Rick Kelly

product types: 

  • electric guitars


Kelly Custom Guitars are made by Rick Kelly in New York. Kelly majored in sculpture in college and started making Appalachian dulcimers in the late sixties before switching to electric guitar building around 1972. He began making 1952 style telecasters in the early 1970s and has specialised in this design ever since. As well as the traditional Telecaster, he also has his own newer design where the horn on one side is actually lopped off, and it has a paddle head stock. Kelly has been collecting reclaimed lumber since the early seventies, and uses this old wood for his guitars. He says that with old wood the resins crystallize in the wood, so it becomes more resonant. In the 1970s Kelly's shop was located in Downing Street, in the West Village, New York City but he moved around the corner to Carmine Street in 1991 where he operates Carmine Street Guitars. Kelly's customers include: Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, Bill Frisell, and guitarist Lenny Kaye. Ron Mann released a documentary film about Carmine Street Guitars in 2020.

Source: Kelly Custom Guitars website (8 December 2020)


Kelly Custom Guitars
42 Carmine Street
10014 New York City , NY
United States
New York US