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November 1, 2013
Bass players are treated like the middle children of rock music, feeling ignored while their siblings get all of the attention. As a result, bass guitars and gear often get little more than a tiny corner of a guitar shop staffed by people with only a cursory knowledge of all things bass.
But with the opening of the Chicago Music Exchange’s new BASSment, these musical middle children are not to be ignored anymore. The CME’s BASSment houses everything from basses and amps, to pedals and mods, and all types of bass accessories. Managed and staffed by bass specialists, the BASSment staff can provide support for any bass player’s needs.
October 31, 2013
Search “guitar riffs” on YouTube, and you’ll find a muscular dude in a Chicago Music Exchange T-shirt plowing through 100 of the most recognizable licks in rock ’n’ roll history. In one take, Alex Chadwick, 29, works seamlessly from the 1954 classic “Mr. Sandman” all the way to St. Vincent’s 2011 hit “Cruel.” It’s transfixing, virtuosic, an exercise in tip-of-the-tongue recognition.
According to David Kalt, the man who employs Chadwick, that clip — and its 7 million views — also represents the future of retail.
October 28, 2013
The mix of gear is already supported strongly by , a website Kalt launched in January 2013, where musicians and dealers can buy, sell, or trade used gear. At press time, the site had done about $1.2 million on 3,500 transactions. With Reverb only taking 3.5 percent of each transaction, Kalt said that the goal of the site is to remove the price friction that exists in such platforms as Amazon and eBay.
"Even at brick-and-morter stores, there is too much of a spread between what someone is willing to pay for something and what the intrinsic value is," he said. "At 3.5 percent we open up all kinds of possibilities, and we are seeing that every day. Basically someone who couldn't make a living selling guitars on eBay because of its 12 percent can now afford it." And it's not just end-users selling on Reverb. Kalt estimated that about 800 MI retailers have sold on the site. Including the name of the seller's store and a "banner" on the seller's page helps promote other brick-and-morter stores and creates a feeling of community, Kalt said.
October 2, 2013
David Kalt has always loved guitars. As owner of the iconic store Chicago Music Exchange, he’s surrounded by guitars all day. Recently, Kalt combined his two biggest passions, music and technology, and founded Reverb.com, an online marketplace for musicians.
July 30, 2013
Stage shows come and they go, and as many of the productions that wind their way through Chicago, cast members may or may not find the time to explore all that the city has to offer. For those who venture forth on their days off, there is much to discover.
July 15, 2013
Chicago Music Exchange wants to take bass players out of the corner.
The guitar shop — well-known for being a stop for bands passing through town — plans to dedicate its basement to basses by the end of the summer, including doubling its selection.
April 15, 2013
David Kalt left OptionsXpress Holdings Inc. and bought a guitar store. For a hotshot fin-tech entrepreneur, that was tantamount to retirement—and, in fact, Mr. Kalt sometimes brings his dog to work or takes breaks to play the $400,000 vintage Les Paul electric guitar sitting a few feet from his desk.
Jan 27, 2013
Nowadays, every company must be a social company. But what does an effective social-marketing campaign really look like? Crain's asked readers to nominate the Chicago companies they think are doing the best job of using social media to communicate with customers, promote products and services, and find new audiences. Among the scores of ideas that came our way, these social media campaigns emerged as among the very best.
Instead of top line growth, Chicago Music Exchange's new owner David Kalt is looking to deliver an outsized expeerience for customers and a meaningful career for employees.
Dec 7, 2012
Chicago Music Exchange Owner David Kalt discusses investments in musical instruments. He speaks with Deirdre Bolton on Bloomberg Television's "Money Moves."
Pulling the Plug... Why a famous guitar maker pulled the plug on an IPO, and what it means to the IPO market. Paul Eggers reports.
Our David Kalt discusses the Fender IPO and vintage Fender guitars - "I think the appreciation of a rare instrument from the '60s that will never be created again, has a certain vibe, and a special uniqueness to it will appreciate probably 8-12% a year"
Oct 29, 2012
No matter what the price, Mr. Kalt says, "you always want to buy guitars in excellent or good condition with all original parts. Modifications or refinished bodies can dramatically impact the price and resale value." And, as important as buying the right guitar may be, the real issue for collectors is often storage: If the instruments aren't kept in the ideal humidity-controlled environment, they can easily deteriorate.
Oct 26, 2012
David Kalt, former CEO of OptionsXpress, discusses the ins and outs of investing in rare, vintage guitars. "When investing in vintage guitars look for reputable dealers because there are issues with counterfeit items." "Store your guitar properly, lack of humidty can cause damage." "Get insurance on your guitar."
Sept 14 2012, 2012
"I have a passion for trading, for buying low and selling high. And that's one of the more critical assets in this business," David Kalt says of Chicago Music Exchange (CME), his marketplace for new and used musical instruments, as well as repairs and restoration. Music has always been a big part of Kalt's life. While working as CEO of his former company, online brokerage OptionsXpress, he built a recording studio in his home and collected guitars. With the acquisition of CME on Chicago's North Side, he has combined his passion with his online expertise.
Sept 6 2012, 2012
Do great guitars ever go out of style? No — but prices tend to fall in hard times. And that's just what happened to prices of vintage guitars — which might make them a good buy now. Vintage Guitar magazine created an annual index based on the sales prices of 42 vintage axes. As of last October, the index was at $750,800, 23% below its peak in 2007. David Kalt, founder of OptionsXpress and now owner of the Chicago Music Exchange, thinks you can find some good deals in vintage guitars, although the very best can come with steep prices. For example, the iconic 1952 Gibson Les Paul Gold Top sells for $23,000 to $26,000.
August 20, 2012
What Entrepreneurs Wish Politicians KnewDavid Kalt, owner of Chicago Music Exchange, which sells, among other things, new and vintage guitars. He was previously a founder of the online broker optionsXpress. “The government isn’t necessarily enabling better access to capital for small businesses,” says Kalt. However, he adds, “I don’t think they should make it harder for banks and financiers to run their business.” His suggestion: Creating a system of financial incentives to motivate lenders to make more loans to small businesses....
July 23, 2012
David Kalt: How Little Things Can Help You Make it BigI met David Kalt on the sailboat docks at Belmont Harbor in the Summer of 2001. I remember it because he mentioned he had recently started a company called OptionsXpress.com and I had recently taken over as vice president of marketing for the now defunct financial data feed company, Hyperfeed Technologies. We supplied option price data to OptionsXpress.com They were an important client mostly because in the months following 9/11 they seemed to be the only company that was growing and paying their bills on time.
July 5, 2012
David Kalt, Guitar HeroWhen David Kalt graduated from the University of Michigan in 1989, he followed his dream of working in the music business by taking a job at a Chi-cago recording studio. He burned out after only two years. “The glamour of working with rock stars and rock star wannabes gets old real quick when you’re working 100 hours a week,”
Feb 15, 2012
The Find: 1976 Fender Starcaster Bass PrototypeThe staff of CME didn't have to go hunting to bag this beast. "This was acquired in one of those incredible moments when a random person walked into a guitar show with a large and odd case. We bought it off of him without knowing any details of its rarity."
Six-String CentralProfessional and amateur guitarists alike know that the place to go for an incomparable instrument is the Chicago Music Exchange. Guitars possess seductive powers. Maybe it’s their curves. Maybe it’s their dazzling array of colors. Perhaps it’s their long, graceful necks. Whatever it is, they beckon to lovers, who become helplessly entranced and hopelessly smitten.
Dec 24, 2011
CEO of Chicago Music Exchange gives a tour of his Roscoe Village retail guitar storeDavid Kalt sees his Roscoe Village retail guitar center as more an art gallery than a store."(The store) literally is 20 years of slaving to get these guitars, so it really has become an institution because of that," said Kalt, owner and chief executive of The Chicago Music Exchange on Lincoln Avenue. "I'm sort of like the curator. I just want to keep it alive."
Dec 13, 2011
The Five Best Vintage Guitar DealsHere’s some market insight: you might find a great buy this season in vintage guitars. According to “The 42 Guitar Index” put out each October by Vintage Guitar Magazine, American-made collectable guitars have taken a beating. The index, which is the total value of 42 guitars from three top brands, is at $750,800. That’s 23% off its October 2007 peak of $976,200. (The S&P 500 is down about 20%.)...
July 15, 2011
Why Service Still Matters Chicago Music Exchange, located in the Lakeview neighborhood, has gained a national reputation for a used and vintage guitar selection that rivals even the big-boxes. According to owner David Kalt, his company has struck the ultimate balance of selection and service...
April 7, 2011
This place is truly Guitar Nirvana! Visiting CME is a not-to-be missed experience for the guitar aficionado. It boasts a staggering collection of the very finest vintage guitars as well as new and used instruments, and stands as one of the most impressive operations of its kind in the world. For almost 20 years...
February 3, 2011
Premier Guitar readers have spoken! Chicago Music Exchange is being featured among the "20 Coolest Guitar Shops in the US" as voted by PG readers (in no particular order.)
January 30, 2011
Somewhere between ogling the eye-candy, and digging into some fine guitars musical instruments, ABC's 190 North crew took the opportunity to talk to the staff about the store, and the most important things about getting into your next instrument. We also may have reenacted some classic movie scenes while we were at it.
January 12, 2011
Chicago Music Exchange owner David Kalt and store manager George Coutretsis stopped by the WGNTV studio in Chicago to talk with Midday Fix about "How to Buy a Guitar." See the video segment and read the story by clicking the link below.
January 10, 2011
David Kalt was a successful serial entrepreneur before the age of 40. He sold his first company, a software maker for the travel industry called Third Party Solutions, in 1999 and took his second business, online options brokerage optionsXpress, public in 2005 with a market cap of more than $1 billion...
November 15, 2010
OptionsXpress Inc. founder David Kalt is transforming the Chicago Music Exhange, the renowned vintage guitar store in Lakeview that he recently purchased for more than $5 million. The entrepreneur with a passion for music is...
July 29, 2010
Reverb Music, LLC has finalized its acquisition of Chicago Music Exchange, a retailer specializing in new/used and vintage guitars and amplifiers, in a private transaction. Following the acquisition, Chicago Music Exchange will continue to...
March 26, 2009
Best Guitar Shop: Chicago Music ExchangeA strange sort of masochism seems to drive broke-ass musicians to take two buses and a train across town just to stew in unrequited gear lust at Chicago Music Exchange, where most...