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Meet the Team

Gear Experts

At Chicago Music Exchange, we have the most knowledgeable gear experts in the industry. All musicians themselves and admitted gear-geeks, these guys can help you find your perfect gear. Can't make it to the store? Call 888-686-7872 to get your gear advice by phone.

David Kalt

David Kalt

Tour Manager

David, an amateur electric guitar rockstar, took over the Chicago Music Exchange in 2010. After working with electronic trading systems for the last decade, he really digs being able to come to work surrounded by his true love, vintage guitars.

FAVORITE GUITAR: Fender Stratocaster
FAVORITE CONCERT: Tom Petty at the United Center in Chicago (2010)

Andrew Yonke

Andrew Yonke

Chief Executive Officer

If you do what you love you will never work a day in your life.

FAVORITE GUITAR: 1960 Gibson Les Paul
FAVORITE CONCERT: Grateful Dead Shows at Soldier Field (July 1995)

George Coutretsis

George Coutretsis

Store Manager: Hollowbodies, Vintage & Boutique Amps

Born and raised right here in Chicagoland, George has been on the team here for 8 years. When he's not putting the perfect archtop in your paws, you'll probably find him at the golf course by day, and among the punk rockers by night.

FAVORITE GUITAR: 1961 Guild Starfire II in Emerald Green
FAVORITE CONCERT: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at the Vic in Chicago (2003)

Daniel Escauriza

Daniel Escauriza

Vintage Manager

Native of beautiful Paraguay, Daniel not only makes our store bi-lingual, but also a place of vintage perfection, researching, studying, dating each and every piece that walks in and out our doors. If you're looking to buy, sell, or trade vintage, Daniel will always be involved.

FAVORITE GUITAR: 1965 Fender Jazzmaster with patent number Gibson humbuckers, refin Natural w/ eagle burned onto the back
FAVORITE CONCERT: Gillian Welch and David Rawlings at the Vic in Chicago (2011)

Brian Westfall

Brian Westfall

Sales Manager: Gretsch, Rickenbacker, Vintage & Boutique Amps

The self-proclaimed Gretsch guru and admitted "delay pedal junkie," Brian has been with us for four years and still geeks out on every vintage case he opens. While he's not here gabbing about milliseconds on vintage echos or the sonic benefits of nitrocellulose finish, you'll find him working the Chicago circuit with one of his two, fine, rock n' roll bands.

FAVORITE GUITAR: 1961 Gibson ES-335 Cherry
FAVORITE CONCERT: Extra Golden at the Empty Bottle in Chicago (2009)

Joel Bauman

Joel Bauman

Gibson Guitars, Effects Guru, & Video Specialist

Originally calling Kalamazoo, Michigan home, Joel grew up a mere ten minute drive from the original Gibson factory. A connoisseur of 70's prog-rock, NBA basketball enthusiast, and singer/guitarist for sci-fi yacht metal band Royale, this straight-shooter will put the right gear in your hands every time.

FAVORITE GUITAR: Gibson Moderne
FAVORITE CONCERT: Grizzly Bear at the Riviera in Chicago (2012) or Mastodon at the Metro (2006)

Alex Chadwick

Alex Chadwick

Sales Manager

Singer, songwriter, journeyman, and poet laureate, Alex has spent the better part of his last fifteen years playing guitar, and his last ten putting the right ones in your hands. With a habit for making any guitar sound exemplary, Alex is our man for Strats, Teles, and vintage Fender bass.

FAVORITE GUITAR: 1974 Fender Stratocaster Mocha
FAVORITE CONCERT: Levon Helm at Bonnaroo in Manchester, TN (2008)

Marc Najjar

Marc Najjar

Bass Guitar Manager

When it comes to low frequency, this man is no slouch. A veteran of both tuba and bass, Marc, a Louisville, KY-native, first came to Chicago to study music education. Experienced session musician and performer, his knowledge of the Frank Zappa catalogue and unconditional passion for beets has led him here to serve you with unmatched enthusiasm and candor.

FAVORITE GUITAR: 1966 Fender Jazz Bass Shoreline Gold
FAVORITE CONCERT: Herbie Hancock and the New Headhunters (2005)

Matt Kashuda

Matt Kashuda

Guitar Sales & Effects Guru

A former Wisconsinite organic artisan baker, this Chicagoland native returns from the land of aged cheddar and waterparks with a fire for thick mahogany and tubes, on an endless search for tone. A tried and true Hawks fan, he's ready to simplify your buying experience, start to end.

FAVORITE GUITAR: Gibson Les Paul Goldtop
FAVORITE CONCERT: A Wilhelm Scream at Subterranean, 2014

Daniel Albert

Daniel Albert

Guitar Sales Guru

After spending six years in the tech industry, Daniel was happy to leave behind logic boards and UNIX systems for nitrocellulose and vacuum tubes. He enjoys drooling over the latest Gibson and Fender Custom Shop gear, working on home recordings in Logic, playing video games, and being an unapologetic cat man.

FAVORITE GUITAR: Gibson R8
FAVORITE CONCERT: Father John Misty at The Vic, 2015

Drew

Drew Kavanaugh

Guitar Sales

After growing up on the East Coast, Drew moved to Chicago in 2005 to pursue his love of selling guitars. This blues rocker has an affinity for Fender products and boutique gear, but he likes pointing you towards great gear even more. When Drew is not at the shop, he enjoys his other job, which he would tell you about, but then he would have to kill you.

FAVORITE GUITAR: One of a kind hollow aluminum Franken-Strat
FAVORITE CONCERT: Arc Angels at The Paradise in Boston, 1992

Chase Paul

Chase Paul

Used/Vintage Product Manager

As a hoarder of both fine effect pedals and exquisite cakes, Chase brings a multifaceted music industry skillset to the table and eats it too. The only thing that might outweigh this native Chicagolander's love for musical instruments is his affinity for peculiar socks.

FAVORITE AMP: 1965 Silvertone 1482
FAVORITE CONCERT: Phantom Planet @ The Metro/2003

Dave Azizinamini

David Azizinamini

Guitar Sales

Born in Oklahoma, spent time in Lincoln Nebraska, but considers Chicago his home! David is a lover of all things shoegaze, post rock and wall of sound!

FAVORITE GEAR: Dunable Yeti, 1965 Bandmaster
FAVORITE CONCERT: Circa Survive - House of Blues 2014

Shelby Pollard

Shelby Pollard

Guitar Sales

Born and raised in Southern Illinois, Shelby has called Chicago home for quite some time now. Some of his greatest loves are cameras, old guitars, and vinyl. When he isn't spending his time editing, Shelby is playing with local band Minor Characters, or taking his dog Hendrix for a walk.

FAVORITE GUITAR: 1959 Fender Jazzmaster
FAVORITE CONCERT: Styx and Reo Speedwagon

Karl Neurauter

Karl Neurauter

Acoustic Guitar Specialist

Hailing from the Ravenswood neighborhood of Chicago - you can either find Karl in our acoustic room, or performing somewhere around town. He's also a fan of craft beer, cold brew coffee, and carbs.

FAVORITE GUITAR: 1953 Gibson J-45
FAVORITE CONCERT: Fleet Foxes at The Chicago Theatre

Drum Shop

Just next door to the guitar shop, the Chicago Drum Exchange houses one of the most incredible collections of new, used and vintage drums you'll ever see. Stop by the drum shop or browse the Chicago Drum Exchange collection here online.

Rob André

Rob André

Drum Shop Manager

An independent Chicago drummer with a reputation for hard work and always playing a "really sweet kit," Rob spearheaded the new drum shop from scratch and is now our go-to guy for everything percussion. Musically, you'll find his work on recordings from artists like Remington Pettygrove and Bright Like Japan.

FAVORITE KIT: Sonor S-classix
FAVORITE CONCERT: Brian Blade Fellowship at the Chicago Jazz Festival (2010)

Ryan Quilty

Ryan Quilty

New & Vintage Drums

Since his first kick drum made out of cardboard and duct tape, accompanied by assorted pots and pans, Ryan has been finding ways to make beats since the age of 14. A connoisseur of loud instrumental rock, big drums, and big cymbals, he specializes in 60s and 70s vintage gear and bringing abused drums back to life.

FAVORITE KIT: Late 70s Ludwig Vistalite 3-Piece Blue w/ Ludwig Black Beauty Snare
FAVORITE CONCERT: Hum at Double Door on New Years Eve in Chicago (2009)

Mike Hussa

Mike Hussa

Drum Specialist

Whether it's helping someone find their great new gear at the Chicago Drum Exchange, or as a working freelance drummer with a regular gig schedule, Mike has dedicated himself to all things drum related for the majority of his life. Mike enjoys the challenge of adapting and playing any style of music that might be thrown at him.

FAVORITE GEAR: Ayotte, Gretsch, Meinl cymbals
FAVORITE CONCERT: Snarky Puppy at Metro, Chicago, IL.

Kyle Hammond

Kyle Hammond

Drum Specialist

After growing up in a tiny town in rural Illinois for most of his life, Kyle moved to Chicago in 2010 to pursue music. He’s a self-proclaimed lover of loud music and loud drums.

FAVORITE GEAR: Sabian Cymbals
FAVORITE CONCERT: Glassjaw at Metro

Customer Service

The Chicago Music Exchange Customer Service Department handles everything from taking phone orders and chatting with customers on the website, to helping you find the right pedal and making sure you get the best deal!

Sarah Neczwid

Sarah Neczwid

Customer Service Manager

At twelve, Sarah turned in NKOTB for GNR; she hasn't looked back. Rooted in North Carolina, but raised by Yanks, Sarah picked up drums due to a timely distaste for French linguistics, later touring both hemispheres, continuing to rock each and every day. Though an engineer at heart, nothing fires her up more than talking shop and giving every customer at Chicago Music Exchange the highest quality service this side of the Roman Empire (after which all of her pets are named of course).

FAVORITE KIT: 2001 Pearl MMX Masters Custom 4-ply Maple
FAVORITE CONCERT: U2 at Soldier Field (Come on... those guys put on an insane show!)

Amy Ramelli

Amy Ramelli

Customer Service

Amy, a south-suburban native to Chicago, betrayed her roots in 2010 to move up north in pursuit of a career in comedy and music. When she's not improvising with her independent team Daaang Judi Dench, she's jamming out with the post-pop ukulele rock quintet Donkey Hotel. She was inspired to pick up a guitar at the age of eleven after watching the Johnny B. Goode scene from Back to the Future and hasn't put it down since. Now, she can be found happily ensuring your CME experience is all-around stellar from start to finish.

FAVORITE GEAR: Gibson ES-339 in Cherry Red
FAVORITE CONCERT: Janelle Monae with Kellindo Parker on guitar (2013)

Siska

Chris Siska

Customer Service
Chris Sampsell

Chris Sampsell

Customer Service

 

Shipping

The CME Shipping Department makes sure your gear gets inspected, packed safely and shipped accurately and on time, every time. Shipping vintage guitars and drum kits is no small task and these guys are the absolute best at it.

Brian Robertson

Brian Robertson

Shipping Manager

A bass player originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Brian brings his talent and weird sense of humor to the CME shipping department. Brian has been playing musical instruments since the age of 2 — from trumpet to tuba and finally, the bass guitar. He is the go-to-guy when it comes to packing your gear right. Quick with a joke and even quicker to pack up your online order!

FAVORITE GUITAR: American Fender Jazz
FAVORITE CONCERT: Tool 2006 at the Wolstein Center, Cleveland Ohio

Justin Cape

Justin Cape

Shipping & Receiving

Joining us from Ohio via New Orleans, Justin prefers any instrument beaten with a stick. Without explanation he finds hilarity in fish sandwiches, and intends to be a stalwart here until the Bears wise up and draft him to play the line. In the meantime, he'll be taking outstanding care of every one of your orders.

FAVORITE CYMBALS: Zildjian K Series
FAVORITE CONCERT: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young at United Center in Chicago (2000)

jimmy jawicki

Jimmy Jawicki

Shipping & Receiving

Born into a family of musicians and producers, Jimmy has always felt a strong connection to music. Though currently working on a degree in Computer Science here in Chicago, he is 100% dedicated to getting you the right gear, faster than anyone else in the business.

FAVORITE GUITAR: Blue Hofner Shorty
FAVORITE CONCERT: 1st Concert - Evanescence

kyle richard

Kyle Richard

Shipping & Receiving

Originally from Michigan, Kyle is a classically trained clarinetist who would rather play bass or tenor sax in a dirty basement. When he's not rocking he's creating an animated, interactive web comic about a homeless robot. Kyle has been packing and shipping for years so he'll pack your stuff with care and get it to you fast.

FAVORITE BASS: Anything, get it in tune and throw a Big Muff on it, and you can rock.
FAVORITE CONCERT: October 25th 1999, a Monday. Royal Crown Revue at St. Andrews Hall, Detroit, MI.

Nik Simic

Nik Simic

Shipping & Receiving

FAVORITE GUITAR: Fender Telecaster through a Deluxe Reverb
FAVORITE CONCERT: 1994, Beastie Boys Ill Communication Tour

Ray Knipe

Ray Knipe

Shipping & Receiving

Since age 10, Ray has been studying, writing and performing music from jazz to heavy metal, and with a degree in performance from Columbia College Chicago, he has immersed himself in the music scene. Originally from the rural countryside of mid-Michigan, nothing suits Ray better than sitting behind a drum kit, wielding a pair of drum sticks like an ancient warlord. Now, you can find him expertly taking care of your orders with passion and attention to detail rivaled by none.

FAVORITE KIT: DW drums
FAVORITE CONCERT: Black Sabbath at Ozzfest 2005 at the DTE Energy Music Theater in Detroit Rock City

Austin Olijar

Austin Olijar

Shipping & Receiving

FAVORITE GUITAR: Godin 5th Avenue Jazz Natural Flame HG
FAVORITE CONCERT: Coheed and Cambria in 2008 at Freedbird in Jacksonville, FL

Alex Angus

Alex Angus

Shipping & Receiving

Punk forever.

FAVORITE GUITAR: Anything Paul Stanley would've smashed on stage in the late 70's
FAVORITE CONCERT: A tie between Superchunk at the Magic Stick (Detroit, December 2010) and Leatherface at the Fest 9 (Gainesville FL, October 2010)

Tom Galvin

Josh Snader

Shipping & Receiving
Tom Galvin

Tom Galvin

Shipping & Receiving

Repairs

The CME Repair Shop is made up of this incredible team of gear experts and master technicians. These guys can handle anything from basic setups, refrets, and neck resets to restorations, amp repairs, pedal modifications and more. See our repairs section for more information.

Brian Carstens

Brian Carstens

Amplifier Repair Manager

At the beginning, there was an early '60s red Supro emerging from hibernation in a familial attic. After that, Brian never really put down the guitar. Although originally from Grand Rapids, MI, it was clear that was no place for a musician and ran off to indulge in food, wine, and quest for tone, in Chicago. Now you'll find Brian whenever you've got amp work to be done, from a rebias to robust modifications.

FAVORITE TUBE: 6V6. "I love the warmth and fat tone it produces."
FAVORITE CONCERT: Soundgarden warm-up gig at the Vic in Chicago, IL (2010)

Jeff Lyman

Jeff Lyman

Quality Control Expert

FAVORITE GUITAR: "I don't play favorites!"
FAVORITE CONCERT: Grateful Dead (Jerry's last four shows) at Riverport Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights, MO and Souldier Field in Chicago (1995)

Alex Lemon

Alex Lemon

Quality Control Expert

FAVORITE GUITAR: Vintage Gibson Les Paul
FAVORITE CONCERT: Black Sabbath, 2013 Tinley Park IL

Darryl Chabbot

Darryl Chabot

Master Technician

Musician, producer, engineer, guitar tech, pedal builder,mad scientist, in-store comedian.....this long-winded "man of many hats" is on a mission to do whatever it takes to help you achieve your sound. Hailing all the way from the birthplace of Rock & Roll, Darryl is more than happy to talk with you (for hours on end) about that perfect pickup combination or pedal mod to help you turn the sound you hear in your head into reality. From fretwork on your Telecaster to Wah Wah mods, his OCD will definitely work to your advantage.

FAVORITE GUITAR: Fender Jazzmaster
FAVORITE CONCERT: Dinosaur Jr Subterranean, Chicago, IL

Phil Glodek

Phil Glodek

Guitar Tech

A guitar player born and raised in La Grange, Illinois; Phil Glodek is a connoisseur of after market guitar parts with his specialties lying in "off the cuff" fabrication. Whether you're seeking new T-Saddles for your Tele, or drooling over a new bone saddle for your Martin D-18; Phil is always happy to craft and/or install the parts you need on your guitar.

FAVORITE GUITAR: Fender Broadcaster
FAVORITE CONCERT: Radiohead Lollapalooza 2008

Drew Brown

Drew Brown

Guitar Tech

A drummer at heart, Drew is also known to tinker with guitars and basses on occasion. A native of the Chicagoland area, Drew has spent much of the last ten years traveling and playing music. If your guitar needs a refresh – from basic setup to a complete refret or pickup installation – Drew will make sure your gear is well taken care of.

FAVORITE GUITAR: 1980s DOD "Grind It" Combo Amp
FAVORITE CONCERT: Carcass at Sonar in Baltimore

Alec Johnson

Alec Johnson

Guitar Tech

Alec was raised on a small farm in Iowa. He studied anthropology in college, but followed his love of music and lutherie to Chicago. Now he spends his days finding the perfect combination of neck relief, string action, and intonation that makes a guitar feel and sound phenomenal.

FAVORITE GUITAR: His own one-of-a-kind creations
FAVORITE CONCERT: Daddy-O and the Demolition Band at the Yacht Club in Iowa City

Zach Bauman

Zach Bauman

Guitar Tech

FAVORITE GUITAR: 60's SG Special
FAVORITE CONCERT: Queens Of The Stone Age; Red Rocks Amphitheater (Colorado)

Micah

Micah Greenlay

Guitar Tech

A former goldsmith and lover of all things guitar, Micah hung up his jewelers torch to join the crew at CME. A much needed career change as he was tired of setting himself on fire. Sometimes he writes music. Other times he records it. He has a dog named Henrietta.

FAVORITE GUITAR: Yes.
FAVORITE CONCERT: Nymb's last show. August 3, 2001 at the Fireside Bowl.

The Brain Center

The rest of the CME team works behind the scenes. This includes accounting, operations and store maintenance, product research and purchasing, database management, writing product descriptions, marketing, web design, videography and talent direction, photography, merchandising, event planning, and more!

Deb Jawicki

Deb Jawicki

Director of Finance

From Recording Studio Manager to Record Company Executive to Operations Manager here at Chicago Music Exchange, Deb's been in the music biz her whole life. Toss in singer/songwriter, recording artist and vocal coach and you get the whole picture.

FAVORITE MIC & PREAMP: Neuman U87 & Universal Audio LA-610 Tube Preamp
FAVORITE CONCERT: Amnesty International

JC Webster

JC Webster

Chief Operating Officer

Raised in Arkansas, JC was surrounded by music at an early age. His mother was a radio personality and his father was an audio engineer. With roots in music, and a background in retail and technology, JC enjoys the unique challenges of growing a small company. When he's not trapped in the networking closet or hassling the marketing department, you might find him taking-in a baseball game with his wife and a few friends.

Dan Bordonaro

Dan Bordonaro

Product Manager

Aficionado of time-based effects, and arbiter of guitar accessories, Dan B. has been working in music retail since the ripe young age of fifteen. Uncompromising fan of the Buffalo Bills, this almost-Canadian web designer keeps us looking pretty, with customer service always in mind.

FAVORITE PEDALS: Electro-Harmonix POG 2 >> Malekko Omicron Vibrato
FAVORITE CONCERT: The Sheila Divine at the Tralf in Buffalo, NY (2001)

Alex Le Veque

Alex Le Veque

Product Manager

Hailing from somewhere between the birthplace of Motown and The Stooges, Le Veque has made his return to the Chicago Music Exchange. With an educational background in Audio Engineering, and a love for all things fuzz, he’s an exceptional addition to the Product Management team. When he’s not obsessing over dynamic range and op amp chips you can find him building motorcycles, throwing stones down an alley, or in a dim lit Chicago venue.

FAVORITE BASS: 1969 Dan Armstrong "Plexi" Bass
FAVORITE CONCERT: Godspeed You! Black Emperor at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel in Chicago (2016)

Alex Rinehart

Alex Rinehart

e-Commerce Product Manager

FAVORITE GUITAR: Gibson ES-335
FAVORITE CONCERT: Radiohead at Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre (Chula Vista, CA) 2008

Alex Rinehart

Mike Rinkenberger

Product Manager

FAVORITE GUITAR: New Orleans Guitar Co Morado 5 String
FAVORITE CONCERT: Deftones at The Metro in Chicago, IL Dec 6, 1997

Joe Sherman

Joe Sherman

Fulfillment Specialist

FAVORITE GEAR: Maschine by Native Instruments or Fender Rhodes Mark I suitcase electric piano
FAVORITE CONCERT: The Flaming Lips at The Aragon Ballroom

Dan Jarvis

Dan Jarvis

Lead Photographer

A local artist, photographer, musician, writer, and record junkie, Dan loves everything about the Chicago music scene. Whether it's taking live concert photos or photographing vintage guitars, he puts his passion for music and photography into everything he shoots.

FAVORITE BASS: '60s Magnatone Hurricane
FAVORITE CONCERT: The Brian Jonestown Massacre at the Metro (2012)

Shelby Pollard

Aaron Ehinger

Photographer

FAVORITE GUITAR: 73 Lefty Telecaster Deluxe Mocha
FAVORITE CONCERT: Sleater-Kinney at the Metro, 2006.

Shelby Pollard

Sam Porter

Photographer
Sam Swindell

Sam Swindell

Junior Designer
Colleen Harvey

Colleen Harvey

Marketing Coordinator

FAVORITE GUITAR: Fender Strat in Seafoam Green
FAVORITE CONCERT: Dolly Parton at Rosemont Theater, July 2011

Rosie

Rosie Ryan

Accounting & Finance

Rosie is a classically trained musician and recovering drum major with a punk rock nougat center. She hails from the South Side of Chicago where she started playing music in the third grade. When she isn't crunching numbers for CME you can find her playing bass clarinet, napping, singing along to Frank Sinatra with the family, or spitting out weird random facts.

FAVORITE GEAR: Lanikai LKP-C Ukulele
FAVORITE CONCERT: Flogging Molly at Gaelic Fest

Dave Piscotti

Dave Piscotti

Accounting & Finance

FAVORITE GEAR: Gretsch Renown Maple kit with DW 6.5 x 14 Collectors Maple Standard snare
FAVORITE CONCERT: George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic at The Vic 1999

Teddy

Teddy

Mascot

Always a joy to see trotting about the Chicago Music Exchange showroom floor, Teddy is more or less our in-house jack-of-all-trades. When he's not staring at you while you're eating, you'll most likely find him posing with rock stars as they pass through our doors.

FAVORITE GUITAR: Anything set up with catgut strings
FAVORITE CONCERT: T-Bone Walker