Two Sparta men among best acoustic guitarists

Grossman, McMeen named in '100 Greatest'

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  • Stefan Grossman

  • El McMeen

— Two Sparta men have been honored by inclusion in a listing of the "100 Greatest Acoustic Guitarists." The website, which prepares comprehensive musical assessments, has named Stefan Grossman and Ellsworth ("El") McMeen among its Top 100, based upon "their individual originality, innovation, technique and influence" within the genre of acoustic guitar. ("Acoustic" guitar refers to the unamplified instrument.) The listing is at The list includes musicians living and deceased. The website has separate listings for blues, jazz, rock, and classical guitarists.

McMeen lived in Sparta from 2002 to 2012, and recently returned to live in Sparta after having resided in Huntingdon, PA for five years. Grossman maintains his internationally renowned guitar workshop in Sparta. Each man is married, with grown children, and grandchildren.

Grossman has been a seminal influence on generations of guitarists worldwide, and has been recording, performing, and writing about guitar techniques and styles for more than 50 years. His specialty is country blues played on acoustic guitar. Grossman has written numerous books, as well as recording or producing audio and video guitar lessons, and has recorded and toured as a guitarist throughout the world.

McMeen has also written, recorded, and toured extensively. He specializes in guitar arrangements of songs and other types of music with beautiful melodies, including “Celtic,” pop, and sacred music. In addition, he has substantially expanded the repertoire in an unusual guitar tuning--CGDGAD--with hundreds of arrangements. His composition “Le Mans” won first prize in the instrumental category of the International Acoustic Music Awards in 2010, and McMeen received the further honor of being named among the top 10 IAMA artists of the decade in 2010.

Each guitarist has published numerous music books through Mel Bay Publications, international publisher of music and instructional materials.

In commenting on the honor, McMeen said, "Every listing like this is very subjective. On the other hand, the list contains many, many fantastic musicians, and personal favorites of mine. They saw fit to include my friend Stefan and me, and spelled our names correctly, so what's not to like!"

McMeen added that the list contains his sometime touring partner, Larry Pattis, who lives in Eugene, Oregon.

Grossman's website is, and McMeen's is <URL destination=" ">

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