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Guitar craftsman uses unique materials from old New York

Posted at 3:40 PM, Dec 27, 2018

In New York City, it easy to hear the present. But to hear the past, you’ll have to step into Rick Kelly’s shop.

“Just celebrated 50 years of guitar making,” Kelly says. “1968. I started that. Was the first one I made in high school.”

What sets Kelly’s craft apart from other guitar makers is the material he uses.

“If you start with really old materials, you're going to have a better instrument,” he explains.

The pieces were once part of the deep roots of Manhattan.

“Using New York City wood from these old buildings,” Kelly says. “I call it the bones of old New York, because it's the bones of these old buildings from the 1800's down here.”

The guitars are handmade of hand-picked scraps of old pine.

“We actually have the largest depository of old pine in the world right here in New York City,” Kelly says.

All of the building bones is transformed into detailed pieces of playable art.

“You can kind of just smell the history back here,” says customer Kelly Wilson.