitive to what the student wants to accomplish. As an instructor, El comes prepared! His lessons are well-planned and his instructions are well thought-out and tailored to the student’s abilities and achievements.


As well as being a virtuoso and an excellent teacher, El is simply one of the best people out there.


I first met El at a workshop that he wasn’t even participating in, he had just stopped in to say hello to the instructor. He found a struggling beginning guitarist who he sat with and in fifteen minutes improved his playing by magnitudes of order. That was me. I cannot recommend El more highly.” – L. L.
“My first introduction to El McMeen was hearing his beautiful rendition of “The Star of the County Down” on an Acoustic Guitar Magazine compilation CD. Of all the songs on the CD (performed by well-known fingerstyle guitarists), his was by far my favorite. It was a very unique arrangement of a great song, played with such grace and style.


Many years later, I attended a weekend workshop given at El’s home on song arranging with five other students. This was my first experience with playing in open tuning and in arranging songs. Some of the workshop was devoted to discussions of playing technique, but most of the workshop involved the students playing their own arrangements. El and a second teacher provided very helpful feedback on ways to improve our arrangements or to arrange our songs in different ways.


El’s teaching style put us at ease and he had many good suggestions for improving the students’ playing technique. He has so much experience and knowledge to share with other musicians. I know that all of the students were very happy that they were able to attend, and many had driven great distances to do so. After the workshop, I have listened to many of El’s recordings and realize what at privilege it was, not only to meet such an accomplished player, but to have a weekend-long music lesson from him. It has been a real inspiration to me and now, whenever I hear a song I really like, it gets put into my list called “songs to arrange in El’s tuning”. – S. Y.