By Lauren Handley | email@example.com
El McMeen is a jack of all trades: a retired New York City lawyer (he was a partner at a big firm), an ordained Christian minister, and a musician.
“I’ve been playing over 50 years,” McMeen said. “I wish… should be able to play better at 50 years, but you have certain trajectories. I’m pleased with how things are doing.”
Now, he’s leaving his legacy in a custom guitar.
“My whole career has been involved with taking what’s in here,” he said, touching his head and heart, “What I hear and what I feel, and putting it on the instrument. It’s taken decades to do that.”
McMeen was playing a Franklin guitar when WTAJ sat down with him Monday. He said it was a prototype of another guitar Nick Kukitch is working on.
“This is a 12 fret guitar,” he explained. “Mine is 14 frets. So this is shorter, bigger body, little deeper.”
Nick Kukitch is the founder of Franklin Guitar Company and is building McMeen’s guitar. McMeen discovered the company some years back through an instructional series he was learning from. He has bought multiple guitars from Kukitch.
“A guitar is… it’s hard to describe music except in terms of other ideas, other senses,” he said. “Like this is a wool sweater. I mean, you could have a guitar that’s kind of a merino wool or my wife said satin. That’s another one. This is silk.”
Kukitch is currently in Missouri working McMeen’s guitar by hand. It will take anywhere from 80 to 100 hours of work, but the distance isn’t hindering the creative collaboration.
“A lot of guitars sound like vibrating boxes. His has more of a wall of sound. Just this beautiful, kind of crystalline sound,” he said. “It’s the cat’s meow.”
McMeen said the guitar will hopefully make its debut mid-summer, and be a guitar anyone will be able to play, including the aspiring guitarists he teaches.
“Most of the world’s problems are you have a whole bunch of creative people without and outlet,” he said,” and so music is a wonderful outlet.”
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