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The CME Collection | Artist Editions & Signature Models
“What’s in a name?” If you were to pose that question to our gear experts in regard to the now larger-than-ever assortment of premium artist editions and signature models on the showroom floor (or in our CME Vault), a one-word response will almost always suffice, reminding us why we play guitar in the first place: “Inspiration.”
Any guitar player who loves instruments as much as we do probably remembers the moment they picked up a six-string and—for the first time—experienced whatever sense of determination and will that they could muster to begin their own musical journey. But, chances are that it was witnessing an artist whose deep, lasting impression on you make you want to pick up your own guitar and play.
At some point, it probably also made you wonder why they chose that specific guitar you saw them play during that performance. Perhaps, like us, you grew as a guitar player over time and also found yourself learning as much as you could about the tools with which your favorite artists cast a spell across space and time over you and their fans. Maybe that makes you, too, wonder whether certain instruments might be actual, real-life talismans capable of conjuring musical voices from a source beyond ourselves—from the instrument?
Next time you’re at CME, ask about all the artist models in The CME Collection and try out a few of the guitars with names you know, you might discover that just about any artist model in CME manages to evoke the spirit of the artist, and you might find a musical talisman of their own!
American manufacturers began making “artist editions” at least as far back as 1843, when C.F. Martin built the first ever X-braced Martin models for one of the most renowned soloists of the era, Madame Delores N. de Goñi. And although it’s not as often that we see de Goñi model come through CME’s doors, we sometimes see a fair number of the earliest artist editions and signature models ever commercially produced—including the Gibson Nick Lucas and Roy Smeck models.
From the Mary Kay Stratocaster to a Gibson Les Paul Standard ‘60 with Gold Sparkle binding and an aged blacktop, to an Explorer with a “Clapton cut” on the bass bout—there are so many instruments in this collection that get us excited about guitars again that we couldn’t wait any longer to show you what else we have in-store!Read more
We’ve got the lowdown to keep you on the up-and-up with perfect presents for everyone on your list, including CME Exclusives you can’t get anywhere else! Our full-band breakdown makes it easy to get a jump on your shopping—one category at a time. What are you waiting for? Bundle up and get going! Happy Holidays from everyone at the Chicago Music Exchange!Read more
While the guitars from the Murphy Labs at Gibson Custom Shop now showcase Tom Murphy’s work in developing the painting and aging techniques Gibson Guitars uses to replicate the finishes on its limited-run historic models, Murphy’s contributions to the Custom Shop started long before the establishment of Murphy Labs, going all the way back to the first years we opened up shop!Now, in addition to Chicago Music Exchange's existing inventory of some of the best Murphy Labs guitars Gibson has to offer, The CME Collection gives us a look back at a tradition of excellence that Tom Murphy helped begin at the Gibson Custom Shop, including models that have been aged and painted by the man, himself!Read more