Stephen McElhenny

Steve McElhenny is a lifelong woodworker. He started woodworking at the age of 10 while building pine wood derby cars with his grandfather and later taking wood shop classes all throughout school. This interest has continued in life whether building furniture for his family, or when working for a woodworking equipment manufacturer.

His 30+ years of military service as a helicopter pilot has given Steve a keen attention to detail and the discipline to follow sound fundamental principles of successful instrument building.

Steve has been a guitar player and guitar tinkerer for about 20 years. The passion for musical instruments combined with skills and experience led Steve into the world of professional lutherie. He is a product of the Red Rocks Community College Fine Woodworking Program, taking 55 credit hours of lutherie and woodworking classes over a four-year period while working full-time for the Colorado Army National Guard.  

Steve started Maximum Guitar Works, Ltd. in 2016 to build custom electric guitars for clients that had very specific needs that are not commercially available. Every aspect of his custom guitars is made to customer specifications determined through a unique personal consultation process. Special requests are handled with the attitude, “Nothing is impossible. Tell me what you what and let me figure out the how.”

Steve’s commitment to excellence carries over into the classroom. He spends many hours preparing for each class, including producing task-specific videos that are designed for the students to access this knowledge now and anytime in the future. Fundamental knowledge and attention to detail are the cornerstones of success, as are the primary principles used to teach the skills of instrument building. Steve currently teaches Basic Electric Guitar Construction and Advanced Electric Guitar Construction at Red Rocks Community College.