Metro Detroit firefighter builds guitars for rock stars

Metro Detroit firefighter Ken Meyer builds guitars for rock stars

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"The Munsters" guitar Ken Meyer built for John 5. "The Munsters" guitar Ken Meyer built for John 5.
WARREN, Mich. (WJBK) -

Ken Meyer has been a metro Detroit firefighter for 25 years.  When he is not in uniform, he is in the wood shop in his father's garage in Warren building guitars for rock stars.

"John 5 of Rob Zombie's a big fan of the 'Creature,' 'The Munsters' and stuff like that, so I did this 'Munsters' guitar for him," Ken said.

John 5's guitars include the "Light" guitar, the "Lava" guitar, "The Munsters" and the "Creature from the Black Lagoon."  The body work of the design is Ken's creation.  Other companies do the beautiful artwork.  Koontz Guitar Repair in Ferndale does the fretwork and wiring.

The guitars then find their way into the hands of people like Paul Stanley from KISS, Devon Allman, Bobby Schneck with Slash and, of course, John 5.

The body of the "Lava" guitar is acrylic and made by the guys from the show "Tanked" on Animal Planet.  The "Light" guitar loaded with LEDs.  It is sort of a show all on its own.

"John 5 is a fanatic about the 'Creature from the Black Lagoon,'" Ken said.

So he enlisted the help of his father, Dave, who carved the creature creeping out of the "Black Lagoon" guitar.

"I'm very passionate about coming out and just doing woodworking.  It's my release to get out here and be with my father," Ken said.

Dad is almost 80 years old, a retired firefighter and a woodworker.  It seems the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

"He does a beautiful job," Dave said.

Ken, now 50, started building guitars in wood shop in high school.  His teacher didn't know how to do it, so Ken brought in a book and taught himself.

Start to finish is about a six month process at a cost to him of about $2,500.

"I never dreamed when I was in high school about being a millionaire.  I dreamed about having my stuff played on the stage.  That's what I wanted," Ken said.

Dreams really do come true.  The "Light" guitar will be in the very talented hands of John 5 with Rob Zombie on July 28 at DTE Energy Music Theatre.

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