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Inside the CME Vault
The Greatest Collection of Vintage Gear. Period.

1957 Fender Stratocaster

1957 Fender Stratocaster

A symbol of Fender’s cultural icon at its peak. Leo Fender spent the majority of the 1950s gradually perfecting design of the Stratocaster. It's widely believed that in 1957, those efforts finally came to fruition. Never have we received a Strat that truly embodies that pivotal period of transition like this one, with a plethora of groundbreaking features that were realized in that year. From the 2-Tone Sunburst color, to Leo's perfect body contour, to the highly desirable "’57 V" neck profile, every aspect of this period-correct instrument makes it an outstanding find. Original tweed hardshell case!


Quick Facts

  • Weight: 7lbs 8oz
  • Body: Alder (Introduced in Summer 1956)
  • Neck: Maple w/ Soft “V” Profile
  • Fretboard: Maple w/ 7.25” Radius and Dot Inlays
  • Pickups: Three Original Single-Coil Stratocaster Pickups (rated at 5.6 kOhms in the neck, 5.7 k in the middle, and 5.6 k in the bridge)
  • Hardware:Original



1960 Gibson ES-335

1960 Gibson ES-335

Few natural Gibson ES-335 guitars have been crafted in 1960, making them hard-to-find pieces to begin with. We’re ecstatic to have brought this very special, and already extremely rare incarnation of the model through our doors from none other than guitar collecting Mecca—the famous Scott Chinery collection. Even among Chinery’s otherworldly collection of vintage instruments, this specific custom order piece is a natural standout—it flaunts additional eye candy such as split parallelogram inlays and a Bigsby tailpiece to satiate the palate of ravenous vintage guitar aficionados. It was even highlighted in the published book “The Chinery Collection: 150 Years of American Guitars,” and rightfully so, we say! Original hardshell case.


Quick Facts

  • Body:2-Piece Maple
  • Neck:Mahogany
  • Fretboard:Brazilian Rosewood
  • Pickups:Dual PAF Humbuckers
  • Hardware:Original



1960 Gibson Les Paul (

1960 Gibson Les Paul ("The Burst")

Here it is, the apex of our Vault collection: an authentic 1960 Gibson Les Paul from the original introductory year of the famed “Burst.” The figuring on this absolutely amazing flamed maple top is truly one-of-a-kind, so much so that this masterpiece has been featured in several notable published Gibson books, including "Beauty of the Burst" and "Burst Believers." But pictures do not do this guitar, or its justice...you just have to see this one for yourself. On the back of the headstock, you’ll find another unexpected addition: a “Made in USA” stamp suggesting this beauty was initially made for overseas sale. And, on that note, feel and hear it as well—the Honduran mahogany is well balanced and lightweight. Plus, that sound. These original PAF pickups hit the ultimate tonal sweet spot, and truly define what a humbucker should be all about. Believe it—this is vintage guitar perfection at its finest. Original hardshell case!


Quick Facts

  • Weight: 8lbs 8oz
  • Body: Honduran Mahogany
  • Neck: 1-Piece Honduran Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Brazilian Rosewood w/ 12” Radius and 1 1/16” Nut Width
  • Pickups: Dual PAF Humbuckers (rated at 8.3 kOhms in the neck, 8.5 k in the bridge)
  • Hardware: Original All-Nickel Components (Except for Tuner Tips)



1960 Fender Stratocaster 3-Tone Burst

1960 Fender Stratocaster

The Stratocaster was thought to have achieved pure design perfection by 1957, but this 1960 beauty proves it was all uphill from there during the twilight of the pre-CBS years. This instrument is instilled with plenty of the design elements that vintage enthusiasts consider the culmination of the Fender Stratocaster aesthetic from the late '50s, including classic body contours, clay dot inlays, a beautifully intact 3-tone finish and most noticeably, a slab Brazilian rosewood fretboard introduced the year prior. A pristine model-year instrument for the savvy collector.


Quick Facts

  • Weight: 9lbs 3oz
  • Body: Alder
  • Neck: Maple w/ medium "C" Profile
  • Fretboard: Rosewood w/ 7.25" Radius and Clay Dot Inlays
  • Pickups: Three Original Single-Coil 1959 Stratocaster Pickups



1961 Gibson ES-335

1961 Gibson ES-335

Our gorgeous 1961 Gibson ES-335 is a true survivor! The original "PAF" Humbucker pickups sound simply breathtaking, while the original frets and 60s neck profile play as well as the day it was made. This guitar earned it's stripes, with authentic checking and play-wear accentuating the body throughout. The ES-335 came on the scene as Gibson strived to find a middle ground between the solid-body Gibson Les Paul and it's feedback-prone hollow body guitar designs. This early-run ES-335 in Cherry is a true testament to their success, and a prized addition to the coveted vault collection here at Chicago Music Exchange!


Quick Facts

  • Weight: 8lbs 1oz
  • Body: Maple
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Rosewood w/ 12.00 Radius and 1-11/16" Nut Width"
  • Pickups: Original "PAF" Humbuckers


1963 Gibson Byrdland

1963 Gibson Byrdland

A thinline instrument with the warmth and response of a traditional archtop. A large-bodied guitar with a 23 1/2" short scale perfect for unusual chord voicing. From John McLaughlin’s jazz box to Ted Nugent faithful touring workhorse, the Gibson Byrdland is nothing short of an elusive animal, with a name conceived by Ted McCarty after he sought the opinions of Billy Byrd and Hank Garland. Our vintage experts managed to capture and exciting moment in time for the instrument—the 1963 model is one of the rarest incarnations of the Byrdland offered, and the one we’ve nabbed is in impeccable form. This beautiful Byrd touts tons of all-original features, including authentic electronics, PAF bridge pickup and Patent Number Sticker neck pickup, and much more. Check out the details below. Original hardshell case!


Quick Facts

  • Weight: 7lbs 9oz
  • Body:Maple Back and Sides
  • Neck: 3 Piece Maple w/ Medium “C” Profile
  • Fretboard: Ebony w/ 12” Radius, 1 5/8” wide nut and block inlays
  • Pickups: Dual Humbuckers (rated at 7.1k Ohms in the neck and 7.8k in the bridge)
  • Hardware: Original Gold



1964 Fender Stratocaster RW Candy Apple Red

1964 Fender Stratocaster

As the "Golden Era" of Fender came to a close, they crafted this stunning Candy Apple Red 1964 Fender Stratocaster. This well loved Strat comes with it's original body and neck, all original internals, and hand-dated pickups marked "12-11-64." The Fender custom-ordered Candy Apple Red finish bears the patina and wear earned only from a lifetime on the stage. This later "Pre-CBS" era Stratocaster is ready for it's next owner to add their own chapter to it's collective history.


Quick Facts

  • Weight: 7lbs 12oz
  • Body: Adler
  • Neck: Maple w/ "C" Profile
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Pickups: Original
  • Hardware: Original except high E Tuner



1965 Fender Jazz Bass Lake Placid Blue

1965 Fender Jazz Bass

As if the Jazz Bass were not a prolific enough addition to the Fender line in the early '60s, it was also the era of Lake Placid Blue's debut—and needless to say, the finish on this beauty has aged exceptionally gracefully with the wear of a lovingly used instrument! This Jazz Bass encapsulates an exceptionally pivotal moment in Fender history, fresh off the heels of the CBS buyout and right at the onset of the rock 'n' roll revolution. This particular Jazz Bass reflects many of the era's distinctive design changes—among them pearloid fretboard inlays and three-ply pickguard alongside a coveted matching head cap. Vintage bass enthusiasts take note—this is an exceptional and rare addition to any collection. Original hardshell case!


Quick Facts

  • Weight: 9lbs 3oz
  • Body: Alder
  • Neck: Maple w/ medium "C" Profile
  • Fretboard: Rosewood w/ 7.25" Radius and Dot Inlays
  • Pickups: Dual Original Jazz Bass Pickups w/ 1965 Pot Dates and Grey Bobbin w/ Chrome Pickup Cover



1968 Martin D-35 Natural

1968 Martin D-35

Lovingly referred to as "our Batman Martin," this 1968 Martin D-35 has been turning heads since it entered the shop. The unique pickguard appears to be custom ordered from the Martin Factory, and original to the guitar. Due to the scarcity of Brazilian Rosewood in the late 1960s, Martin created the D-35s signature 3-piece back to utilize their remaining stock. The stunning wood grain variations in the back and sides paired with the aged Spruce top produce a tone and chime you'll only find in Martin guitars of this vintage. While many D-35s possess a characteristic boom in the low end, this 1968 Martin D-35 has a uniquely balanced voice, making it the perfect instrument for flat-picked rhythm work or delicate hand picking. Grab this unique, one-of-a-kind masked avenger before it disappears from the Vault!


Quick Facts

  • Weight: 4lbs 14oz
  • Body: Spruce top w/ Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany w/ soft "V" Profile
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Hardware: Original



1968 Gretsch White Falcon

1968 Gretsch White Falcon

The White Falcon was originally created as a "showpiece" for the 1954 NAMM Show and billed as "The Guitar of The Future"—it was such a hit that Gretsch rushed the guitar into production and the guitar of the future became a reality in 1955. This rare 1968 model embodies the class of the original showpiece with later Gretsch updates like FilterTron pickups, Thumbnail inlays, and an original Floating Sound Unit (Aka. Tuning fork bridge)—original designed to add resonance and sustain. The electronics are all original and the FilterTron pickups are dripping with lush vintage tone and to add to the package the the guitar includes plenty of case candy. This is the guitar that helped define the sound of '60s Jazz and it’s a gorgeous addition to our amazing Vault Collection.


Quick Facts

  • Weight: 9lbs 10oz
  • Body: Fully Hollow Maple
  • Neck: 2-Piece Maple with Medium "C" Profile
  • Fretboard: Ebony with 7.25–10" Compound Radius and Thumbnail Inlays
  • Pickups: Original Dual Filter'Trons


1968 Martin D12-35

1968 Martin D12-35

A 12-string player’s dream. Vintage Martin acoustics are famous for their tone and this one has it in spades. The Brazilian Rosewood body gives this acoustic the ability to sing out loud whether you're strumming or fingerpicking. The "D" shaped neck is very comfortable to play and the low action makes this D12-35 play just as easily as it’s 6-string counterpart. This Martin is truly a joy to play and a real treat for the ears.


Quick Facts

  • Weight: 5lbs 1oz
  • Body: Spruce Top w/ Brazillian Rosewood Back and Sides
  • Neck: Mahogany w/ "D" Profile
  • Fretboard: Ebony with 16" Radius and Dot Inlays
  • Pickups: Original


1969 Gibson Crest Gold Natural

1969 Gibson Crest

One of the rarest birds to land in our possession: our 1969 Gibson Crest Gold Natural is one of only 162 ever built! This thinline electric made a brief appearance in the Gibson lineup from 1969 through 1972. The Mini Humbuckers ring out loud and true, lending a unique flavor to the fully-hollow Brazilian Rosewood laminate body. With intricate binding everywhere from the headstock to the rosewood pickguard, stylish gold hardware, and a perfectly aged patina, this Gibson Crest Gold will be the hallmark of your vintage guitar collection!  


Quick Facts

  • Weight: 6lbs 7oz
  • Body: Laminate Brazillian Rosewood
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Rosewood with 12.00 Radius and 1-11/16" Nut Width"
  • Pickups: Replaced Neck Pickup, Original Bridge Pickup


1972 Gibson EDS-1275

1972 Gibson EDS-1275

In the late 60s, these were special order only guitars. By most books, they stopped producing them between 1967 and 1977, but this guitar was clearly made in the late 60s and assembled in the early 70s. While many EDS-1275's tend to be neck heavy this guitar is well balanced and light and sits comfortably with a strap. This particular guitar has a lower tailpiece position as seen on the iconic Jimmy Page doubleneck, making this a very rare find.


Quick Facts

  • Weight: 11lbs 2oz
  • Body: Two-piece Mahogany
  • Neck: One-piece Mahogany w/ medium/large "C" profile
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Hardware: Original


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