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Best Musical Instrument Store 

Chicago Music Store

Readers Pick

The Chicago Store may seem all balled up, but a banner high on the wall promises, "We know where everything is." This downtown tradition has everything from handy African djembe drums to massive mariachi guitarróns, stage lighting and amplifiers, from practice to stadium-sized. Another sign encourages customers to make an offer on anything. Anything here could include a French horn, a Fender Stratocaster, a violin, a Roland keyboard or a toy recorder. The Chicago Store is a veritable gold mine of obsolete technologies on their way to becoming collectibles, if they aren't buried by the store's geologically based inventory system. Serving every musical style from blues to tejano, hip hop to hoedown, the Chicago Store is to musicians what Kent's Tools is to mechanics: beyond comprehensive and full of surprises.

Runners up:

2. Rainbow Guitars, 2550 N. Campbell Ave., 325-3376
3. Folk Shop, 2525 N. Campbell Ave., 881-7147

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