Sweet Spot With Mike Sugerman: Greenwich Village Man Crafts Guitars Using Old Wood From NYC Buildings


NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- A Greenwich Village man has been making guitars out of old wood from New York City buildings for the past 50 years.

Rick Kelly churns out about four guitars a month at Carmine Street Guitars, built from what he calls "the bones" of the city.

"Going through dumpsters to get it and pulling nails that's about the only negative side, but even that I don't mind. When you find it, it's like you just found a gold mine," said Kelly.

He's made guitars with wood that came from all different types of establishments, including the historic Trinity Church and Chumley's, the old speakeasy on Bedford Street.

"Some of the oldest wood came from old virgin forests that covered this whole area all the way up into the Adirondacks," Kelly said. "They built the city out of this white pine -- pinus strobus -- they were big, giant 300-year-old trees that had never been cut down."

He counts rock icons Bob Dylan, Patti Smith and Lou Reed among his many customers.

"It's not a job, it's passion," said Kelly. "You just love what you do and then you want to go to work and then it's not work."