Chief Executive Officer
Well I ain't always right but i've never been wrong, and it seldom turns out the way it does in a song. Once in awhile you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right!
1959 Gibson ES 355 in FACTORY BLACK!!
2017 Farm Aid - Neil Young's set with Promise of the Real as his band. INSANE.
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.
1974 Fender Stratocaster Mocha
Levon Helm at Bonnaroo in Manchester, TN (2008)
Guitar Sales Manager
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.
1959 Fender Jazzmaster
Styx and Reo Speedwagon
Gibson Guitars & Effects Guru
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.
Grizzly Bear at the Riviera in Chicago (2012) or Mastodon at the Metro (2006)
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.
Gibson Les Paul Goldtop
A Wilhelm Scream at Subterranean, 2014
The more amps and pedals you have on stage at one time the better!
The Twilight Sad....I haven't seen them yet, but I already know it's my favorite show.
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.
1953 Gibson J-45
Fleet Foxes at The Chicago Theatre
1965 Gibson SG Special
Smashing Pumpkins 1997
A native to chicago Jason has been involved in the chicago studio scene since 2010 after graduating from Full Sail's recording arts program and has spent the last 14 years playing guitar in several bands around the city.
My Custom TSmith 7 string tele
Whitechapel 10 year anniversary tour at the Rave
Acoustic Guitar Specialist
Born and raised just south of Chicago, Carl has called the Midwest home for many years. Being a singer/songwriter, he is particularly passionate about all things acoustic guitar related, so you can find him in our acoustic room ready to help you find an acoustic guitar you'll love. In his off time you might find him in one of Chicago's many coffee shops on his constant search for the best cup Chicago has to offer.
Any Banner Era J-45. They're perfect. PERFECT.
Julien Baker. Thalia Hall. December 2017.
Hailing from the state that brought us greats like John Mellencamp, Larry Bird, and Abraham Lincoln, Alex was born and raised in Indianapolis, IN. After bouncing around the country for several years, he now happily calls Chicago and CME his home, where he is pleased to get the right gear to the right people. And in-between, eternally debating who is cooler, Coltrane or Page, watching Seinfeld reruns, and riding his bicycle.
Prototype Fender Telecaster built from Indiana Black Walnut and Spruce w/ Abby Wound Pickups
Swans at Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix, AZ (2012)
Central Illinois raised, Chicago interloper. I came up in the hardcore and screamo scene of the mid 2000's but find myself more of a folk and country head these days. When I'm not at CME you can find me and my partner being pulled around the city by our 2 dogs.
1971 Ibanez Lawsuit Les Paul
Against Me! at Krazyfest in Louisville, KY circa 2011
I've been lucky enough to have called Illinois, California and Austin Texas all home for some period of time and I've had the pleasure of playing with a vast amount of players on many different gigs in each city in between as well. Life long Bulls fan and both Ghostbusters cartoons.
Fender Strat/Jerry Jones U1 single cut into a Bell & Howell Projector amp.
Toss up between the following: Ry Cooder at Thalia Hall 2018, My Morning Jacket at Gentlemen of the Road 2015, and Matt Chamberlin feat. Blake Mills, Mike Dillon and Mike Elizondo at The Mint LA 2012.
Sales Counter Associate
Im a hoarder of gear and records. Ride motorcycles, bake pastries, play psych rock and ambient electronic music.
Korg Monopoly, Vox Royal guardsman, 2002 MIM Strat, Jordan bosstone fuzz
Damo Suzuki, Empty Bottle 2007
Sales Counter Associate
Tommy grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and began playing music and recording at an early age. He actively gigged and toured out of Asheville, NC, for 7 years with dozens of groups, and is now here in Chicago working at CME as well as pursuing his own band, Flugel. Come on up to the front counter and ask him about drums, guitars, pedals, cables, microphones, botany, mycology, and zoology.
Gretsch Catalina Club
Ari Hoenig at Smalls Jazz Club in 2014
Vintage Product Manager and Head Buyer
As the manager and head buyer of the vintage and used inventory here at CME, Daniel tells people all the time that he has the best job on planet Earth. He enjoys working closely with his fantastic team as they acquire inventory and obsess over curating the best vintage collection possible, while sharing enjoyable experiences through transparent transactions with clients.
Gibson L-00 from 1932 and Carstens Black Flag
Gillian Welch and David Rawlings at the Vic in Chicago (2011)
Cat enthusiast. Dog petting aficionado.
Anything blonde or Sherwood Green.
Fleet Foxes at The Chicago Theater, 2017
Used & Vintage Buyer
Born & raised on Chicago's Northside, Mike is a lifelong bassist & vintage gear fanatic. Specializing in Fender & Gibson history, he's also a connoisseur of the rare & obscure. When he's not scouring the earth for the the coolest vintage gear, you can probably find him watching the Hawk's game, playing bass in local alt-rock band, LFN, or hanging out with his english bulldog.
61 Stack Knob Jazz Bass
Fearless Flyers at Concord Music Hall (2018)
Favorite Gear: Fender Telecaster through a Deluxe Reverb
Favorite Concert: 1994, Beastie Boys Ill Communication Tour
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.
Glassjaw at Metro
Band dude. Music writer. Drums, records, comic books.
Neil Young at Auditorium Theatre
Customer Service Manager
Originally from the great state of Maine, Liz loves providing excellent customer service and spreading positivity however she can. She has an excellent time attending local shows, getting creative with various instruments, making weird sounds with effects pedals, and traveling around our beautiful planet Earth.
Moog Etherwave Theremin
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at Fenway Park 2012
Been playing guitar for about 10 years! I'm a lover of all things metal and bodybuilding. Currently I play in an Alice Cooper Tribute band.
My Mesa JP2C
Avenged Sevenfold during Mayhem Fest 2014
An avid chess player, Raul applies his passion for problem solving towards providing excellent customer service. He worked in CS at the Old Town School of Folk Music prior to joining the team at CME. Raul is a musician, instructor and is also a trained clown.
A stereo pair of Coles 4038's
Tobe Nwigwe - Thalia Hall 3/23/19
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 Gear: American Fender Jazz
Favorite Concert: Tool 2006 at the Wolstein Center, Cleveland Ohio
Aaron 'A.C.' Coleman
Michigan transplant. Loves the Detroit Red Wings. Prince super fan.
Gretsch drums, Dream Cymbals, Fender basses, Technics 1200
The Specials on Warped Tour '98
Assistant Warehouse Manager
Maxwell is a very loud native son of Louisville, KY. A huge fan of professional wrestling, video games new and old, shoegazey tunes and a good fight riff.
Fender MIJ Pawn Shop Mustang
Krazy Fest 2011
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 Gear: Blue Hofner Shorty
Favorite Concert: 1st Concert - Evanescence
Grown from spores that fell from space.
Lived in Chicago all my life and wouldn't want to live anywhere else. Received a bass from my gram-diddy (grandma) for my 20th birthday and it was all over from there. Love all music!
Darkglass microtubes 900
Summer Slaughter 2009 or The Black Crows and Tom Petty
Like many, I am a transplant. Moved here about 7 years ago and I have loved every minute of it. I am primarily a bassist, but play a dozen different instruments. I am also a little obsessed with the different rotary sushi restaurants in the city.
My maple Rickenbacker 4003. With a custom tortoise fleck pickguard, treble bezel, and a fresh set of D'Addario pro steels, it's a beautiful bass with a very singular tone, albeit an aggressive one.
Originally from Crystal Lake, is , Ryan is a self taught harmonicist who also enjoys play a les Paul in a dirty basement. When he's not rocking he's creating an animated, interactive web comic about a homeless robot. Ryan has been packing and shipping for years so he'll pack your stuff with care and get it to you fast.
Hohner special 20 10 hole diatonic harmonica
slaughter and the dogs with the Breifs at the fireside bowl back I think 2003.
Utterly obsessed with vintage gear and a connoisseur of bad jokes.
Aria Pro II RS Inazuma 1985
The Chariot | Glass Cloud at Kingdom 2013 - Richmond, VA.
I’ll let you know when Stravinsky has a hit.
HANATARASH at Tokyo’s Superloft
Bassist from age 15 with a Performance degree from Columbia College Chicago. I've played all types of music from blues to metal. Songwriter and producer on guitar and piano. I love creating in general so I started a Youtube channel that takes up most of my free time. I am obsessed with my dog, Chewy and want you to ask to see a picture!
Taylor Tz5 Guitar
Twenty One Pilots ...ya I said it!
I love collecting records, going to shows, hanging out with my two pugs Leia and Butters and spending some quality time with my fiancé.
1969 Ampeg Dan Armstrong Lucite Bass
Tie between Nine Inch Nails at the Aragon Ballroom (2018) and blink-182 at the Metro (2017).
Warehouse Associate (Returns)
Guitar player, pie enthusiast, clump of seven-billion-billion-billion atoms
Boss PH-2 Super Phaser
Manchester Orchestra at Shaky Knees Fest 2015
Warehouse Receiving Manager
Chicago native, Percussionist, DIY show aficionado.
A&F Pancake Snare or Istanbul Agop 30th Anniversary Ride Cymbal
Summer Slaughter Tour Chicago 2008 - The Black Dahlia Murder!
I am from Indianapolis, IN. I work in the Shipping/Receiving Department of CME. When I'm not at the warehouse, I like to play drums, cook vegan food, and hang out with my partner(Brooke) and cat (Sonya Blade).
Gretsch Catalina Club
I work in the receiving department and I sing and play guitar in a band called The Inventors. My dad has 9 fingers.
Red Kyser Capo. Never leave home without it.
Sharon Van Etten, Thalia Hall, 2-14-19, 2019
Much like the instruments I deal with every day I am fragile, delicate, and need to be handled with care.
A classical guitar I got from Goodwill in 2005.
David Bazan was playing in a strangers living room in Iowa City.
From Minneapolis. I like playing tasty tunes and hanging out with my Dog.
my 1974 Fender Twin Reverb Silverface amp
Ty Segall and The Muggers at First Avenue in Minneapolis. 2016
Never met a donut I didn't like.
Favorite Gear: My beat up, busted, Greg Bennett Samick.
Favorite Concert: Yanni Live at the Acropolis. I wasn't there but... if you could just see this tape.
Josh loves the great outdoors and rocking out in as much as possible. Also enjoys the sound of some good guitar feedback.
Favorite Gear: Late 1970’s Yamaha Amplifiers
Favorite Concert: Archers of Loaf at A.V. Fest 2011
Senior Personnel Manager
Prior to joining the team at CME I ran operations for Thalia Hall and Empty Bottle since the wee age of 22. I love spending time with my wife, kids, and puppy Huey Lewis. When I'm not doing that I love playing guitar and recording music with friends.
Tie between my Grandpa's '68 Silverface Deluxe Reverb and a Telecaster I bought in Peoria in 2005 that was touched by the devil himself, probably because he lives there.
F*cked Up at The Empty Bottle in 2008. I was an employee at the time and tried to stop a stage diver from climbing up on stage and promptly got punched in the face. Best show ever.
Guest Services Coordinator
I come from the land down under.
Favorite Gear: Panyard Jumbie Jam Steel Drum Purple
Favorite Concert: The Jesus Lizard - Detroit 2018
Operations & Integration Specialist
Born and raised on Chicago's South Side, Tom was snuck into bars and pubs by his parents on school nights to play covers since the age of 14. While his main instrument is guitar, he will try to play anything he can get his hands on. When he is not optimizing business processes, you can find him backpacking or fishing in the north woods or wherever he can get off the grid.
Tom does not play favorites.
Neil Young - Chicago Theatre 2008
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. 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 shredding throughout Chicago and beyond and expertly managing inventory for CME!
Anything by Q Drum Co. "because they slap hard!"
Black Sabbath at Ozzfest 2005 at the DTE Energy Music Theater in Detroit AND/OR Dillinger Escape Plan 2006 at the Fillmore in Detroit.
Hi there! I'm Laurel. I grew up in Elmhurst, IL. I graduated from Elmhurst College with a bachelor's degree in Music Business and a strong love for jazz. My main instrument is violin, but I also play mandolin, guitar, and bass. My passion for music started when I was very young (thanks Mom!) and I have never looked back since. When I am not playing or gigging, you can catch me at Logan Square's Cafe Mustache or at home cuddling my cat Ziggy watching endless amounts of Peep Show reruns.
1969 Gibson SG Standard Walnut
Christian McBride's New Jawn (2018)
Illinois native trying to see the world and make some rock n roll on the way
Fender Hotrod Deville 4X10
Thee Oh Sees, Thalia Hall 2017
Kyle is one cool dude. He can draw just about anything and he's the best looking person at CME. A classically trained clarinetist from Michigan who left the cold winters for the warmer climate of Chicago. He spends his nights drawing comic strips and children's books, among other things.
My brain. It's true bypass.
Royal Crown Revue - St. Andrews Hall. Detroit - October 1999
Skateboarding is LYFE. Music is pretty cool too.
My '63 SG Jr. that is as un-original as it gets
Queens of the Stone Age Red Rocks amphitheater in 2013 for their Like Clockwork tour
Born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, Logan has been involved in the local music scene since he started playing guitar at age 10. Logan discovered his passion for instrument repair during a brief stint as a high school music teacher in CPS. He now spends his days changing your strings, making sure your necks are straight, and cleaning the grime off your frets and fingerboard - and he wouldn't have it any other way. Besides tinkering with guitars Logan loves bikes, dogs, and coffee.
My 1968 Gower "The Nashville" acoustic guitar.
Maps & Atlases, Subterranean, 2007
Amplifier Repairs Manager
I love travel, food, whiskey and wine. Owner of Carstens Amplification; the best handmade guitar amps on the planet.
Favorite Gear: Carstens Black Flag amplifier
Favorite Concert: Soundgarden warm-up gig at the Vic in Chicago, IL (2010)
I like to play.
Favorite Gear: MY Gibson SG
Favorite Concert: War On Women - Halloween 2016 - New Orleans, LA
I fix broke stuff.
Fender J Bass
Radiohead, Lolla ‘08
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 Gear: His own one-of-a-kind creations
Favorite Concert: Daddy-O and the Demolition Band at the Yacht Club in Iowa City
An Illinois native and University of Illinois alum, Dustin began working on guitars from a lifelong interest in taking things apart and putting them back together. He developed his tech skills while an apprentice at Specimen Products in Chicago, and now makes sure every guitar he touches at CME plays and sounds the best it can. He's also big on cats and can absolutely crush some Simpsons trivia.
Skreddy Lunar Module fuzz
Glen Hansard at Millenium Park in 2014
I enjoy fixing instruments and eating burritos.
Mahogany top Single-O style acoustic that I built.
Melvins at First Avenue
Quality Control Expert
Alex is a Chicago native who has an affinity for flannel shirts and custom parts-casters. As a guitarist and audio engineer, he has a keen sense for crafting that perfect tone. He will perform a full setup and inspection for your guitar before shipping to ensure it plays like butter when it arrives at your door!
Favorite Gear: Vintage Gibson Les Paul
Favorite Concert: Black Sabbath, 2013 Tinley Park IL
Director of New Product
• I'm a songwriter.
• I have been in music retail virtually uninterrupted since the ripe age of fifteen.
• I'm an uncompromising fan of the Buffalo Bills.
• Most of my favorite music is Canadian.
Guild D-55 Antique Burst (mine is a New Hartford-era)
Alexisonfire at S.C.E.N.E. Fest 2006 in St Catharines, ON
Raised in Portland, Oregon. Moved to Chicago in 2018. Aside from the obvious love of guitars and music, I enjoy comedy, baseball, and family.
1972 Fender Silverface Dual Showman Reverb
July 27, 2013 Phish at the Gorge Amphitheater. Very tight that night. Super funky Sneakin' Sally and a 2001 jam that I believe eventually became the basis for Martian Monster. JJ Cale passed away that day and I was really sad about it, so the After Midnight cover was perfect.
Hailing from somewhere between the birthplace of Motown and The Stooges, an educational background in audio engineering, and a love for all things fuzz,; Alex is 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 Gear: 1969 Dan Armstrong "Plexi" Bass
Favorite Concert: Godspeed You! Black Emperor at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel in Chicago (2016)
Drum & Percussion Product Manager
Growing up just outside of Chicago, Mike has always known that he wanted a career involving drums. Now, between working for the Chicago Drum Exchange, playing drums for Blue Man Group Chicago and doing various freelance gigs, he is completely dedicated to working in the field that he is most passionate about.
5.5x14" Ayotte Keplinger Snare
A Tribe Called Quest at Pitchfork
I was a dog in at least one past life
Dimmu Borgir at the Vic or Infected Mushroom at the HOB
Amazon Channel Manager
Born in Concord Massachusetts and raised in the south suburbs of Chicago. I grew up a drummer, guitar player and lover of Nintendo. Now you might find me at home experimenting with synthesizers, effects pedals and drum machines. Thanks Radiohead.
Tame Impala at Red Rocks
New Product Coordinator
Lead Product Photographer
"Look, big sunglasses; very important. Big sunglasses, cool band."
Custom Dunwich Amplification DA120
Bongripper at The Beat Kitchen, March of 2015.
I was born in the heart of a dying star, just like Thor's hammer. I also have 2 cats.
Gears of War. Oh, you mean music gear? Gibson LP in Midnight Blue.
The Blood Brothers on July 4th 2004 at old Bottom Lounge
Obsessively following music for the better part of my life, I find joy in all aspects of the art world. Designing and music-ing are definitely my favorite past-times and designing for music is a pretty sweet deal. Ask the right thing and I will ramble for days.
Favorite Gear: My Fender FSR Strat
Favorite Concert: Rilo Kiley at The Moon 2005
It's Saturday somewhere!
My Science Decolonizer 100w Head
The Hives at The Metro, white-suit era. IDLES at Lincoln Hall, 2018.
Winner of the "Cleveland's Most Photogenic Baby" award 1997
My '96 American Standard Strat w/ Lollars and the Roland Juno 106
2008 Van Halen in Columbus or 2015 Dr. Dog at Thalia Hall
Cheap beer, country blues, and writin' good since '87.
John Prine - Newport Folk Festival '17
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 Gear: Neuman U87 & Universal Audio LA-610 Tube Preamp
Favorite Concert: Amnesty International
Accounting & Financing
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
Financial Analyst & Accounting Supervisor
Poet, Writer, Guitar player, Fiddler, Singer, Reader, Farmer, Accountant & Analyst Extraordinaire!
Favorite Gear: Ampeg J-12 T Jet II
Favorite Concert: Who could pick just one???
Born in Portland, OR in 2001. Little did I know back then, as I was but a youngster, that my future step-father would end up being the second in command, and then in command, of Pro Guitar Shop. This event would kickstart my deep love of pedals and effects. Something that would extend beyond the life of PGS (2004-2017). A legacy that would carry into my brief stint in the fulfillment department at Reverb.com until I found a home at the Chicago Music Exchange. I joined the team in Fall of 2018 and in the brief time I've been here I can already tell how special this place is. If you want to buy from someone who has your back, buy from CME.
DOD FX25 Envelope Filter 1983
Beats for sale!
Julien Baker at Pitchfork (2018)
I grew up down the street in Lincoln Square. I come from a family of musicians so now I play in too many bands, and own too many records. By the way, I like Pavement a lot. (I love you mom)
Favorite Gear: Electro-Harmonix Green Russian Big Muff
Favorite Concert: Fuzz at The Logan Square Auditorium in 2013