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My girlfriend and I went to New York over the weekend and I went down to the West Village to go see Carmine Street guitars in person.
You may recall zamoose posting this tack: http://gentlemint.com/tack/259154/
I was pretty interested in checking out the Bones of New York guitars that Richard Kelly (the owner of Carmine Street Guitars) makes in house with reclaimed wood from many of New York's old buildings which are constantly being replaced with high-rise apartments.
The shop itself is smaller, but packed full of interesting guitars many of which Mr. Kelly has hand made. He seemed like a nice guy — he didn't really say much to me while I was there but he was quick to answer any question I had politely and succinctly. I got the impression that he has a lot of tourists come through his shop and I wasn't really looking to buy anything that day so I didn't want to take up a lot of his time.
I was able to play a Tele copy that he had made and I was impressed with it. You could tell it was a very well made guitar from the second you picked it up. Sometimes on actual Fenders, especially the $1,000–$1500 ones, you'll see imperfections or things that are out of whack because everything is so mass produced these days. This guitar seemed nearly flawlessly executed and well set up. Apparently all the Bones of New York guitars are around $2,000 which is not bad at all considering you are getting a hand made guitar from a shop in a town where a pint of beer costs $9. The only thing I didn't like about the guitar was the neck — it was a little on the thick side as compared to what I am used to, but that is more of a personal preference kind of thing.
All of that said, I actually came away more interested in some of the other guitars in his shop that he had made. It appears that Mr. Kelly makes a lot of different styles of guitars, most notably a lot of instruments that I would describe as 1980s style shredding machines. These guitars aren't straight up classic replicas but more of a unique blend of a lot of interesting body styles and visually eye catching adornments. A lot of people may be turned off by that style of guitar but I thought it was interesting and way cool. I was actually pretty into a strat(ish) guitar with a leopard skin and Van Halen stripe paint job. He also had several guitars where the horn of one of the cutaways had been crafted into an eagle's head sculpture.
If you are ever in New York, I'd highly recommend heading over to the village and checking it out. In addition to Carmine Street guitars, the West Village is a great neighborhood and I try to stop there every time I am in town.