Chicago Music Exchange – Epic Guitar Store Tour

If you’re a guitar enthusiast who’s been following things online for awhile, you’ve probably come across the Chicago Music Exchange before. Their contests, videos, and stories usually pop up several times a year. If you get to see glimpses of the showroom and don’t live in the area, you probably just get jealous like I do.  Now you can get a more in-depth look at the store thanks to this video tour that Premier Guitar put together.

From the video:

Shawn Hammond: Hey guys I’m Shawn Hammond with We’re here in Chicago at Chicago Music Exchange. David Kalt. David, you’re the owner of Chicago Music Exchange right? You bought it like five years ago. Tell us a little about the history of it.

David Kalt: Chicago Music Exchange was started in 1990 by Scott Silver and Scott was just crazy for vintage guitars. He’d been buying guitars for a long long time and he was very very on the hunt for vintage everywhere. He built the store around four blocks from here on Clark Street. Over the years I bought a bunch of guitars from him and he became very iconic in the vintage world as one of the pioneers in vintage. He big vision and when he built this store that we’re in right now in 2007 he had a real big vision for a lot of quality inventory all under one roof. Large ceiling, chandeliers, couches, and really making it comfortable for the musician when they are shopping for gear. Really taking you outside of what you’d expect of a guitar store. When I bought the shop from Scott in 2010 I really wanted to build on that experience, really take that wow experience, and always make sure that customers could always come and try gear that they are not going to be able to find locally. And then be able to supplement that with lots of more affordable inventory in the used market as well as new inventory from all the top brands like Gibson, Fender, Rickenbacher, Martin, Taylor, etc.

We look at our store as a flagship destination. So a lot of people travel through Chicago, a lot of bands travel through Chicago, a lot of tourists travel through Chicago. So we want to build a relationship with you when you’re in town but we’re happy to service you when you are back at home. And that’s why we spend a lot of time on our online channel, on our video, our website, as well on selling on Amazon, eBay, and Reverb. We really want you to find the gear where you want to buy it. We just want to be able to service you wherever you are most comfortable buying. Whether it’s in your bathrobe or in our showroom.

Ray Benson Signature Guitar Giveaway

Premier-Guitar-GiveawayPremier Guitar is hosting a guitar giveaway in which you can win a Ray Benson Signature T486-RB from Eastman Guitars.

Prize: Ray Benson Signature T486-RB from Eastman Guitars

Contest Ends: March 23, 2015

Open To: All territories except where prohibited

How To Enter: Fill out the Survey

Beginner Strumming Exercises by Peter Vogl

Beginning guitarists often struggle with playing different strum patterns and keeping them in time. In our new practice session, Peter Vogl will show you some rhythm changing drills for strumming that will help you improve. These drills will move between different sub-divisions of the beat (quarter notes, eighths, sixteenths, triplets). These are the same type of changes in rhythm that you will encounter as you start learning more exotic strum patterns. Practice along with the video until you get the hang of things and then speed things up with the follow-up session.

Is Your Street Performance Breaking the Law?

Recently, a video was posted of a NYC subway busker getting arrested for apparently violating a law which would require a permit for a public performance. This video has since gone viral, and has stirred up a lot of controversy as to the rights of performers and entertainers.

After watching the initial video, as well as a subsequent interview, I have mixed emotions on the event.

If the street performer, Andrew Kalleen, was previously aware that controversy and confusion surrounded busking laws, he could have easily cleared his performance with authorities prior to taking the “stage.” The fact that he did not do so, and an issue with a police officer ensued, could be argued that Kalleen was baiting the police for the sole purpose of media exposure. Whether or not that was the case, it worked.

There are many instances where people may be detained by the police, but are not charged and are ultimately released. As there was an issue regarding the legal code, the arresting officer may or may not have followed protocol in arresting the performer. Is it unfortunate? Yes. However, if Kalleen had obeyed the officer in the first place, he could have filed a complaint later, contacted the media then, and avoided the entire incident. Granted, the event does make for a better story.

Opinions aside, if you’re going to perform in public, you need to know your rights and make sure that others are aware of those rights. Never assume, especially when it comes to higher authorities.

If you live in these cities, Guitar World has some information on busking laws:

• London’s Underground? They have a limited number of licenses and require auditions, which are held once each year.
• New York? Unamplified busking is allowed almost everywhere in the city, except within 50 feet of monuments. Performing on a subway platform is protected by the First Amendment, but not if you step onto a train.
• Chicago requires a permit for every single public performance, and there are designated hours and “noise” limitations.
• Boston requires an audition, a criminal background check and liability insurance in order to play in some parts of the city.

In my own city of Atlanta, as long as it’s not amplified, it’s fairly lenient. One must be careful though, to not use aggressive tactics to obtain money, as that would constitute commercial solicitation (which is a gray area for the legality of busking).

Have you ever been a street performer? What is your experience?