Chicago Music Exchange

I will be in Chicago from Sunday for a few days and plan to swing by the Chicago Music Exchange

I hope to be able to test-play a few of those basses I likely will never be able to afford - just to see what the big fuzz is all about with these higher end basses…

They have Alembics, Foderas, Sandbergs, Mayones’ and the high end Fenders and Yamahas, of course. And more… :grin:

So, sorry, no question here… just wanted to share (as I look very much forward to it) :smile:


Sounds awesome. I’m familiar with that store. You might want to leave your wallet in the hotel… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Good luck and be safe on your trip, @joergkutter . . . :slight_smile:

See if you can try out a Gibson Thunderbird for me! :wink:

All best, Joe


Thanks, @Jazzbass19!

I thought you had one already!?! In any case, it doesn’t look like they have one in-store at the moment…


Ha-ha . . . no , it’s an SG . . . :slight_smile:

You could try out an Alembic Spyder if they have one, though . . .:wink:


Ah, sorry, my bad :laughing:

No Spyder either… but a Mark King Deluxe 5 for around 15000 dollars :joy:

Their website tells you what they have and don’t have at the moment… apparently, at the moment, they have about 250 basses on site - should be interesting!


I bet they have a nice ESP 6 string to try


Hehe, that would be neat… but, no, I guess not… I could only find a 4-string ESP Stream…

They seem to have some Warwicks, though :grin:


Oh I am sure they do!

You might like a nice Thumb :slight_smile:


Yeah, well… uhm, nice basses… dirt cheap as well :crazy_face:


I was born and raised in Chicago, but left in 1979, which was 16 years prior to Chicago Music Exchange opening. It looks like an awesome place. Enjoy!


Looking forward to the report, sir!


Awesome! Please report back! I just hope you don’t bring your “friend” who’s always talking you into gear purchases…



Luckily, I think even my “friend” is sensible enough not to want to haul a new bass back across the big pond… especially not a Can’t-Really-Afford-That-Bass™ bass…

Of course, CME are more than willing to ship it for an additional 150 bucks or so!

Still, a couple of packs of strings might end up in my basket in any case :grin:

Or, maybe… one of them “freeze” pedals for holding notes/chords… anyone has any good input on these?? Thx!


So here is my report back from my visit at CME:

It’s a great store, with a large guitar department on the ground floor, and a smaller, but still impressive, bass department in the basement (yeah, they call it the bassment). The staff was very friendly and told me to just knock myself out and test as many of the basses as I wanted. They had two test booths with different amps, but also a test station with headphones in the main room.

In the end, I played the following 6 basses (if interested, you should be able to find pictures for these on the CME webpage):

  • Mayones Jabba Hadrien Feraud PJ4, about USD 3500
  • Ibanez BTB20TH6, about USD 1500
  • Fodera Viceroy Deluxe 4, about USD 9000
  • Ibanez AFR5WAP, about USD 1700
  • Sandberg California TT, about USD 1700
  • Fender American Elite Precision (with PJ config), about USD 1800

(sorry, no Warwick, Howard!)

I played them through an Aguilar Tone Hammer 350 with a SL115 cab.

Please take all these coming comments with a grain of salt - they are my personal and very subjective impressions after non-exhaustive testing and considering my limited (15 month) experience playing bass:

The biggest disappointment for me was the Fodera. I am sure it is a great bass, but did’t really do it for me, and I certainly couldn’t see why it should cost more than double what the Mayones costs, and pretty much 5 times more than most of the others I tried.

The Ibanez AFR5WAP has a unique body, which got me interested, but playing it didn’t quite match the optical impression. The Sandberg was good, but I had somehow hoped for more there. The Fender surprised me, really nice, solid bass and I liked the PJ configuration. The Ibanez BTB20TH6, I played more out of curiosity, as it was a 6-string, and, boy, that takes a bit of getting used to. And… I really need to work seriously on my muting skills!

But, the bass that really blew me away from the first sound, and also the bass I was most interested in testing, was the Mayones. What an awesome bass: low action, fast neck with satin finish, great tone (lots of oomph), PJ configuration, light in weight. I guess this was my first experience with a seriously well built (and more expensive) bass and one that was set up with such low action, but it felt and sounded awesome.

I am officially in love and need to start saving up (and/or selling and cancelling outstanding orders, haha :joy:)


Wow what a collection!

I was impressed with the MIJ Fender J Bass I played as well. A bit heaver than I wanted but a solid bass with great tone. If I were looking for a Fender though, I would be more interested in a P/J P-Bass like you tried.


Thanks for the great report, @joergkutter . . . :+1:

Glad you made it back safely, too!

Cheers, Joe :slight_smile:


+1 on what @Jazzbass19 Joe said…


Thanks, @Jazzbass19, but I am still in Chicago… I just got here, and I didn’t come for just the basses :grin: I have to do some work as well, I am afraid :unamused:


Thanks for the report!! Awesome experience.