Cindy Hulej

Catching Up and Northeast Guitar Expo

I haven’t posted in far too long and so I figured I would do a quick post. I will be attending the Northeast Guitar Expo this Saturday in Farmington CT from 10-6pm for those of you who can make it and I will be on my first true vacation in years in New Orleans the 3rd-7th so I’ll be missing for another couple weeks but will be updating very soon so please check back! Time flies when you’re having fun(and working hard)!

http://northeastguitarexpo.com/

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Mini Documentary//Inspiration

For those of you who haven’t seen it yet.. We just did for the first time the other day and think it’s great. Thanks very much Joey, if you’re reading!

Thought you guys may enjoy it, though, and get a good sense of the shop and what Carmine Street/Kelly Guitars are all about. I’m very proud to be in it and be working at the shop with Rick.

Haven’t posted many favorites//inspiration in a  while..

Zdzislaw Beksinski, love all of the videos online of him but here’s a couple of them..
Thought it was interesting in the second link where he was talking about how similar Xenakis and Schnittke’s sounds/harmonies are, yet one is emotional for him and the other he disliked- reminded me of the NY Times article I linked to a post or two back on what makes music sad (link for that for those of you who missed it: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/17/arts/music/in-praise-of-blue-notes-what-makes-music-sad.html?_r=0 )



•Hieronymus Bosch, of course, for those of you who have never looked closely at his “instruments”
•Albert Joseph Penot’s Bat Girl(I think 1890?)
•Jesse Draxler//Jen Whitaker’s work from a while back, although he’s constantly coming out with great stuff
•Jean Melville’s Parsifal (1890?)
•Julia Randall
•Kim Sung Jin’s Aphrodite (2007)
•Takato Yamamoto
•Barnaby Whitfield
•A great movie on Netflix right now – Before I Disappear, highly recommended. One of my all time favorites now really.
•Odd Nerdrum of course. Watch out for his upcoming solo show at Booth Gallery, absolutely incredible stuff

Here’s a couple photos of the bowery pick guard I did for Nate over at Wholetone Guitars. Skimtop Kelly T Bowery Pine guitar. He’s also getting a great Bowery Pine LesG.


Rick and I have a mini Grave model coming along to match the cathedral guitar.. Look out for more process shots on this one.
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You guys know by now how much I love and have followed the Kings Theatre.. well, when Bret and I were getting like 5 tons of old pine the other day, walking back we saw they were shooting something over there.  Didn’t check any signs, wonder what it could be! If anybody finds out let me know!

 
One more interesting thing you guys would probably enjoy.. 1930s Gibson Bret sent me that came in. What a neat old guitar! I’d buy it, so cool, photos in the soundhole. I wish I knew the story.

 
I’ve got lots of work to do so I am leaving this as is. I will post more very soon, the Jimi Hendrix/”Merman” themed guitar is coming along very nicely.
Here’s a sneak peak of that so stay posted!

Xxx

Learned Excellence

I haven’t posted since before Christmas.  Christmas vacation ended up good but the airport was a bit of a nightmare.  We had a flight booked and had to wake up ridiculously early for the 23rd.. so early in fact that even our alarm clock said “fuck you, I’m not waking up that early”.  So, we hauled ass and got to the airport what we thought was in time but since we weren’t 45 minutes early(we were 25 minutes early) they wouldn’t let us board.  They decided to send our luggage down to NC without us regardless. Go figure.

We hung out 14 hours until we caught literally a couple of the last seats on the last standby for the night. (Being so close to the holiday of course all the rental cars and trains were completely booked).
The obvious point to all this being that I wanted to share with you my decided outfit for the rest of the night walking around JFK…

Also spent some time sitting around the airport online searching through some old/rare Swedish punk; one of the links for those of you who care.. and another great song by one of my many old favorite bands from England..

Bret bought me a beautiful ring set I’ve wanted for a long time for Christmas. Couldn’t help but take a photo of it on the original Hendrix Electric Church tour book that his father got at the show and gave him. Real neat book; what an awesome present! I’m sure a lot of you reading this can appreciate that at least if not my weirdo jewelry. (: Also got some amazing leather tools, a proper shop mask, Death/Traitors gloves, and some other really great things. Kell bought me a great bench brush. Here’s a photo of that and also Rick and Lindy Fralin when he stopped by around the holidays!

Airport back wasn’t as bad, took some neat photos from the plane.  Also did some quick sketching on the way home while listening to a pretty good playlist on the plane’s radio hosted by Mike Wolfe from American Pickers.

 

This blog post is going to be a bit random (as usual?) but I am trying to catch up with all that’s gone on(..as usual) I have no excuses except that I always have a million things going on and work a lot.

For those of you who remember Giampaolo’s custom and that I started reading The Great Bridge because I was burning the Brooklyn Bridge on the back of his guitar.. well, I am still reading it.  Really is a book just chock full of information and really gives great insight into what life was like back then.. this folklore bit stood out to me most out of what I’ve read recently..
“There were farms not very distant where the old Indian trail to Venango could be plainly seen. Delaware, Shawnees, Senecas, and Muncies had used it for nobody knew how long.  George Washington himself has traveled it by foot.  An old blacksmith named Glover, the first known settler in Butler County, was still alive then and a subject of immense respect.  He had been at Valley Forge. And probably the most famous person in the whole county was an old woman over in Buffalo township whose story was part of the pioneer folklore Washington Roebling had grown up with.  Her name was Massy Harrison.  In 1792 she had been captured by Senecas and Muncies, who murdered two of her children before her eyes, then set off on a terrifying forced march through the forest, driving her and her one remaining child, an infant, before them.  But she had managed to escape and made an unbelievable run for her life, traveling four days through the wilderness, still carrying her baby.  When she reached Pittsburgh, scarcely half alive, it was recorded on good authority that more than 150 thorns were extracted from her feet.”
Freakin ouch…

Speaking of New York history.. I found these neat photos I had never seen before I thought you guys may enjoy of the Grand Central Terminal clock’s glass restoration and of the old Penn Stations’ demolition, although the second one may just piss you off as much as it did me which I apologize for in advance.. I just couldn’t believe they didn’t bother to save those beautiful sculptures.. And of course, I got very excited when I accidentally came across the photo of my neighborhood, the Flatbush/Church Avenue signs. “Brooklyn Borough President John Cashmore removing the street sign at Flatbush and Church avenues to send to homesick soldier, 1946” So cool.


Here’s some shots of the things I’ve been working on at the leather shop lately.. I am slowly building up to making the harnesses I’ve wanted to for years and so I’ve been making bracelets and bootstraps and all kinds of things here and there before ordering the hardware and all that I want to.  I’m sure I will be experimenting with guitar straps very soon, as well. And definitely more leather guitars coming up. You guessed it, all done by hand..

 

I made Bret a guitar for Christmas/his birthday. Really cool old ’52 style T –  he’s a lefty so it’s a lefty guitar; lefty body but with a reversed righty neck just like the only lefty in the Blackguard Book. Neat idea!  100 year old flamey rock maple and 200 year old Bowery Pine from Chumley’s Speakeasy.
Also went to the transit museum and Black/Gold recently.
Some process and finished shots, transit museum shots(such awesome shots of the old motor truck and engine room), plus my buys from Black/Gold.. I collect badges/pins for those of you who don’t know. I also collect ormolus, which I put a photo of the one Carol gave me which is at the shop on my bench now.  Might as well add a process video and the final shots of the Dia de los Muertos guitar I made for Daniel.


Here are some of the things that have been going on in the shop.. a couple jobs I worked on.. before and after cleaning the fingerboard on an SG and some frets I was working on before and after buffing. Also, some bodies that Rick has been working on, the guitar he built for himself for his birthday(the Moth!- so freakin gorgeous!!!) and the new ridiculously huge vise that he bought. Haha! Super beautiful vise nonetheless, we love it!

During Blizzard Jonas I got stuck home a few days and worked on a Bowery/NYC themed pick guard for our friend Nate over at Wholetone Guitars the whole time but we did go out in the snow a bit.  I LOVE the snow and love my neighborhood when it snows so I took some great shots of that too. The amazing odd spiderwebbed lights photos was not edited, I think my camera was just ridiculously cold..   I will post the finished pick guard very soon. I have already started shellacking it (watch the video) and so I figure I’ll just wait until it’s on the guitar and ready to ship!

Last couple things I’d like to share.. one is an article I read in the Sunday times last week called “In Praise of Blue Notes: What Makes Music Sad?
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/17/arts/music/in-praise-of-blue-notes-what-makes-music-sad.html?_r=0

“What is sadness in sound per se? Nothing. It doesn’t exist. There is no note or kind of note that in and of itself is sad and only sad. ”

Thought it was very interesting and liked that Ben put Albert Murray’s take on the blues in there.. “The writer Albert Murray often expressed the idea that the blues wasn’t an act of sadness, but an act of defiance and survival; that a great skill in black American culture was the ability to improvise a way out of the void. It seemed counterintuitive: Weren’t there plenty of examples in black American music of voices or instruments that were actually mimicking the sound of crying or disappointment? (Billie Holiday’s “I’m a Fool to Want You,” Etta Jones’s “I’m Through With Love,” Robert Johnson’s “Stones in My Passway,” Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smokestack Lightning.”) But Murray was probably right. Bent notes and in-between notes, the key ingredients of that music, can’t be notated, because they’re not clinical examples of music; they’re clinical examples of living and minute-to-minute choice. They cut unusual paths. They are not singing from the page; they’re full of individual will. Listen to that music thinking not about sadness but about achievement and ambition and invention and care, all the things that tend to run counter to sadness, and it makes much more sense. It’s not instinctive moaning, the sound of someone running out of options, ready to curl up and die. It is learned excellence.”
The whole article I just thought was pretty thought provoking.

Also, for those of you who don’t know about http://www.bedfordandbowery.com .. just do it. (:
So many great posts and updates on there. Some sad of course.. the Sock Man on St. Mark’s sign is down.. although he lasted much longer than I would have thought..
And for those of you who may not know about the Punk Magazine 40th Anniversary Exhibition that’s over on 6 East 1st.. Saturday is the last day to catch it I believe.
http://bedfordandbowery.com/2016/01/remember-when-punk-magazine-made-the-east-village-the-center-of-the-universe/

I think that’s a pretty good update of what’s gone on in my life recently.. I am working hard on the Hendrix themed S so I will definitely be posting photos of that soon as well! Talk to you all soon! Xx

 

1983… (A Merman I Should Turn To Be)

I am constantly apologizing for not posting daily or at least weekly but truly I am working a lot right now -75 hours per week actually, so hang in there on my updates! I am working steady on guitars either way and will have lots of stuff up within the next few weeks.

Some interesting things have gone on. I am finally finishing up the Dia de los Muertos guitar(I’ve got the neck done, just finishing up the wood burning and staining- then obviously wiring and assembly which won’t take long), starting to work on the Jimi Hendrix(song) themed order, and a birthday/Christmas gift guitar that I will post probably around mid-January. Here’s what’s gone on in my life since I last posted..

First thing, I got on an empty B train one morning on my way to the shop already looking at where I wanted to sit from outside the train window and this was written down right next to the seat, no body in the car except me- I got a kick out of it. Maybe you will too, or maybe not but here it is!

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I’ve been working on a lot of things. I finally finished the stitching on the Pick Pocket Moto Guard and the logo for the Moto Jag. I used a coping saw for nearly all of the cutting, everything done by hand for it.
My friend Carol helped me with the first Pick Pocket Moto Guard(stitching, putting the pocket in and all) She hired me to start working at her old school shop on Bleecker Street(called Native Leather). I only do once a week but it’s very helpful especially for future moto and harness work. It’s been there generations for those of you who haven’t been there yet, definitely worth a trip. She’s got a lot of leather stuff but also has hats, knives, clothing, keychains, boot straps, belts, belt buckles, badges, bolo ties, etc. (And great gloves, the ones I was trying on in that photo I had to take home ha) It’s actually one of the first places I went in on one of my first trips to the city looking for a little leather jacket when I was a kid.

Fancy new layout on the site here for the photographs.. trying to keep things in order and easier to scroll through so I hope this is helping you guys.
I’ll now have some great videos, as well; Easiest way to do this was YouTube, so Cindy Guitars now has a YouTube channel! Everything on there will be on here most likely, at least for now but I’m sure Carmine Street Guitars will have one soon, which I will post about.

 

I finished up a pick guard for our friend Charley; a custom order of the silhouette of the New York skyline. (Rick and I have been waiting for someone to order something like that- I have more ideas working with the New York skyline so keep an eye out)
I do need to get better photos of this one but this is what I have so far. I didn’t have my nice camera with me the day he picked it up.
Raw and then shellacked…

Some *process shots* on the Dia de los Muertos Cindy order.. First full Cindy order, actually. This whole face of the guitar will have artwork on it.

 

My birthday is the 20th of November. I got some really neat stuff including tickets to Kings Theatre for a private tour from Bret.
Kings is a beautiful theatre recently completely restored(built in 1929 and closed in 1977) that I’ve been following for years since I moved to Flatbush. The construction guys were nice enough to let me in and see it under restoration a couple summers but I hadn’t been there yet since it was completed. They’ve had about 80 shows now and it’s nice to see it’s doing well. Some shots from the tour..

And of course my bench.. haha, Rick makes the best birthday signs.
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I’m working on the pin-up pickguard that I started a while ago. A process/rough shot of that for anyone who may be interested.. Lotsa babes, this one’s gonna look great, though- maybe on a black t? I don’t know that I’m putting any colour on this one yet.

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There is now a bench in the apartment by the way! Rick gave me a couple really cool old piano tops some years back and one of them finally got put to good use! I’ll have some great shots of it as it’s finished up.

You all know how much I love New York and it’s history.. For those of you who have never seen Greenwich Village’s (awesome) Locksmith I took some photos of it a few weeks back.


Talking about the Village… Rick wanted to repaint the basement door so he rushed one night when it was a bit rainy out, thinking he had some solid spray paint to use and maybe it’d work out okay – only to realize it was indoor latex paint later on, so we got to the shop the next day to find this….  Try not to laugh… The landlady has black paw prints going up the stairs in her house.
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We have our stockings up in the shop, all the Bum Squad- it’s worth stopping by just to see those funny things. I’ll take photo soon and post it closer to Christmas.
I do have a photo of this.. yes, I do actually own this now..hahah; the first and only “ugly Christmas sweater” I’ve ever put on which is perfect ‘cos I absolutely love the Gremlins.
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Speaking of the Gremlins, there he is sitting on my couch! With my copy of Banksy’s Dismaland the gallery director brought back for me from England.
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Also- keep your eyes open for Jim Jarmush’s newest movie.  Rick and I have modified an acoustic guitar for it which I won’t post yet.. But here’s an article.. Jim Jarmusch New Movie
He stopped by the other day to get some work done on his own acoustic and told us he’s been filming a little bit around the block from the shop. Not the best photo but here it is… (we have a really great polaroid together when I was blonde which was hilarious – my hair was white blonde for nearly ten years and the first day I met him we were both wearing blue jean button ups, black pants, and black overcoats so we looked like twins) A photo to post soon I think! 😛

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Last thing- Pick up a copy of the upcoming issue of Vintage Guitar Magazine; I believe it’s coming out within the next couple weeks.. The first Cindy Guitars ad/new Kelly Carmine Street ad will be in it. Also the issue after that, which is the NAMM issue! XxX

Leather, Burning, and Lennon

Some photo updates on the leather jag I was working on.. Still yet to finish up some last minute things. I’ve had to travel a bit lately so I am catching up again.

Giampaolo’s custom is done. I have finished the custom pickguard  James ordered- John Lennon//Goryeo Celadon “Free as a Bird” themed pickguard and am working on finishing the Dia de los Muertos T for Daniel, the first full custom guitar order I’ve had.


  




  
The link to the information of the vase can be found here: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/cela/hd_cela.htm

More updates and posting soon.

Also, for those of you interested on Pinterest.. https://www.pinterest.com/chulej/

My new website is being worked on currently but I’ll have it up soon, still posting process shots on here of course. Xx

Last Call to Save Chumley’s;; One Click at a Time!

Hi everybody!
Being a huge supporter of “Old New York” and the few mom and pop shops left here in New York City, I had to post on this as soon as I could. I am lucky to have caught it this morning on SaveNYC’s website.  Please follow them and please take a second to sign this petition to save Chumley’s!!! So much history behind this place and it would be AWESOME to see it’s doors open again! For those of you who do not know, we also build some of our guitars out of the old pine boards from Chumley’s, so we have a special place for it in our hearts at Carmine Street Guitars right around the corner.

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https://www.change.org/p/manhattan-community-board-number-two-last-call-to-save-chumley-s-at-86-bedford-street-new-york-city

The meeting is scheduled TOMORROW(10/15/15) to begin at 6:30 p.m. in St. Anthony’s Church on Sullivan Street in SoHo.

“Chumley’s, a beloved Greenwich Village Bar since 1922 and the last beating heart of Bohemia, has been closed nearly nine years. A rag-tag group of locals, retired Firemen, and aging restaurant workers have thrown thousands of hours of work, millions of dollars in cash and countless prayers at the the wheels of Justice, Reason and New York City’s many mantled Bureaucracy keeping alive the dream of Chumley’s reopening.

There is one step, one barrier and one hope left. NYC’s Community Board Two has to approve an application for a liquor license at 86 Bedford Street. Frankly, no liquor license means no Chumley’s. And this is the last chance of the monied real estate interests and AstroTurf NIMBYs to block Chumley’s return.

Please sign the following Petition to being back one authentic link to historic Greenwich Village in a world “seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil.” See you there. #openchumleys

“We, the undersigned residents, neighbors and merchants welcome and encourage the return of our neighbor Chumley’s to 86 Bedford Street and Greenwich Village. We acknowledge the operating hours previously agreed upon with Community Board Two’s SLA Committee (and the full Community Board) of Sunday-Wednesday 11 am to 1 am and Thursday-Saturday 11 am to 2 am. We believe Chumley’s operators, known to the community for many years, will conduct a business that is contributory, cooperative and responsive to neighborhood concerns as assured.”

“If one plan won’t do, then another must.” – J.A.R.

I’ve been working hard on GiamPaolo’s custom job, which is all NYC themed taking up the whole back of his T. He’s asked for CBGB//OMFUG, the Dakota//Strawberry Fields, the Knitting Factory, Electric Lady Studios, Bowery Ballroom, the Apollo Theatre, 96-98 St. Mark’s//Physical Graffiti album cover, and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Anyway, the Brooklyn Bridge is on the top part of the back which reminded Kell of a book he had read once called The Great Bridge by David McCullough. I came in one morning and there it was sitting on my bench. I’ve started reading it and I’m not too far in but there are already some really great quotes I wanted to post on here.

The Great Bridge tells the story of how the Brooklyn Bridge came to be and what makes it so special; it seems to include any and all details you’d want to know(and much more) and Kell thought it would be important for me to understand the structure more since it is a big part of this job, being such a realistic and detailed perspective.

I’ll include some photos on here of what’s going on so far but here is another quote I found interesting first..(this is a quote about the mastermind who designed and went forth to start building the bridge; his name was John Augustus Roebling).

“One if his strongest moral traits was his power of will, not a will that was stubborn, but a certain spirit, tenacity of purpose, and confident reliance upon self… An instinctive faith in the resources of his art that no force of circumstance could divert him from carrying into effect a project once matured in his mind…” – Charles B. Stuart, an engineer and author who knew Roebling.

Times have certainly changed since all those years ago but I think it’s no less important to carry those characteristics in whatever you do in life and I think most of you reading this can probably relate in some way. It goes all the same with another quote out of an English essay Roebling and his brother had brought over when coming to the United States(Roebling had brought quite a few books with him) “No man was ever great by imitation.” Push your limits and learn all you can, the difference between reference or inspiration and copying can change everything.

Process shots.. This thing may just be done tomorrow(at least the artwork may be).

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I’ll post some more very soon; look out for the leather jag, too. That’s just about near done- Only things left is stitching on the leather pickgurd and cutting out the logo(I’m doing that by hand with a jewelers saw). Xx

Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.

Inspiration for the day, who couldn’t smile at a beautiful Marilyn photo? 

Some updates on what I’ve been getting done..  

     
  


  
  
  


So, the Cathedral is finally done! And I believe I will have the leather jag done tomorrow! It’s got a beautiful leather headstock to match the leather and accent trim on the body. I’ve got some good photos going for the website and I’ll be trying to keep up better on here again. Keep checking back!! Xx

 Nonstop work!

https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20150722/meatpacking-district/meatpacking-biker-bar-hogs-heifers-closing-due-rent-hike-owner-says

Rent hikes..more to come I’m sure..

Catching up on posting. Really has been crazy with everything going on lately- my boyfriend moved in, I worked two tattoo conventions with Paul and the guys and have had a ton of custom work to do and still catching up on all the rest of the time at the shop, ending up having to work from home as well. 

Some update photos and fun things..

Most recently more cathedral work which I’ll be finally finishing very soon. 

  

  
Did all the wiring on it yesterday, made the nut,  inlayed the truss rod cover down into the headstock, and made special mounting ring substitutes out of copper from the rear since it’s rear routed(something Kel has only done). Very exciting to be coming up on completion of this one!

I got a Kustom ’66 (2006) Dart for my bench.


 What else?

I’m finishing up Carlo’s custom job- nearly done but here’s a photo of it so far. Never thought I’d do a job with so many random things, been a challenge trying to make it work.  

  

Finished Giampaolo’s pickguard, working on the whole back of his T now, burning a NYC theme on it. 

  
 
  

Also starting a new painting.   
I’ll post some more when I get the body for Giampaolo going strong and get some other photos together. My good friend Paola gave me a very nice camera so I’ll be getting a proper website and all going very soon.

 

Updates in NYC and the Shop

              Another one gone, Pearl Paint is closed for good. One of the windows behind it’s gate now reads “Hussy”.

And so many other places.. Including really awesome buildings in Harlem that have always been some of my favorites.. The fence across the street which had a matte black building next to it with a painted window on it. I’ll have to find an early photo of that on my computer someday soon. The fence is bare now.  
Milady’s..



I went to Texas for the first time for a wedding.  Went into some antique/oddities places of course. Saw the Beer Can House, a whole lot of sky and a whole lot of rain. Photos..

Two of my favorite things I saw in the antique shop.

      

The Beer Can House cat loved me.

       

A guy named Mark makes cars for the annual Houston Art Car Show and lived around the corner from where I was staying in Houston. Neat stuff. 

I’ve finished another pickguard and am starting on my first full T order, burned and stained which I am aiming to have completed by August. I’m also working on two body pyrography orders and a couple pickguards. More photos soon for sure.    

 

Also, the Moto Guitar is Koji’s now, wasnt expecting it gone so soon or at all really! Keep an eye out for more leather work now. Koji and Masa come by every year and pick up a guitar and so this year it was mine they left with.