Each one of Rick Kelly’s unique Carmine Street guitars is a little piece of New York – literally. The handcrafted instruments are made from reclaimed wood from some of the city’s most historic haunts. Kelly calls his creations the “bones of New York,” and fashions them out of lumber salvaged from places like the Chelsea Hotel and Chumley’s.
The custom-made instruments have put the Greenwich Village guitar shop on the map, attracting all-star clients from the music world. Kelly is renowned for using reclaimed wood from NY buildings slated for demolition and his special guitars echo the sounds of New York’s past with every chord.
The “Bowery Pine” line has sold sixty guitars thus far, with a few unique commission projects, including a guitar made from the wood of the now closed famous Chelsea Hotel for Lou Reed, and an instrument made from the defunct beat hang out bar, Chumley’s. for Bob Dylan. Another client commissioned a guitar made from roof beams from his childhood home on the Lower East Side.
The reclaimed wood comes in many levels of condition, but Kelly is able to manipulate any grade of wood to create an exquisite sounding instrument. Much of the aged wood contains crystallized resin, which adds a perfect layer for resonance.