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Chicago Music Exchange Celebrates Fred Gretsch's 50 years in the Music Business

On Thursday October 1st, we opened our doors to celebrate Fred Gretsch's 50th year in the music business. The excitement was undeniable as people of all ages started to fill the room, coming as far as Minnesota, for a chance to meet and listen to one of the music industry's finest.

The night started off with a multimedia presentation on the history of Gretsch, dating back to 1883. Fred Gretsch and Joe Carducci, Gretsch's Product Marketing Specialist, did an incredible job of showing the audience how the company began and taking them through the past 100 plus years. They tackled how the company has grown and evolved, not just with guitars but drums, folk instruments, and beyond. The interactive evening included plenty of giveaways that were earned by the audience for participating with the talk. The grand finale was a raffle in which two lucky attendees received a brand new Gretsch guitar and a beautiful Gretsch snare drum.

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Billy Sheehan Bass Clinic

On June 8th, we had the pleasure of welcoming bass legend Billy Sheehan to CME. Sheehan is known for many things, including his work with Steve Vai, David Lee Roth, Mr. Big, and The Winery Dogs. He has won "Best Rock Bass Player" not once but five times for his lead bass playing style. Needless to say, everyone was pretty pumped to have him in the store for the night.

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LIVE from the BASSment: the Bryan Beller Bass Clinic

On May 28th, we had the pleasure of hosting Bryan Beller for an evening of all things "bass." The crowd eagerly piled in, many arriving more than an hour before the scheduled start time and coming as far as Minneapolis for the event.

Beller quickly made everyone comfortable with his easygoing demeanor and started the night off reflecting on growing up with his family in New York and attending a great public school that was academic and sports centered. The school was prepping its students for the Ivy Leagues but didn't have much in the way of fine arts. Because of this, he learned how to play on his own, started a band, and kept on going from there.

While he thought he was quite good by hometown standards, once he got into Berkley College Of Music, Beller realized he "sucked" (in his own words). Not to be defeated, he quickly took that as a challenge and started learning as much as he could. His first audition out of school was with Dweezil Zappa.

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Hot Rod Your Guitar - Round I

On Thursday April 23rd, our Repair Shop took over the bass floor at Chicago Music Exchange. Usually, the Repair Shop crew is known for being the behind-the-scenes masters and sound. Not this time! They were up front and center, ready to lead the crowd in the ultimate goal of achieving "That Tone".

Our first ever Hot Rod Your Guitar event was an exciting night for the store. Master Technician, Darryl Chabot, hosted as MC and all around sound expert. Guitar techs, Phil Glodek and Alec Johnson, did on the spot pick up swaps behind him. Joel Bauman sat closely by to demo all of the different guitar sounds being showcased. 

The night began with an eager feel in the air as excited tone seekers filled the room. The repair shop explored pickups from Lollar, Bare Knuckle, and Fralin as well as Callaham hardware. It was incredible to hear the multitude of sounds achieved with different tools. Time and patience were given to explaining each pickup while the live demonstration allowed for the audience to not only learn about each tool, but to hear it for themselves.

After an intense hour and a half of informative speaking, Darryl opened the floor to questions, and the audience jumped right in, wanting to learn even more. It was a wonderful night, paving the way for future events like this one.

The night ended with two exciting giveaways; a stunning set of Imperial Pickups from Lollar Pickups and another prize for a free setup at our Repair Shop. As the crowd was exiting, the enthusiastic buzz around the room was noticeable. And we can't wait to do it again!

For more information on our amazing repair shop, please visit here or come on in to the store.
For information on upcoming Chicago Music Exchange events, see our Events page.

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February 11, 2015

Events » NAMM » Reviews »

NAMM 2015 Recap: New Year, New Partners!

If you’ve been following us at all in the last few weeks, you’ve seen the smattering of #NAMM2015 posts on our social media channels and may be wondering – what the heck happens at NAMM? NAMM is the National Association of Music Merchants and the biannual NAMM Tradeshow takes place in Anaheim, California every January (as well as in Nashville every July). It is the world’s largest trade-only event for the music products industry. As a musical instrument retailer, Chicago Music Exchange attends NAMM to meet with manufacturers (old and new) and to see the unveiling of 2015 product lines.

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September 26, 2014

Events » In-Store Artists »

The War on Drugs at Chicago Music Exchange

The energy was heightened around Chicago Music Exchange as we prepared for friends of the store, The War on Drugs, to make their grand entrance. A private event a few months in the making, the day was finally here. Beer had arrived, the food truck was parked outside, and invitees began to trickle in. All we needed now was a music-filled Friday night to start the weekend with just the right amount of inspiration.

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May 30, 2014

Drums » Events »

Chicago Drum Show 2014 Recap

Every May, hundreds of folks turn up at the Kane County Fairgrounds in St. Charles, IL for the largest vintage drum show in the country. Since our opening in 2011, Chicago Drum Exchange has had a booth at the Chicago Drum Show, hosted by Rob Cook and his company, Rebeats. Some of the rarest and most sought after drums in the world turned up in various booths, such as... Read More

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May 19, 2014

Events » In-Store Artists »

2014 Spring Cleaning Event Recap

This past weekend, our annual Spring Cleaning Event took place at Chicago Music Exchange. It was a great opportunity for musicians to bring in their vintage guitarsused pedalsdrums and more to sell for cash. The weather was perfect, the crowd was wonderful and it was an exciting way to kick off the spring/summer music season here in Chicago...

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Speed Funk Lessons: The Bill Dickens Bass Clinic

On Thursday, April 3, legendary bassist Bill Dickens arrived at Chicago Music Exchange late in the afternoon for sound check. A customer and friend of the store, Dickens knows his way around CME. Just last month, he guest starred in a YouTube video – “The Bass Off” – with our resident bass guitar guru, Marc Najjar. This time, he was here specifically for the Bill Dickens Bass Clinic.


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October 17, 2013

Events » In-Store Artists »

Dweezil Zappa Masterclass at Chicago Music Exchange

At Chicago Music Exchange, we are always looking for new opportunities to reach musicians.  We want to connect with young people picking up their first instrument as well as veteran guitarists and touring artists.  Last week, the Dweezil Zappa Masterclass allowed us to bring together a diverse group of musicians for an incredibly unique event.

Dweezil Zappa, son of the late-great Frank Zappa, is currently on tour playing the entire Frank Zappa album “Roxy & Elsewhere”, as a part of Zappa Plays Zappa. During the tour, Dweezil Zappa is offering 90-minute instructional guitar sessions.  On Thursday, October 10 – preceding his evening show at the Copernicus Center in Chicago – Zappa came to the Chicago Music Exchange for this event.

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