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MEET THE TEAM
Meet the folks who make it happen! Sales, customer service, and beyond—see and hear it from the people behind the scenes! Here at Chicago Music Exchange, we're all musicians or music fans so feel free to ask any of us your burning questions! Check out our Staff Picks while you are here, as well!
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!
Favorite Gear: 1959 Gibson ES 355 in FACTORY BLACK!!
Favorite Concert: 2017 Farm Aid
- Neil Young's set with Promise of
the Real as his band. INSANE.
Jonathan is dedicated to making CME one of the coolest places to work and your best local music store no matter where you live. On the weekends you might catch Jonathan blowing out his eardrums through a series of old Marshalls with his local tribute band. He is an avid AC/DC, Gibson SG, and Mini Cooper fanatic, so be sure to not mention any of these things to him.
Favorite Gear: 1965 Gibson SG
Favorite Concert: AC/DC at Wrigley Field 2015
A Chicagoland native, Singer-Songwriter-Guitarist, and pizza aficionado has played various instruments since he was 6 years old. A lover of all things Blues, Jazz, and Classical. On his off time he loves spending time with his family and his two Miniature Schnauzers affectionately named “Fender & Jackson”
Favorite Gear: Fender Custom Shop Journeyman Relic Clapton Stratocaster
Favorite Concert: '94 Eric Clapton 'Nothing but the Blues' Tour - United Center
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.
Favorite Gear: My Custom TSmith 7 string tele
Favorite Concert: Whitechapel 10 year anniversary tour at the Rave
As a Chicagoland native and bassist, Scott has spent the last few decades playing in bands he's sure you've never heard of. But these days, you can find him hanging in Humboldt Park with his dog, watching an NBA game, or arguing about how underrated Spider-Man 3 is.
Favorite Gear: Every Fender P Bass
Favorite Concert: Motion City Soundtrack - Metro - September 18, 2016
A hoarder of gear and records, Phil is often found riding motorcycles, baking pastries, and playing psych rock and ambient electronic music.
Favorite Gear: Korg Monopoly, Vox Royal guardsman, 2002 MIM Strat, Jordan bosstone fuzz
Favorite Concert: Damo Suzuki, Empty Bottle 2007
Roland has been into synthesizers before he knew what a synthesizer was when he heard the main riff of Beverly Hills Cop at the tender age of 5! (which was played by the Roland Jupiter 8) Always being fascinated with electronic sounds Roland became interested with hardware when he was introduced to underground electronic music in high school and since then he knew that music will be the main aspect in his life. At The Chicago Roland is dedicated to making it the most accessible synth shop in the city and will be more than delighted to help clients find the sound they have been looking for.
Favorite Gear: Juno 106 and Prophet 5 rev 4. Fantasy\will get: Juno 6, Korg ps3100, and OB-xa
Favorite Concert: Joris Voorn in Chicago and Christian loeffler in Brooklyn
As a Minnesota native, Zach began playing shows around the Twin Cities at age 13. He earned his chops between the St. Paul School of Rock and the city’s Rock n Blues circuit; eventually competing in Memphis at the International Blues Challenge two years in a row. He now fronts a band under his own name, and plays all around Chicago.
Favorite Gear: Heritage H-535 (Antique Natural)
Favorite Concert: Rolling Stones at TCF Bank Stadium (2015)
Born in Park Ridge, IL, John studied music and percussion at Northern Illinois University. He was an in-house studio drummer/percussionist at Solid Sound Studios from the late 90’s to 2019 and has toured the United States, Europe, and Canada for the past 18 years with various artists and bands.
Favorite Gear: C&C Drums & Zildjian Cymbals
Favorite Concert: Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails at Red Rocks Colorado July 21st, 2014
Ross was born in Houston, TX, but has lived most of his life in the Chicagoland area. He has been playing guitar and bass for almost 20 years now. He has played in several original and cover bands throughout and is currently working on his own solo project. You can catch him rocking local open mic nights around town!
Favorite Gear: Martin 00 Acoustic or any Fender Electric Guitar or Bass
Favorite Concert: Paul McCartney - Lollapalooza 2015
Hailing from the Chicago land area, this singer/songwriter and headbanger began playing guitar at the age of 12 after his Uncle exposed him to thrash metal and NWOBHM. Mario's main areas of expertise are most genres of hard rock/heavy metal, high gain amps, and effect pedals. You can catch Mario fronting his folk band or standing too close to loud amps for his own good.
Favorite Gear: Dunwich DA120, Strymon Timeline, Friedman Butterslax, 1975 Les Paul Custom
Favorite Concert: Gigantour 2008: Megadeth, In Flames, Children of Bodom, High on Fire
Born and raised in Chicago, Eric has spent most of his life with drums, guitars, and in a mixed martial arts gym. He is a Street Fighter and Marvel vs Capcom enthusiast, and a brother to all. .
Favorite Gear: PRS, Ernie Ball Music Man, Suhr, any Djent worthy guitars... especially his Mark Holcomb 7 string in Walnut Satin, High Gain Amps
Favorite Concert: Ozzfest 2004 and An Evening w/ Opeth March 2nd 2006
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.
Favorite Gear: Ludwig & Gretsch Drums
Favorite Concert: Wu Tang Clan 2019
Singer, writer, coffee addict, mom, and a walking musical. Val loves all things acoustic, following local music scenes, and being a foodie. Life is a work of art; Why not make it my masterpiece?
Favorite Gear: Taylor GS Mini Walnut
Favorite Concert: Alison Krauss & Union Station at Rosemont Theatre
I'm obsessed with guitar. I spent many years traveling the world playing music and even got a degree in jazz guitar to take my playing to the next level!
Favorite Gear: My 2015 gibson customshop Byrdland in winered
Favorite Concert: Cory Wong in 2018 at Thalia Hall
I studied Audio Engineering at Columbia College Chicago where I got my Bachelors degree in 2019 and have been working as a freelance engineer since. I am a lifelong musician playing saxophone, guitar, and am a singer! I also love strong coffee, my cat, and hiking.
Favorite Gear: Neumann U47
Favorite Concert: Unknown Mortal Orchestra at the Ogden Twilight Amphitheater
There's no more to life than Microwave Pizzas and Fender Telecasters. And I still don't know what to do with my hands.
Favorite Gear: Wow. '64 Fender Stratocaster in classic white with triple single coil pickups and a whammy bar. Pre-CBS Fender corporate buy-out.I'd raise the bridge, file down the nut, and take the buzz out of the low "E."
Favorite Concert: It's not like The Grateful Dead is still alive and touring...
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.
Favorite Gear: Gibson L-00 from 1932 and Carstens Black Flag
Favorite Concert: Gillian Welch and David Rawlings at the Vic in Chicago (2011)
Cat enthusiast. Dog petting aficionado.
Favorite Gear: 1963 Jazzmaster
Favorite Concert: Fleet Foxes at The Chicago Theater, 2017
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.
Favorite Gear: 61 Stack Knob Jazz Bass
Favorite Concert: Fearless Flyers at Concord Music Hall (2018)
Favorite Gear: Fender Jazz Bass & that new pedal that does the thing.
Favorite Concert: Pat Metheny Unity Band, 2012
Dallas raised, Chicago livin’ — Tanner’s a guitarist, audio engineer, and all-around music nerd. Actually, just a nerd in general… When he’s not playing guitar or mixing, you’ll probably find him hanging out with his wife and two dogs, playing Pokémon Go around the city, or hunting for Star Wars action figures for his collection. He’s on the lookout for the best Italian beef Chicago has to offer, so give him your recommendations!
Favorite Gear: Constantly changing… Currently, Gibson SG, Jext Telez White Pedal, and pretty much any chorus pedal ever.
Favorite Concert: Paul McCartney at Austin City Limits 2018
Favorite Gear: Gibson SG
Favorite Concert: Bon Jovi or Rolling Stones
Aaron is a Michigan transplant. He loves the Detroit Red Wings and is a Prince super fan.
Favorite Gear: Gretsch drums, Dream Cymbals, Fender basses, Technics 1200
Favorite Concert: The Specials on Warped Tour '98
Liz is a Chicago native, Percussionist, and DIY show aficionado.
Favorite Gear: A&F Pancake Snare or Istanbul AGOP 30th Anniversary Ride Cymbal
Favorite Concert: Summer Slaughter Tour Chicago 2008 - The Black Dahlia Murder!
Grown from spores that fell from space, Bob has lived in Chicago all his life and wouldn't want to live anywhere else. He received a bass from his Gram-Diddy (grandma) for his 20th birthday and it was all over from there. "I love all music!"
Favorite Gear: Darkglass microtubes 900
Favorite Concert: Summer Slaughter 2009 or The Black Crows and Tom Petty
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
Anthony is a music lover, creator of stained glass pieces, lover of all things four legged and furry, and a traveler.
Favorite Gear: DW Collectors Series Snare, any of them.
Favorite Concert: Rancid - I’ve seen this band most than I can count and they’re never a let down.
Bill is a professional musician and educator in the greater Chicagoland area. He received a Bachelors in Music from Elmhurst College and a masters from DePaul University. Primarily a guitarist, Bill enjoys performing all styles of music and geeking out about music theory and harmony.
Favorite Gear: Gibson L-4 CES, natural finish.
Dodd is a lover of music- from Black Metal to R&B, and everything in between! He is a proud dog dad to his standard poodle, Boogeyman.
Favorite Gear: His 2003 graffiti yellow Tom Delonge Fender Stratocaster
Favorite Concert: Any of the many times seeing Rancid with his Dad
CT born and raised, Chris has been playing and recording music as long as he can remember. When technology meets music, that's when he gets excited!
Favorite Gear: Pioneer RT-707 Analog tape Machine with Auto Reverse
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.
Favorite Gear: Tom does not play favorites.
Favorite Concert: Neil Young - Chicago Theatre 2008
Disco made me do it.
Favorite Gear: 1969 Gibson SG Standard Walnut
Favorite Concert: Christian McBride's New Jawn (2018)
Liam Mcghie is a 23 year old sound engineer and music producer from Chicago. He graduated from Drexel University in 2021 with a Music Industry degree, and is applying his knowledge to help contribute to the CME team! His dream guitar is a Custom Shop aged Fender Strat!
Favorite Gear: Universal Audio Apollo Twin Interface
Favorite Concert: Kanye West at the United Center - Life of Pablo Tour.
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
"I fix broke stuff."
Favorite Gear: Fender J Bass
Favorite Concert: Radiohead, Lolla ‘08
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.
Favorite Gear: Skreddy Lunar Module fuzz
Favorite Concert: Glen Hansard at Millenium Park in 2014
Brody was born and raised in Naples, FL and loves to work on guitars.
Favorite Gear: My 2016 Gibson Flying V
Favorite Concert: Metallica, Orlando 2017
From Minneapolis, Alec likes playing tasty tunes and hanging out with his dog.
Favorite Gear: my 1974 Fender Twin Reverb Silverface amp
Favorite Concert: Ty Segall and The Muggers at First Avenue in Minneapolis. 2016
Favorite Gear: Fuzz
Blake was raised in Florida and started playing guitar when he found his dad’s copy of the Back In Black record at 11. He followed music and guitar to Chicago at 20, then to Seattle, and found his way back. He loves old Marshalls, coffee, and working on amps and guitars. Blake plays guitar in his local AC/DC cover band on the weekends. He attended Galloup School and is incredibly proud to be part of the CME team.
Favorite Gear: 1962 Gretsch Duo Jet
Favorite Concert: AC/DC in Orlando 2009
Dan is a songwriter who has been in music retail virtually uninterrupted since the ripe age of fifteen! He is an uncompromising fan of the Buffalo Bills and all of his favorite music is Canadian.
Favorite Gear: Guild D-55 Antique Burst (mine is a New Hartford-era)
Favorite Concert: Alexisonfire at S.C.E.N.E. Fest 2006 in St Catharines, ON
Raised in Portland, Oregon, Gavin moved to Chicago in 2018. Aside from the obvious love of guitars and music, he enjoys comedy, baseball, and family.
Favorite Gear: 1972 Fender Silverface Dual Showman Reverb
Favorite Concert: 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.
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.
Favorite Gear: 5.5x14" Ayotte Keplinger Snare
Favorite Concert: A Tribe Called Quest at Pitchfork
Saul was a dog in at least one past life.
Favorite Gear: Sony A6000
Favorite Concert: Dimmu Borgir at the Vic or Infected Mushroom at the HOB
Joe is an Indiana man who enjoys a warm vintage synth, a cool breeze, a good slow jam, and an occasional glass of wine.
Favorite Gear: Sequential Prophet-10
Favorite Concert: Tame Impala at Red Rocks
Growing up in the South Side of Chicago, you know his team is the White Sox! Jose doesn't have a favorite genre of music but if he had to pick, it would be anything loud, You can usually find him drinking coffee. That's him in a nutshell, any questions?
Favorite Gear: Custom 1977 Ibanez 2350
Favorite Concert: Run The Jewels @ Riot Fest 2021
Favorite Gear: A&F Drum Co.
Favorite Concert: The Felix Culpa, O'Brother & The Dear Hunter at the House Cafe in DeKalb, IL circa 2011.
John was raised by wolves and the United States Navy in Kailua Hawaii, Virginia Beach Virginia, and Asheville, N.C. He can often be found chugging lukewarm coffee and playing with his Border Collie.
Favorite Gear: '55 Les Paul Jr.
Favorite Concert: Laura Jane Grace at 6th and I on Valentines Day 2016
A lifelong Illinois boy, David has been gear geek since even before he got his first guitar. After work, or on the weekends—if it's not a guitar or a book that he's got in his hands, it's probably a pool cue.
Favorite Gear: Heritage Golden Eagle
Favorite Concert: Against Me! / Mastodon / Cursive | The Riviera Theater, Chicago | May 12, 2007
Originally from Akron, Ohio, Drew moved to Chicago in 2014 to attend Columbia College Chicago and study film. He likes making ambient music, art and hanging out in the woods.
Favorite Gear: Moog One. Someday...
Favorite Concert: Aaron Carter's House Party Tour 2001
Who is Zoha?
Favorite Gear: Moog Analog Gear
Favorite Concert: The Neighbourhood
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
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
Favorite Gear: His Heritage Sweet 16
Favorite Concert: Jonathan Kreisberg & Dave Kikoski duo at Piano Forte 2016
Ben, a guitar player of nearly 20 years, found his way to Chicago from Minneapolis in 2018. You can find him gigging throughout Chicago, self proclaimed as "your dad's favorite guitarist." When he's not playing music he's quoting The Simpsons, waiting for the Minnesota Vikings to win a Super Bowl, and asking new CME employees if they could see any band or artist, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Favorite Gear: 1959 Fender Stratocaster
Favorite Concert: Rage Against the Machine - Minneapolis, MN - September, 2008
"Beats for sale!"
Favorite Gear: Boss DS-1
Favorite Concert: Julien Baker at Pitchfork (2018)
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.
Favorite Gear: DOD FX25 Envelope Filter 1983