Chicago Music Exchange

chilldude

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 15, 2009
Posts
202
Location
SE WI
A co-worker and I went downtown yesterday for a trade show and took the opportunity to visit CME afterward.
I have to say, this is the most pleasant experience I've ever had in a music store of any kind. Friendly, knowlegeable people, clean, in tune guitars. We were told to play anything we'd like, just ask for help if it's on the upper rack and they'd grab a ladder to get it.
I played guitars I could never have found anywhere else, and could probably never afford.
Martin 000-28 EC, Gibson J-200, Godin 5th Ave, and many more.
I fully expected their prices to be out of line, but found that they were actually right in line for all the new and used and vintage instruments.
Whatever I purchase next, I'm gonna buy it there. I've seen too many crusty, badly set up guitars at GC to have any reason to return. It's well worth the effort to go out of your way to get to CME.
After so much drooling, we had to leave, as I was close to making bad decisions or just plain embarresing myself.

I'll post some pics later.

(I'm still shakin'!)
 

dman

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Sep 28, 2008
Posts
1,654
Location
Antioch, IL
I've been there several times....the place is like a museum of guitars! The first time I went one of their staff approached me and asked if I needed help. I told him I was just looking and he told me to play anything I'd like. I then told him "No, seriously....I can't buy anything." He just smiled and said " That's fine, I understand....just play anything you feel like. That's why there here."

There's a lot of very good smaller stores, but on sheer magnitude, coupled with a friendly staff, CME is hard to beat. Chilldude, if you get up to Lacrosse, you need to check out Dave's....that place is equally impressive.
 

stratomite

Tele-Meister
Joined
Oct 10, 2007
Posts
291
Location
K.C.O.P.
Also been there once and got to play a Trussart Steelcaster. Not many places have those in stock.

Great place to hang out and just take it all in.

I will return.
 

Toto'sDad

Tele Axpert
Ad Free Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2011
Posts
56,618
Location
Bakersfield
A co-worker and I went downtown yesterday for a trade show and took the opportunity to visit CME afterward.
I have to say, this is the most pleasant experience I've ever had in a music store of any kind. Friendly, knowlegeable people, clean, in tune guitars. We were told to play anything we'd like, just ask for help if it's on the upper rack and they'd grab a ladder to get it.
I played guitars I could never have found anywhere else, and could probably never afford.
Martin 000-28 EC, Gibson J-200, Godin 5th Ave, and many more.
I fully expected their prices to be out of line, but found that they were actually right in line for all the new and used and vintage instruments.
Whatever I purchase next, I'm gonna buy it there. I've seen too many crusty, badly set up guitars at GC to have any reason to return. It's well worth the effort to go out of your way to get to CME.
After so much drooling, we had to leave, as I was close to making bad decisions or just plain embarresing myself.

I'll post some pics later.

(I'm still shakin'!)

Cool to get to hold and play guitars of the caliber that you did. My son has a J-200 he has had a long time. When it was over 12 years old it suddenly "opened up" like I've never heard a guitar do before. It is the loudest fullest sounding acoustic guitar I've ever played. He now has my old D-28 Marquis too, what a pair of boxes!
 

Big_Bend

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Feb 19, 2010
Posts
7,390
Age
58
Location
Houston, TX
Chicago Music Exchange and Gruhn Guitars in Nashville - THE 2 best guitars stores on the planet, bar none.

I've only been to each store once, but would love to spend days there playing all those wonderful guitars. Every serious guitarist needs to visit both of these guitar mecas during their lifetime.

fun stuff....
 

kromanomo

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Dec 13, 2011
Posts
1,297
Location
Brooklyn, NYC
That acoustic room is amazing! And that wall of Teles and Strats - I was speechless. Ooh and the wall of Les Pauls. OMG!
 

BartS

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Feb 18, 2013
Posts
3,047
Location
St. louis MO
We use to have a place like that around here called st charles guitar exchange.
Except the guitars wern't clean, intune, and no one that worked there was freindly.

Believe it or not it was still an awesome place. People stlii talk about it and it was been closed for like 12 or 15 years
 

kromanomo

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Dec 13, 2011
Posts
1,297
Location
Brooklyn, NYC
But...

Can they beat GC's prices?

So much of what they have I guarantee you will never find at GC. They do have new gear and they will price match. But to me that store is not about a guitar you can walk in and buy at most Guitar Centers. Maybe the vintage rooms in LA and Manhattan.

I've never seen so many Custom Shops and high end vintage instruments in one place. I mean there is a wall of maybe 60 vintage Les Pauls. More vintage Teles and Strats than I care to guess at. That said, there is nothing cheap about that place. I think its a regular pit stop for touring musicians. The guy working there told me they even have additional "special" guitars that no one sees - my guess is that unless you are a pro or can show an American Express black card - you never will. I can't imagine guitars much more special than their "regular" stock. My friend that lives in Chicago has seen Tom Petty there twice and several Chicago blues legends.

I walked out with a strap and a T-shirt. Unless I win the lottery, likely my only purchase ever.
 

Bill Jones

Tele-Meister
Joined
Feb 21, 2008
Posts
103
Location
ChiTown
Huge huge amounts of guitars and prices to match. Used to live a block away from the joint in the middle of Yuppieville.

Been around at this location for about !0 years or so.
 

howlin

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Aug 19, 2007
Posts
1,416
Location
Who wants to know?
Three years ago I went there looking for an acoustic guitar and walked out and swore that I'd never go back. This past August I was in town and got the inside story on the place and found out that it had been bought and was encouraged to go back. Night & day experience. Definitely worth the visit. Check it out if you ever get the chance.
 




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