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At Chicago Music Exchange, we have the most knowledgeable gear experts in the industry. All musicians themselves and admitted gear-geeks, these guys can help you find your perfect gear. Can't make it to the store? Call 888-686-7872 to get your gear advice by phone.
David, an amateur electric guitar rockstar, took over the Chicago Music Exchange in 2010. After working with electronic trading systems for the last decade, he really digs being able to come to work surrounded by his true love, vintage guitars.
FAVORITE GUITAR: Fender Stratocaster
FAVORITE CONCERT: Tom Petty at the United Center in Chicago (2010)
Don't believe everything you hear, I'm really not a bad guy. I mean, how could you be when you have the greatest gig on the planet at the single coolest store in the world??
FAVORITE GUITAR: Tie, my 61' ES 335 Cherry Dot Neck that was made by the Lord Jesus himself, and the absolutely perfect burst SCARFACE!
FAVORITE CONCERT: Grateful Dead Shows at Soldier Field (July 1995)
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.
FAVORITE GUITAR: 1974 Fender Stratocaster Mocha
FAVORITE CONCERT: Levon Helm at Bonnaroo in Manchester, TN (2008)
Native of beautiful Paraguay, Daniel not only makes our store bi-lingual, but also a place of vintage perfection, researching, studying, dating each and every piece that walks in and out our doors. If you're looking to buy, sell, or trade vintage, Daniel will always be involved.
FAVORITE GUITAR: 1965 Fender Jazzmaster with patent number Gibson humbuckers, refin Natural w/ eagle burned onto the back
FAVORITE CONCERT: Gillian Welch and David Rawlings at the Vic in Chicago (2011)
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)
When it comes to low frequency, this man is no slouch. A veteran of both tuba and bass, Marc, a Louisville, KY-native, first came to Chicago to study music education. Experienced session musician and performer, his knowledge of the Frank Zappa catalogue and unconditional passion for beets has led him here to serve you with unmatched enthusiasm and candor.
FAVORITE GUITAR: 1966 Fender Jazz Bass Shoreline Gold
FAVORITE CONCERT: Herbie Hancock and the New Headhunters (2005)
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.
FAVORITE GUITAR: Gibson Les Paul Goldtop
FAVORITE CONCERT: A Wilhelm Scream at Subterranean, 2014
After spending six years in the tech industry, Daniel was happy to leave behind logic boards and UNIX systems for nitrocellulose and vacuum tubes. He enjoys drooling over the latest Gibson and Fender Custom Shop gear, working on home recordings in Logic, playing video games, and being an unapologetic cat man.
FAVORITE GUITAR: Gibson R8
FAVORITE CONCERT: Father John Misty at The Vic, 2015
After growing up on the East Coast, Drew moved to Chicago in 2005 to pursue his love of selling guitars. This blues rocker has an affinity for Fender products and boutique gear, but he likes pointing you towards great gear even more. When Drew is not at the shop, he enjoys his other job, which he would tell you about, but then he would have to kill you.
FAVORITE GUITAR: One of a kind hollow aluminum Franken-Strat
FAVORITE CONCERT: Arc Angels at The Paradise in Boston, 1992
As a hoarder of both fine effect pedals and exquisite cakes, Chase brings a multifaceted music industry skillset to the table and eats it too. The only thing that might outweigh this native Chicagolander's love for musical instruments is his affinity for peculiar socks.
FAVORITE AMP: 1965 Silvertone 1482
FAVORITE CONCERT: Phantom Planet @ The Metro/2003
Born in Oklahoma, spent time in Lincoln Nebraska, but considers Chicago his home! David is a lover of all things shoegaze, post rock and wall of sound!
FAVORITE GEAR: Dunable Yeti, 1965 Bandmaster
FAVORITE CONCERT: Circa Survive - House of Blues 2014
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.
FAVORITE GUITAR: 1959 Fender Jazzmaster
FAVORITE CONCERT: Styx and Reo Speedwagon
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 GUITAR: 1953 Gibson J-45
FAVORITE CONCERT: Fleet Foxes at The Chicago Theatre
FAVORITE GUITAR: 1965 Gibson SG Special
FAVORITE CONCERT: Smashing Pumpkins 1997
Just next door to the guitar shop, the Chicago Drum Exchange houses one of the most incredible collections of new, used and vintage drums you'll ever see. Stop by the drum shop or browse the Chicago Drum Exchange collection here online.
An independent Chicago drummer with a reputation for hard work and always playing a "really sweet kit," Rob spearheaded the new drum shop from scratch and is now our go-to guy for everything percussion. Musically, you'll find his work on recordings from artists like Remington Pettygrove and Bright Like Japan.
FAVORITE KIT: Sonor S-classix
FAVORITE CONCERT: Brian Blade Fellowship at the Chicago Jazz Festival (2010)
Since his first kick drum made out of cardboard and duct tape, accompanied by assorted pots and pans, Ryan has been finding ways to make beats since the age of 14. A connoisseur of loud instrumental rock, big drums, and big cymbals, he specializes in 60s and 70s vintage gear and bringing abused drums back to life.
FAVORITE KIT: Late 70s Ludwig Vistalite 3-Piece Blue w/ Ludwig Black Beauty Snare
FAVORITE CONCERT: Hum at Double Door on New Years Eve in Chicago (2009)
Whether it's helping someone find their great new gear at the Chicago Drum Exchange, or as a working freelance drummer with a regular gig schedule, Mike has dedicated himself to all things drum related for the majority of his life. Mike enjoys the challenge of adapting and playing any style of music that might be thrown at him.
FAVORITE GEAR: Ayotte, Gretsch, Meinl cymbals
FAVORITE CONCERT: Snarky Puppy at Metro, Chicago, IL.
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
The Chicago Music Exchange Customer Service Department handles everything from taking phone orders and chatting with customers on the website, to helping you find the right pedal and making sure you get the best deal!
At twelve, Sarah turned in NKOTB for GNR; she hasn't looked back. Rooted in North Carolina, but raised by Yanks, Sarah picked up drums due to a timely distaste for French linguistics, later touring both hemispheres, continuing to rock each and every day. Though an engineer at heart, nothing fires her up more than talking shop and giving every customer at Chicago Music Exchange the highest quality service this side of the Roman Empire (after which all of her pets are named of course).
FAVORITE KIT: 2001 Pearl MMX Masters Custom 4-ply Maple
FAVORITE CONCERT: U2 at Soldier Field (Come on... those guys put on an insane show!)
Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, he was exposed to the world of metal at a young age. A man that is so metal, he goes by his middle name. When he is not listening to Metallica or doing bicep curls at the gym (while maintaining unwavering eye contact with strangers) you can find him photographing Killswitch Engage, or possibly relaxing at his house with his girlfriend and dog.
FAVORITE GUITAR: Caparison TAT-FX in Gloss Black
FAVORITE CONCERT: Killswitch Engage, Warped Tour 2007
Chris has been called the voice of a generation and the customer service king by at least a couple people. Chris graduated from SIUC with a Music Business Degree with a minor in marketing, and specialized in classical guitar and recording engineering. Often speaking in the third person, especially when writing biographies about himself, Chris is currently working on his own blues/prog rock music and being generally awesome all the time.
FAVORITE GUITAR: Duesenberg Outlaw
FAVORITE CONCERT: Red Hot Chili Peppers 2016
Silas is a man of excess from rural Indiana by way of Michigan who finally landing in Chicago. He doesn't just stop at "What is too much?" He takes "too much" and runs it through a 2x15" cab. When he isn't taking care of the sweet souls shopping at CME, he is off in one of his six-million bands or playing with Legos. Do you like fuzz? He's your man. Do you like too much reverb? Yup, that's him too. Think music should hurt to listen too? Then he's your guy. Whether you are a sonic chemist or just dabbling in the nether regions of loud, Silas will set you on the right path for you and recommend a good psychiatrist.
Raised in Southern California and moved to Chicago to be around the amazing music scene. Lives for a great live Punk Rock or Metal show. He's ready to greet you at the door and make sure you find whatever you may be looking for.
FAVORITE GEAR: Cow Bells and Shakers for days
FAVORITE CONCERT: Foo Fighters and Mariachi El Bronx in a tiny venue in Santa Barbara
The CME Shipping Department makes sure your gear gets inspected, packed safely and shipped accurately and on time, every time. Shipping vintage guitars and drum kits is no small task and these guys are the absolute best at it.
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 GUITAR: American Fender Jazz
FAVORITE CONCERT: Tool 2006 at the Wolstein Center, Cleveland Ohio
Joining us from Ohio via New Orleans, Justin prefers any instrument beaten with a stick. Without explanation he finds hilarity in fish sandwiches, and intends to be a stalwart here until the Bears wise up and draft him to play the line. In the meantime, he'll be taking outstanding care of every one of your orders.
FAVORITE CYMBALS: Zildjian K Series
FAVORITE CONCERT: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young at United Center in Chicago (2000)
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 GUITAR: Blue Hofner Shorty
FAVORITE CONCERT: 1st Concert - Evanescence
FAVORITE GUITAR: Fender Telecaster through a Deluxe Reverb
FAVORITE CONCERT: 1994, Beastie Boys Ill Communication Tour
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. Originally from the rural countryside of mid-Michigan, 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 expertly taking care of your orders with passion and attention to detail rivaled by none.
FAVORITE KIT: DW drums
FAVORITE CONCERT: Black Sabbath at Ozzfest 2005 at the DTE Energy Music Theater in Detroit Rock City
FAVORITE GUITAR: Gibson L6s Black w/ Maple Neck
FAVORITE CONCERT: Archers of Loaf outside the Hideout in 2012
Josh loves the great outdoors and rocking out in as much as possible. Also enjoys the sound of some good guitar feedback.
FAVORITE GUITAR: Anything Paul Stanley would've smashed on stage in the late 70's
FAVORITE CONCERT: A tie between Superchunk at the Magic Stick (Detroit, December 2010) and Leatherface at the Fest 9 (Gainesville FL, October 2010)
Moved here from Michigan 2 years ago. Redwings fan. Obsessed w/glow in the dark putt putt golf & bowling. I love to play drums, bass, & spin records.
FAVORITE GEAR: Technics 1200 Fender Basses and Gretsch Drums
FAVORITE CONCERT: The Specials Warped Tour '98
I am a Chicagoland native who's played drums in many many Chicago based punk and pop punk bands. I love horror movies and video games. I also have a love of eyeglasses and shoes. Can't forget my kids, I love them too.
FAVORITE GEAR: Ludwig and Pork Pie Custom kits
FAVORITE CONCERT: 88 Fingers Louie, Anti-Flag and No Use For A Name @ Firesde Bowl.
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.
When I'm not playing guitar, I'm usually reading a tasty book, or chilling out on some Simpsons reruns.
FAVORITE GEAR: Gibson SG Deluxe
FAVORITE CONCERT: Derek Trucks Superjam at Bonaroo
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. You can find him running around the store or warehouse with laptop nerding out on spreadsheets or counting the things.
FAVORITE BASS: Whatever one is in his hand, he'll make it work.
FAVORITE CONCERT: Neil Young at the Chicago Theatre in 2008.
Originally from Michigan, Kyle is a classically trained clarinetist who would rather play bass or tenor sax in a dirty basement. When he's not rocking he's creating an animated, interactive web comic about a homeless robot. Kyle has been packing and shipping for years so he'll pack your stuff with care and get it to you fast.
FAVORITE BASS: Anything, get it in tune and throw a Big Muff on it, and you can rock.
FAVORITE CONCERT: October 25th 1999, a Monday. Royal Crown Revue at St. Andrews Hall, Detroit, MI.
I love puppies, vidya games, hot dogs and nerd conventions. I hate pictures, Bad Religion and onions on my pizza.
FAVORITE GEAR: ESP Horizon in Reindeer Blue
FAVORITE CONCERT: Despised Icon at the House of Blues or Iron Maiden at the Amphitheater
The CME Repair Shop is made up of this incredible team of gear experts and master technicians. These guys can handle anything from basic setups, refrets, and neck resets to restorations, amp repairs, pedal modifications and more. See our repairs section for more information.
At the beginning, there was an early '60s red Supro emerging from hibernation in a familial attic. After that, Brian never really put down the guitar. Although originally from Grand Rapids, MI, it was clear that was no place for a musician and ran off to indulge in food, wine, and quest for tone, in Chicago. Now you'll find Brian whenever you've got amp work to be done, from a rebias to robust modifications.
FAVORITE TUBE: 6V6. "I love the warmth and fat tone it produces."
FAVORITE CONCERT: Soundgarden warm-up gig at the Vic in Chicago, IL (2010)
FAVORITE GUITAR: "I don't play favorites!"
FAVORITE CONCERT: Grateful Dead (Jerry's last four shows) at Riverport Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights, MO and Souldier Field in Chicago (1995)
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 GUITAR: Vintage Gibson Les Paul
FAVORITE CONCERT: Black Sabbath, 2013 Tinley Park IL
A guitar player born and raised in La Grange, Illinois; Phil Glodek is a connoisseur of after market guitar parts with his specialties lying in "off the cuff" fabrication. Whether you're seeking new T-Saddles for your Tele, or drooling over a new bone saddle for your Martin D-18; Phil is always happy to craft and/or install the parts you need on your guitar.
FAVORITE GUITAR: Fender Broadcaster
FAVORITE CONCERT: Radiohead Lollapalooza 2008
A drummer at heart, Drew is also known to tinker with guitars and basses on occasion. A native of the Chicagoland area, Drew has spent much of the last ten years traveling and playing music. If your guitar needs a refresh – from basic setup to a complete refret or pickup installation – Drew will make sure your gear is well taken care of.
FAVORITE GUITAR: 1980s DOD "Grind It" Combo Amp
FAVORITE CONCERT: Carcass at Sonar in Baltimore
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 GUITAR: His own one-of-a-kind creations
FAVORITE CONCERT: Daddy-O and the Demolition Band at the Yacht Club in Iowa City
FAVORITE GUITAR: 60's SG Special
FAVORITE CONCERT: Queens Of The Stone Age; Red Rocks Amphitheater (Colorado)
A former goldsmith and lover of all things guitar, Micah hung up his jewelers torch to join the crew at CME. A much needed career change as he was tired of setting himself on fire. Sometimes he writes music. Other times he records it. He has a dog named Henrietta.
FAVORITE GUITAR: Yes.
FAVORITE CONCERT: Nymb's last show. August 3, 2001 at the Fireside Bowl.
I like to play.
FAVORITE GUITAR: MY Gibson SG
FAVORITE CONCERT: War On Women - Halloween 2016 - New Orleans, LA
The rest of the CME team works behind the scenes. This includes accounting, operations and store maintenance, product research and purchasing, database management, writing product descriptions, marketing, web design, videography and talent direction, photography, merchandising, event planning, and more!
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 MIC & PREAMP: Neuman U87 & Universal Audio LA-610 Tube Preamp
FAVORITE CONCERT: Amnesty International
Coming from a background in software and operations, Bob helps keep the CME machine growing and rocking with science and magic. When not at the shop, he can be found frequenting the fine establishments of West Town, on tour with his legendary rugby team, or working on his latest backyard project.
FAVORITE GEAR: Those Gretsch White Falcons are hot.
FAVORITE CONCERT: Thursdays at Rosa's
Aficionado of time-based effects, and resident somber folk legend, Dan B. has been working in music retail since the ripe young age of fifteen. Uncompromising fan of the Buffalo Bills, this almost-Canadian product director keeps our selection fresh, with happy customers always in mind.
FAVORITE PEDALS: Electro-Harmonix POG 2 >> Malekko Omicron Vibrato
FAVORITE CONCERT: The Sheila Divine at the Tralf in Buffalo, NY (2001)
A longtime music journalist and industry marketing maven, Hilary is an avid bassist and connoisseur of timelines, Pop-A-Shot and chicken wings. When not reveling in the glory of James Jamerson, sarcasm and a heavily sanded neck, you may find her hunting for vinyl or reassuring her parents that she has a real job.
FAVORITE BASS: 1962 Fender Jazz Bass
FAVORITE CONCERT: Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings/Charles Bradley at SXSW (2012)
Hailing from somewhere between the birthplace of Motown and The Stooges, Le Veque has made his return to the Chicago Music Exchange. With an educational background in Audio Engineering, and a love for all things fuzz, he’s 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 BASS: 1969 Dan Armstrong "Plexi" Bass
FAVORITE CONCERT: Godspeed You! Black Emperor at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel in Chicago (2016)
FAVORITE GUITAR: New Orleans Guitar Co Morado 5 String
FAVORITE CONCERT: Deftones at The Metro in Chicago, IL Dec 6, 1997
FAVORITE GEAR: Maschine by Native Instruments or Fender Rhodes Mark I suitcase electric piano
FAVORITE CONCERT: The Flaming Lips at The Aragon Ballroom
A local artist, photographer, musician, writer, and record junkie, Dan loves everything about the Chicago music scene. Whether it's taking live concert photos or photographing vintage guitars, he puts his passion for music and photography into everything he shoots.
FAVORITE BASS: '60s Magnatone Hurricane
FAVORITE CONCERT: The Brian Jonestown Massacre at the Metro (2012)
FAVORITE GUITAR: 73 Lefty Telecaster Deluxe Mocha
FAVORITE CONCERT: Sleater-Kinney at the Metro, 2006.
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
Rosie is a classically trained musician and recovering drum major with a punk rock nougat center. She hails from the South Side of Chicago where she started playing music in the third grade. When she isn't crunching numbers for CME you can find her playing bass clarinet, napping, singing along to Frank Sinatra with the family, or spitting out weird random facts.
FAVORITE GEAR: Lanikai LKP-C Ukulele
FAVORITE CONCERT: Flogging Molly at Gaelic Fest
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
I'm not a serious musician, but I am a massive geek. Video games are my main passion, but I also participate in tabletop games and the like. In my spare time, I'm an editor and writer for a video game-themed site called That VideoGame Blog. I do like listening to music, and I do so a lot. My musical taste is pretty varied, but it mostly solidified in the early to mid 2000s. As such, my favorite band is Linkin Park; I like both their old and new stuff. That said, I'll happily listen to just about anything.
FAVORITE GEAR: Bose Noise-cancelling Headphones
FAVORITE CONCERT: Linkin Park Meteora World Tour 2004