A Visit to Chicago Music Exchange

Room full of guitars at the Chicago Music Exchange

Now that my first quarter at ICO has come to a close, I’ve been able to partake in some much-needed me time as well as reflect on the various things I did in the past couple months. Back during our break for Academy, I decided to go on a little adventure. As a lover of all things music-related, I looked into what kind of stores were in the area that sold musical equipment. The one place I found online that caught my attention was the Chicago Music Exchange. I decided to investigate.

Chicago Music Exchange is up in Roscoe Village, which is in the northern park of the city. It’s a little bit of a trek if you take the bus or the train, so we all just Ubered up there. I was under the impression they only sold guitars by the pictures I saw online, but they had percussion equipment and basses, as well. While I’ve dabbled in many instruments, guitar is my main thing; I apologize in advance for not going into as much depth with some of the other products available. 

There are A LOT of guitars in this store to mess around with. I was a little overwhelmed at first. In addition to electric guitars, Chicago Music Exchange has a room filled with a bunch of acoustics, too. I had a lot of fun trying the many wares. They also had a good amount of amps, pedals, and effects on display with accessories like strings, straps, etc. My only gripe was, while they had a large quantity of guitars, there wasn’t too much variety. It was pretty much all Gibson, Fender, and Gretsch, from what I observed, with small amounts of other brands thrown in. If you’re a fan of those makes, you’ll be in heaven. However, if you’re into newer brands, like me, you might feel a little left out. Still, I definitely enjoyed experimenting.

Now, if you’re a drummer or a bassist, they’ve got you covered in those departments, too. The “bassment,” as they call it (hehe,) is the lower level of the store where they have a decent amount of 4-strings to browse through. The area next door is where they keep all of the drumming equipment. While both of these departments are not nearly as extensive as the guitars, they are definitely worth going through. The staff there were all generally pretty friendly, so I’m sure they’d be willing to help you find whatever it is you’re looking for. They even have a website you can order from if you don’t find what you want in the store.

Overall, Chicago Music Exchange had a pretty interesting vibe. From the outside, it all looks relatively modern, but when you go inside it has a very different feel. Everything seems kind of elegant and classy with some of their ornate chandeliers and rugs, but laid back at the same time with all the big couches. I’ll concede that some of their stuff was overpriced, in my opinion. However, it is one of the more unique music stores I’ve been to and, without a doubt, worth visiting if you’re a musician.

Although optometry school is pretty stressful, it’s great being in Chicago because there are so many unique things you can find to help relieve that stress. For me, it’s music. If the same goes for you, get over there, rock out, and melt some faces. 🤘

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