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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!
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.
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 basses.
Favorite Gear: 1974 Fender Stratocaster Mocha
Favorite Concert: Levon Helm at Bonnaroo in Manchester, TN (2008)
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.
Favorite Guitar: Gibson Moderne
Favorite Concert: Grizzly Bear at the Riviera in Chicago (2012) or Mastodon at the Metro (2006)
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
1965 Gibson SG Special
Favorite Concert: Smashing Pumpkins 1997
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)
The more amps and pedals you have on stage at one time the better!
Favorite Gear: Banker Guitars, Victoria and Matchless Amps
Favorite Concert: Pearl Jam- Wrigley Field- Aug 24, 2016
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.
Favorite Gear: 1953 Gibson J-45
Favorite Concert: Fleet Foxes at The Chicago Theatre
1965 Gibson SG
Favorite Concert: 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.
Favorite Gear: My Custom TSmith 7 string tele
Favorite Concert: Whitechapel 10 year anniversary tour at the Rave
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: Anything blonde or Sherwood Green.
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 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.
Favorite Gear: Sabian Cymbals
Favorite Concert: Glassjaw at Metro
Raised by moose in the great state of Maine, Liz loves helping customers "out of the woods" with any problem that may arise. Along with her love for great gear and psychedelic bands, she spends her free time practicing roundhouse kicks and plotting her next adventure.
Favorite Gear: 68 Coronado with a 90s Jazzmaster neck and Greco humbuckers
Favorite Concert: Roky Erickson and the Black Angels at Park West in 2014
Favorite Gear: Fender Jazz Bass & that new pedal that does the thing.
Favorite Concert: Pat Metheny Unity Band, 2012
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
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, 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
Originally from Crystal Lake, Ryan is a self taught harmonica player who also enjoys playing 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.
Favorite Gear: Hohner special 20 10 hole diatonic harmonica
Favorite Concert: Slaughter and The Dogs with The Briefs at the fireside bowl back I think 2003.
A bassist from age 15 with a Performance degree from Columbia College Chicago, Maddie has played all types of music from blues to metal. Songwriter and producer on guitar and piano. She loves creating in general and has started a Youtube channel that takes up most of her free time. Maddie is obsessed with her dog, Chewy and wants you to ask to see a picture!
Favorite Gear: Taylor Tz5 Guitar
Favorite Concert: Twenty One Pilots ...ya I said it!
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!
Joe works in the receiving department. He sings and plays guitar in a band called The Inventors. His dad has 9 fingers!!!
Favorite Gear: Red Kyser Capo. Never leave home without it.
Favorite Concert: Sharon Van Etten, Thalia Hall, 2-14-19, 2019
"I 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.
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
Laurel grew up in Elmhurst, IL and graduated from Elmhurst College with a bachelor's degree in Music Business and a strong love for jazz. Her main instrument is violin, but she also plays mandolin, guitar, and bass. Her passion for music started when she was very young (thanks Mom!) and she has never looked back since. When Laurel is not playing or gigging, you can catch her at Logan Square's Cafe Mustache or at home cuddling her cat Ziggy watching endless amounts of Peep Show reruns!
Favorite Gear: 1969 Gibson SG Standard Walnut
Favorite Concert: Christian McBride's New Jawn (2018)
Danny is an Illinois native trying to see the world and make some rock n roll on the way.
Favorite Gear: Fender Hotrod Deville 4X10
Favorite Concert: Thee Oh Sees, Thalia Hall 2017
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
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.
Favorite Gear: My 1968 Gower "The Nashville" acoustic guitar.
Favorite Concert: Maps & Atlases, Subterranean, 2007
"I like to play."
Favorite Gear: MY Gibson SG
Favorite Concert: War On Women - Halloween 2016 - New Orleans, LA
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
Victor is utterly obsessed with vintage gear and a connoisseur of bad jokes.
Favorite Gear: Aria Pro II RS Inazuma 1985
Favorite Concert: The Chariot | Glass Cloud at Kingdom 2013 - Richmond, VA.
Favorite Gear: Fuzz
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
Obsessively following music for the better part of his life, Will finds joy in all aspects of the art world. Designing and music-ing are his favorite past-times and designing/marketing for music is a pretty sweet deal! Ask the right thing and he will ramble for days.
Favorite Gear: OBNE Dark Star
Favorite Concert: Rilo Kiley at The Moon 2005
"It's Saturday somewhere!"
Favorite Gear: My Science Decolonizer 100w Head
Favorite Concert: The Hives at The Metro, white-suit era. IDLES at Lincoln Hall, 2018.
"Cheap beer, country blues, and writin' good since '87."
Favorite Gear: MaidRite Washboard
Favorite Concert: John Prine - Newport Folk Festival '17
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: My Heritage Sweet 16!
Favorite Concert: Jonathan Kreisberg & Dave Kikoski duo at Piano Forte 2016
"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