Chicago Drum Exchange Exclusive Gretsch Brooklyn Series Heritage Build Kits

New From Gretsch: CDE Exclusive Gretsch Brooklyn Series Heritage Build: These drums combine everything you love about current Brooklyn series drums with a stylish look of the vintage Playboy outfits from back in the 60s. Handcrafted in Ridgeland, South Carolina. The shells are comprised of six plies of North American maple and poplar and are slightly thicker than USA custom shells. Combine that with a 30 degree baring edge, a distinctive 302 hoops, and that famous silver sealer interior.

Benson Monarch Reverb Combo at Chicago Music Exchange

Shelby details one of his favorite amps, the Benson Monarch Reverb 1X12 Combo. Designed and manufactured by Chris Benson, the Monarch is a uniquely configured, hybrid amplifier that combines elements of Chris’s favorite British and American models to create a truly boutique combo with a distinctive sound.

Fender Ultra Test Drive at Chicago Music Exchange

Fender is taking the show on the road! They're so stoked on the new American Ultra series they want to get it in your hands ASAP. Sign up and stop by Chicago Music Exchange on this lef of the Fender Ultra Test Drive Tour! There will be a multitude of activities live: Nicholas Veinoglou will be in attendance, tons of Ultra Series swag, helpful Fender Event Reps, and your chance to win your own Ultra in the Ultra Riff Contest! Details below.

Vintage Tours: -MECUM Chicago 2019

We know power. We know collectability. We know curves and colorways and the crazed feeling that comes with putting the pedal to the metal. Still, MECUM Chicago was a whole new world that none of us were ready for, and yet a virtual mirror image of our own. In our own backyard of Schaumburg, IL, the trip was easy enough. We set out for a familiar place, a happy place for almost all Chicagoans: IKEA, where MECUM had arranged for satellite parking. We ditched our daily drivers in the Fjürgen lot and shuffled over in the crisp fall air to the shuttle, intent on revving a few engines, our best pieces in tow.

CME Exclusive Gibson USA Les Paul DCs

CME Exclusive Gibson Les Paul Double Cut guitars and basses in worn TV Yellow and White with Tortoise guards are in now!

The Ultimate Guide to Strings

Guitar strings, bass strings, ukulele strings, despite their obvious importance, seem to be the thing most players know the least about, but the string you use can shape your tone and affect your feel in dramatic ways.

Inside Banker Custom Guitars

Nathaniel Murphy burns up the brand new '58-spec Korina V and Excalibur from Banker Custom Guitars. It's a series of firsts, as these are the first '58-spec models from the very first run by Gibson's first authorized boutique builder. Learn more from Nathaniel about the Korina V and Excalibur and Banker Custom Guitars, as well as Gibson's authorized boutique builder program and how a small-town banker is helping to reshape the framework of one of the industry's biggest brands.

Labor of Love - John R. Miller

Listening to John R. Miller feels like you're talking to an old friend. His honest, inspired lyrics accompanied with his folky finger-style guitar playing makes for a perfect match with our acoustic room.

Vintage Tours - Philadelphia Guitar Show

Philly’s Finest: The Great American Guitar Show We don’t watch much football, or hockey. History class was never our favorite. We’ve been trying to eat healthy lately and, honestly, Rocky is just ok. Wait, no. That’s insane. Rocky is amazing. But Rocky aside, for us, Philadelphia has one distinct kind of magic that no other city has: there’s nothing that makes us feel glad to be an American like Philadelphia in the fall.

Staff Picks - Scott Tooredman

P Basses to rock the house but not wake the wife - Scott's picks are all about simplicity and quality.

A Brief History of the Ibanez Tubescreamer

What’s mean, green, and all over the scene? The Tubescreamer. This legendary pedal is a must-have for guitarists and should have a spot reserved for it on almost every pedalboard.

Fender American Ultra Series

Fender introduces its most performance-minded series yet: American Ultra. Designed for players who want the ultimate in technically advanced instruments, Fender’s American Ultra Series features Ultra Noiseless pickups, advanced wiring options, and “Modern D” necks with rolled, 10”-14” compound radius fingerboards, tapered heels, and medium jumbo frets for unfettered playability and unlimited tone to match.

Explore Fender Lefty Featuring Mdou Moctar

Chicago Music Exchange announces the release of an exclusive collection of left-handed Fender Made In Japan Traditional Series offsets. Each lefty ‘60s Jazzmaster, ‘60s Jaguar, and ‘60s Mustang features a real rosewood fretboard and one of seven unique and rarely seen colorways like Flamingo Pink, Daphne Blue, Surf Green, California Blue, Candy Apple Red, Sonic Blue, and Black. In "EXPLORE," Chicago Music Exchange puts their exclusive Fender MIJ lefties into the hands of one of their favorite left-handed guitar players, Mdou Moctar

Fender Master Built Electric XII Master Built By Carlos Lopez

Master Built by Carlos Lopez, this Fender Electric XII is the very first historically accurate reproduction of the 1960s original. Fender had no original schematics or blueprints for this model, so when they hired Lopez as their newest Master Builder, he analyzed a 1966 Fender Electric XII down to its smallest components and handmade this replica from scratch. It’s a thing of beauty, and Nathaniel is quite excited to share it.

Chicago Music Exchange Presents The Bursts

Right now, at this very moment, we have three authentic Bursts. We thought we'd take the time to tell you about them, and just what makes these beautiful guitars so important.

PAF Shootout with New PRS TCI-Tuned 58/15 Humbuckers

Recently, we were approached by one of our favorite builders, Paul Reed Smith Guitars, with an incredible opportunity. Paul reached out personally and asked if we would sit down with four of their guitars and do a rundown against some of our favorite pieces in the store.


Win Exclusive Gear at Chicago Music Exchange this holiday season. We've got gear for the whole band—whether you're a guitar shredder, drum thumper, pedal tweaker, bass head, or left-handed ripper—there's something here for you!

Vintage Tours - Fort Worth

They never expected to see our faces ‘round these parts again, not after what we did in Dallas, and again in San Antonio. But you can’t keep axe-slingers like us away from a good day in the Texas sun. Not when it’s time for the “world’s largest consumer guitar event.” Not when it’s Amigos International. We could smell a Texas-sized standoff coming, and when we finally set our boots down in the home of the world’s largest honky-tonk, Fort Worth, Texas, we readied ourselves for a fight.

Paul Reed Smith 2020 Models at Chicago Music Exchange

PRS introduces six new models to the SE Series for 2020, expanding the lineup to include new designs and new looks on old favorites.

Labor of Love - Eric Skye

Steel-string guitarist and Santa Cruz Signature Artist Eric Skye stopped by our Lincoln Avenue showroom for his very first CME Session and told us about the importance of mindfulness, scale length, and pushing past “just good guitar playing” to an improvisational place where melody thrives.

Vintage Vibes - 1970 Fender Rosewood Telecaster

Shelby says there's something in the way this 1970 Rosewood Fender Telecaster moves. Most commonly associated with George Harrison of The Beatles and Traveling Wilburys fame, the Rosewood Telecaster was designed for Fender in the 1960s by former Rickenbacker luthier Roger Rossmeisl.

Gibson Custom Slash 1966 EDS 1275 Doubleneck Replica at Chicago Music Exchange

Welcome to epic Slash tone! The Gibson Custom Slash 1966 EDS 1275 Doubleneck Replica in Aged Ebony just arrived and looks like it came through the door fresh off the latest GNR tour—full of rock n' roll swag. Secure yours now, these are highly limited and supremely cool.

Ernie Ball Music Man Mariposa Omar Rodriquez-Lopez Collaboration at Chicago Music Exchange

The latest and greatest from the folks at Ernie Ball Music Man and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of Mars Volta / At the Drive-In for their artist series—The Mariposa! Featuring a radically laser-etched pickguard, separate volume controls for the humbucking pickups, and a great set of color-ways with matching headstocks to boot!

Chicago Music Exchange Garage Sale

Giving garage rock a whole new meaning with blowout sales on great gear as well as odds and ends for the whole band! Get great deals on overstock, odds and ends, and all kinds of stuff we need to move to make room for brand new CME Exclusives, custom builds, and vintage gems. Don’t delay. You know what they say. The early bird gets the Wurm!

Vintage Vibes - 1958 Fender Stratocaster Sunburst

Phil fills us in on this beautiful, one-owner 1958 Sunburst Fender Stratocaster. Dating back to the days of sock hops, malt shops, and one Buddy Holly, this '58 Fender sounds as youthful as ever and doesn't look a day over sixty.

Vintage Vibes - 1958 Gretsch 6122 Chet Atkins Country Gentleman Walnut

Edward tips his hat to the lasting legacy of one of country music's greatest with this 1958 Walnut Gretsch 6122 Chet Atkins Country Gentleman. One of the first artists to endorse a guitar company, Atkins changed more than just Gretsch history when he helped develop the Filter'Tron pickup, a noise-cancelling, dual-coil alternative to the classic single-coil.

Vintage Vibes - Fender Blackguard Guitars at Chicago Music Exchange

Vintage Fender Blackguard Esquire and Telecaster Guitars at Chicago Music Exchange. The Blackguard Telecaster is one of the most coveted guitars in history. Chicago Music Exchange details the guitar's development, its importance as a forerunner of the electrified solid-body, its defining components, and everything else that makes our three Blackguards–the '52 Fender Telecaster, '53 Fender Esquire, and '53 Fender Telecaster–so remarkable.

Ernie Ball Short Scale Bass

It’s the year of the short-scale at CME, and we’re celebrating with a brand new, short-scale StingRay Special from Ernie Ball Music Man. Available in Ultramarine Blue and Raspberry Pearl finishes, the StringRay Special short-scale features an ash body with rounded arm contour, specially designed single humbucking pickup with higher output neodymium magnets, 3-way rotary switch with single coil, series, and parallel settings, push-pull volume pot with 20dB boost, and a chrome-plated top-loading steel bridge with nickel-plated steel saddles.

Gretsch Custom Shop Korina Caddy Bo

Korina, korina! Masterbuilt by Stephen Stern in collaboration with our CEO Andrew Yonke, this wild Gretsch Custom Shop Caddy Bo is a team dream. From the mind of our CEO, Andrew Yonke, and the bench of Gretsch Custom Shop Masterbuilder Stephen Stern, comes this Custom Shop Korina Caddy Bo Relic, a handmade, vintage-inspired electric korina-ed to the bone.

Starter Guitars - Guitars for Beginners at Chicago Music Exchange

From your first guitar to your best guitar, Chicago Music Exchange has everything you need to get started playing guitar. As your playing evolves and improves we are here for you every step away as you move from basic chords to complex arrangements. Chicago Music Exchange carries entry level to advanced instruments from all of the best makers in the world and the amplifiers, effects and accessories that help you dial in your desired tone. Don't delay, start playing guitar today! Call 1-773-525-7773 to speak to a CME Musician. We will find the right fit for the first, next and last guitar you'll ever need.