Chapman Guitars
Buyer's Guide

Chapman Guitars have grown from humble UK beginnings to become a force to be reckoned with in the guitar world. With over 30 models to choose from, you may find yourself presented with a difficult question: what is the best Chapman guitar for me?

In this guide, we'll explore the ins and outs of the Chapman guitar range, plus a few recommendations for your style and price point - check it out!

Chapman Guitars Buyer's Guide - Andertons Music Co.

Introduction

The Chapman range has grown from a handful of instruments to an all-encompassing line-up that's popular worldwide. Models range from affordable T-types to stunning signature baritone models - they're not afraid to push the boat out. So what's the best Chapman guitar for you? In this guide, we'll explore what's on offer, starting with the main ranges and going into more detail about style, budget and much more. Read on...

Where it all began; the ML1 was the very first Chapman design. The S-type was designed in collaboration with Chapman fans and followers around the world. It comes in a number of different configurations to suit every style price point. The ML1 Standard is among the most affordable in the Chapman range, while the Pro line-up offers more premium specs and ultra-smooth playability. 

There are 4 main ML1 configurations: 

  • ML1 Modern - dual humbuckers and an ebony fretboard for a precise yet hefty response
  • ML1 Traditional - three singlecoils, a 5-way switch and a maple fretboard for twang and versatility aplenty
  • Baritone - available across both the Standard and Pro ranges, with dual humbuckers and a 28" scale length
  • 7-string - a version of the ML1 Pro Modern with 7 strings
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The second guitar in the Chapman bloodline, the single-cut ML2 was also designed via a collaborative design vote process. The ML2 is a wholly contemporary interpretation of something iconic. Sleek curves, alluring finishes and weighty tone are the key components at play. The aim is to strike the perfect balance between old-school and modern. Mahogany body, maple neck, double humbucker configuration - ready to rock.

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The ML3 is a T-style design that fuses classic aesthetics with precise, modern performance. It's among the most popular Chapman guitars, with a number of configurations revolving around the tried and tested T body shape:

  • ML3 Traditional - 22 frets with double single-coil pickups for awesome twangy tones
  • ML3 Modern - 24 frets, dual Chapman humbuckers for a weighty, contemporary sound with heaps of sustain
  • Baritone - Rabea Massaad signature models in both the Standard and Pro ranges
  • Semi-hollow - initially a limited run, these humbucker/P90-armed models proved a huge hit
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The Ghost Fret boasts an ominous zigzag design, with lethal edges and a striking headstock shape - laden with attitude. It began as Rob Chapman's own signature model, but became a core model when it proved hugely popular among Chapman fans.

Some of the key elements of the Ghost Fret design include a mahogany string-through body, reveal binding, a rear contour for accessibility and a C-shape neck profile. With a whole host of finishes and technical variations, the Ghost Fret will give your chunky riffs and screaming leads a razor-sharp edge over the competition.

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For those among us who are tired of drop-tuning, Chapman also offer a few extra strings/scale length inches for deeper tones. 

The starting point of the Chapman extended-range offerings is the ML1 Modern Baritone; familiar size and playability, but with an extended scale-length and optimised pickups, both of which are designed to handle lower tunings.

There's also the ML3 BEA Baritone, an extended-range version of Rabea Massaad's signature model, as well as the hugely popular Rob Scallon ML1-8 RS; 8 strings and the Chapman Passive Aggressive humbucker deliver relentlessly crushing tones that have to be heard to be believed. 

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Chapman have an ever-growing roster of artists, with an impressive selection of specially-designed signature models to match.

Among their most popular signature model ranges, you've got Rabea's own line-up. The ML3 Bea can be found in both the Pro and Standard ranges, with baritone options, wild finishes, and even some Bare Knuckle-equipped beasts.

There's also the Rob Scallon ML1 range, with 6, 7 & 8-string variants. Unstoppable chugging tones that'll have you djenting to your heart's content! We hope to see more Chapman artist models in the future, so keep your eyes peeled...

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The Best Chapman Guitars for Metal

Chapman guitars are, in some ways, naturally inclined towards metal; Rob Chapman himself is a metaller. He's the frontman in Dorje, a progressive metal outfit featuring two other Chapman artists: Rabea Massaad and Dave Hollingworth. With this in mind, there's always going to be something for metalheads in the Chapman catalogue! 

  • ML1 Modern - chunky dual humbuckers and a no-nonsense mahogany/maple/ebony S-type design for savage tones and easy playability. 
  • Ghost Fret - boasting an eye-popping shape that's been brandished by countless metal bands over the years, the humbucker-wielding Ghost Fret is a no brainer. 
  • ML1 RS Rob Scallon models - Rob Scallon is known for his chunky djent-inspired tones. His signature models deliver all the chunk you'll need.

The Best Chapman Guitars for Blues

Next stop: Blues. We've all flirted with blues playing at some point in our guitar playing; many see blues as the foundation for the majority of contemporary music we listen to today. Sometimes, you just wanna plug in, crank it up, and fire out some SRV licks - which Chapman will you use?

  • ML2 Modern - a singlecut armed with humbuckers is a tried and tested blues formula. Don't mistake the ML2 for a metal machine - it's got more dynamic room than you might think.
  • ML3 Traditional - T-type twang and gorgeous aesthetics. The ash and maple combo gives you a barking midrange and sparkling clarity in the top end - scorching blues tones aplenty.
  • ML1 Traditional
  • - the triple single-coil configuration has always done well in a blues scenario. Hot, trebly tones in the bridge, the unmistakable spank of the neck position, and let's not forget those out-of-phase positions. Lush!

The Best Chapman Guitars for Funk

If you're a funk player, you'll likely want to strike the balance between versatility, playability, and crystal clear tone that slices through any mix. Let's see what Chapman has on offer:

  • ML1 Traditional Standard - again, the classic 5-way pickup switch offers the perfect funk tonal palette. For funk, positions 2 and 4 will bring the funk in spectacular fashion - from Cory Wong to Nile Rodgers.
  • ML1 Traditional Pro - The ML1 Traditional Pro is the same as the Standard, but with carefully-selected woods and a more ergonomic design. It's won numerous awards for its playability and modern tones - it must be doing something right!
  • ML3 Bea Baritone - Rabea Massaad is a professed funk fan. His playing has unmistakable Bettencourt-esque funk flavours - but a baritone for funk? Check out Mark Lettieri, the Fearless Flyers and Vulfpeck - that low string adds a whole new dimension of cool to your funk tunes.

The Best Chapman Guitars for Versatility

We're firm believers that every guitarist, somewhere deep down, wants the perfect all-rounder. Even the committed metalheads among us sometimes just want to lay down some Clapton licks. Here's a selection of versatile Chapman axes for your jamming pleasure.

  • ML3 Modern Standard - a mahogany, ebony and maple construction means a balanced tone, but the pickups are where the magic happens. Sonorous Zero humbuckers sound full-bodied, but the 3-way switch with coil tap gives you all the legroom you need.
  • ML1 Pro Traditional - we've already mentioned this guitar a few times, which says it all. The ML1 Pro Traditional is an award-winning guitar, hailed for its versatility and positive playability. 5-way switch, 3 single-coils, carved ash body, maple neck - sorted.
  • ML2 Pro Modern - as with the ML3, the ML2 Pro Modern offers more diversity than you might think. 3-way switch and coil-tap options open up access to all the tones you'll ever need. Everything from ripping lead tones to silky smooth cleans will allow you to fit right in to any playing situation.

The Best Chapman Guitars on a Budget

Catering for everyone's needs has always been at the centre of the Chapman ethos. That's why they offer a handful of budget-friendly models; they aren't the cheapest thing on the market, but they'll provide you with all of the things that put Chapman on the map without breaking the bank!

  • ML1 Modern Standard - for rock and metal tones, the ML1 Modern Standard is a pretty safe bet. A classic S-type guitar with that modern Chapman edge, you'll look and sound the part without busting the bank.
  • ML3 Traditional Standard - this T-style design without a scratchplate goes well with the gorgeous Gloss Honey finish. Looks aside, the classic 2 x singlecoil configuration and deep cutaway provides sparkling sounds and a thoroughly enjoyable playing experience - what's not to love?
  • Ghost Fret Standard - we couldn't resist featuring the Ghost Fret Standard. The Ghost Fret is one of the brand's most popular models. Totally lethal looks, chunky sound and a simple construction result in a striking & proficient instrument with playability that far outweighs its sub-£500 price point.
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