Two Sparta Men Among 100 Greatest Guitarists

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:15

    Sparta -Two Sparta men have been honored by inclusion in a listing of the "100 Greatest Acoustic Guitarists."  The Web site,, 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. The list includes musicians living and deceased. The Web site has separate listings for blues, jazz, rock, and classical guitarists. McMeen, 57, lives in Sparta full-time. Grossman, 59, splits his time between Sparta and New York City, and maintains his internationally renowned guitar workshop in Sparta. Grossman has been a seminal influence on a generation of guitarists worldwide, and has been recording, performing, and writing about guitar techniques and styles for more than 30 years. His specialty is country blues. Grossman studied with the late bluesman, Rev. Gary Davis, and during the period from 1965-1975 studied and traveled with some other legendary figures in the world of blues guitar, including Skip James, Mississippi John Hurt, Son House, and Mississippi Fred McDowell. Grossman has prepared numerous books for Mel Bay Publications, as well as 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 is among the premier players in the world in rendering "Celtic" (Irish and Scottish) music on guitar as a solo instrument. In addition, he has substantially expanded the repertoire in an unusual guitar tuning--CGDGAD--with hundreds of arrangements. In many cases, McMeen was the first guitarist, or among very few guitarists worldwide, to render pieces originally intended to be sung, or performed on harp or bagpipes. He has also arranged and recorded sacred music and pop music, including "Motown," as guitar solos and gives private lessons. Every listing like this is very subjective, and some glaring omissions caught my eye. 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!" said McMeen in commenting on the honor. Grossman's Web site is, and McMeen's is