Chapman Guitars

#1
Hi,
Has anyone on this board ever owned or played a Chapman guitar? I am an avid follower of Rob's YouTube channel and find it highly entertaining and informative about guitar and life in general.

In almost every video he plugs (not a criticism, i'd plug my own products too!) his guitar company Chapman guitars and everyone he meets professes them to be the second coming of the guitar world.

Do they really live up to the hype? Personally they seem a bit bland but ideal for a shredder. I just wondered what everyone's opinion was.

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Dj_host

Out To Lunch. Missing, presumed fed
#3
I have an ML-1 Hot Rod and it's easily top 3 in my collection. Superb guitar, with only (IMO) flaw. Personally, I would have preferred the fretboard edges to have been rolled (Charvel and EVH have ruined fretboard edges for me now), but it's a minor thing that I could easily get sorted if I was that bothered. Overall though, the fit and finishing (even though it's a natural finish guitar) is superb.

Quality piece of kit!

IMG_0335.jpg
 

Lone Star

Well-Known Member
#4
In their respective price categories they have definitely made a name for themselves but remember that there is a lot of action from £350-850 which is CG's price band (roughly).

You should make an effort to try one out in a shop if you can. Only you can answer your question properly.
 

A-D-L

Northern Monkey
#5
I have an ML-2. It's pretty good. If feels really nice, the pickups are ok. For the price i'm quite impressed.

If they're near you they're worth checking out.
 
#6
A lot of us own or have owned Chapman guitars - I have three of them (ML-2, Ghost Fret and MLB-1). They are decent guitars, and generally hold their own in their price bracket. They aren't the best guitars in the world but they are far from the worst. If that's your budget, they are certainly worth a look; if you have a higher budget, you'll probably look elsewhere.

OTOH there is generally a lot of hype about guitars. I own too many of them, and at the end of the day a guitar is a guitar, and the differences are often quite minor, and largely cosmetic. As long as it feels good to play (which is largely about the neck), is structurally sound and the electronics work, it's a decent guitar - anything else is a bonus, or can probably be changed if you don't like it (pickups, tuners...).

By this, I don't mean that you can play any old cheap, no-brand guitar, and my favourite guitar is a rather expensive PRS. However, I'm the first to admit that the differences between my expensive, US-made PRS and the Korean-made SEs, which are about 1/6 of the price, are relatively small. What I do mean is that you can already get a really decent guitar for a couple of hundred pounds, even new, and anything above that is (a) jam, and (b) obeys the law of diminishing returns (i.e. the more you pay, the smaller are the increases in quality).

So.....yes, Chapman Guitars are decent. But so are many, many other guitars in that price range, and it comes down to personal taste, and quite a large part of that is purely cosmetic.
 

doctorpaul

Negative, Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.
Staff member
#7
I'll play.
Of all of my guitars (and I've got lots), only two are not what most would call 'premium' brands ... the rest are mostly either luthier builds, custom shop or USA made. One of the 'other' two is a Chinese ML1, which used to belong to our Mr Chapman. I'm happy to say that it is a great guitar, and holds its own against some quite posh guitars.
I'm proud to own it, and love playing it.
 

digitalscream

Well-Known Member
#8
I've never owned one - I played a few of the boat anchors...err...original ML-1s...at Monkeyfest back in the day, but ultimately fell in love with the guitars Jaden was making and went down that road instead. The ML-1s of the time really didn't float my boat; too heavy, and the neck joint was too chunky for someone with short, stumpy fingers like mine.

I did play one of the first run of ML-2s (the one Rob sent off to Guitarist for a review, in fact), and I have to say it felt excellent, and sounded pretty good too. There's no shame in the fact that it didn't feel as good as the guitars I had at the time - Washburn N4 and Jaden Rose Series 2 - but it was certainly better than its price point.
 

everfreetree

I... I like trees.
#9
To start, in my opinion, NOTHING lives up to "hype". That is just how "hype" works.
It can be good, or bad, but the "hype level" isn't likely to make it any better or worse for you personally.

I don't shred.
I'm not sure I have any idea how to shred, and the last time I tried, I made one of my friends laugh so hard that he fell over (a fair reaction, I broke a string in the process and it wasn't even my guitar...).

I play miserable blues, some terrible rock, and a bit of down-tuned ridiculous stuff for kicks (Disturbed, Shinedown, etc).

I previously bought a... $400 or so Epiphone SG that was supposed to be great, and ended up hating it so much that I sold it back to the shop, at a loss of like $110 (yes... ouch), and went back to playing my $80 (used) Epiphone SG Special for a good while.
With any brand, either the guitars resonate with you, or they don't. They aren't magic, and if you go in expecting witchcraft, you're likely to be disappointed (although, some find exactly what they expect).

I bought a Chapman because I was interested in them, everything resonated well with me, the looks, etc were all to my liking, I had a Seymour Duncan Pegasus I wanted to slap in a guitar, and Rob and company toured the US, showing off the guitars, so I got the chance to actually play one (I recommend doing so). The quality for the price, IS genuinely good, and the general fit and finish was surprisingly great (to me), BUT when it comes to playing the thing, as with any guitar, the setup of the instrument will matter more to you personally, so picking a retailer that does a good setup is important (Riff City Guitar helped me when I wasn't happy with my setup initially, and actually paid someone where I live to set it up for me again). Mine needed work (as... every other guitar I've ever touched did), but after the setup, I modified it to my needs and it's fantastic now (see the links in my signature for pictures).

All I can say is, if they seem "bland" to you... you probably don't like the looks and such already, so unless you play one and decide the playability and tone are to your liking, there's probably no point in getting one.
If you don't like it... there isn't some kind of witchcraft that occurs to make you like it after you buy it.
Simple as that, really.
 

Dj_host

Out To Lunch. Missing, presumed fed
#10
To start, in my opinion, NOTHING lives up to "hype". That is just how "hype" works.
It can be good, or bad, but the "hype level" isn't likely to make it any better or worse for you personally.

I don't shred.
I'm not sure I have any idea how to shred, and the last time I tried, I made one of my friends laugh so hard that he fell over (a fair reaction, I broke a string in the process and it wasn't even my guitar...).

I play miserable blues, some terrible rock, and a bit of down-tuned ridiculous stuff for kicks (Disturbed, Shinedown, etc).

I previously bought a... $400 or so Epiphone SG that was supposed to be great, and ended up hating it so much that I sold it back to the shop, at a loss of like $110 (yes... ouch), and went back to playing my $80 (used) Epiphone SG Special for a good while.
With any brand, either the guitars resonate with you, or they don't. They aren't magic, and if you go in expecting witchcraft, you're likely to be disappointed (although, some find exactly what they expect).

I bought a Chapman because I was interested in them, everything resonated well with me, the looks, etc were all to my liking, I had a Seymour Duncan Pegasus I wanted to slap in a guitar, and Rob and company toured the US, showing off the guitars, so I got the chance to actually play one (I recommend doing so). The quality for the price, IS genuinely good, and the general fit and finish was surprisingly great (to me), BUT when it comes to playing the thing, as with any guitar, the setup of the instrument will matter more to you personally, so picking a retailer that does a good setup is important (Riff City Guitar helped me when I wasn't happy with my setup initially, and actually paid someone where I live to set it up for me again). Mine needed work (as... every other guitar I've ever touched did), but after the setup, I modified it to my needs and it's fantastic now (see the links in my signature for pictures).

All I can say is, if they seem "bland" to you... you probably don't like the looks and such already, so unless you play one and decide the playability and tone are to your liking, there's probably no point in getting one.
If you don't like it... there isn't some kind of witchcraft that occurs to make you like it after you buy it.
Simple as that, really.
Only things I shred are Chicken, Pork and Beef. Sometimes Duck...
 
#13
I'll play.
Of all of my guitars (and I've got lots), only two are not what most would call 'premium' brands ... the rest are mostly either luthier builds, custom shop or USA made. One of the 'other' two is a Chinese ML-1, which used to belong to our Mr Chapman. I'm happy to say that it is a great guitar, and holds its own against some quite posh guitars.
I'm proud to own it, and love playing it.
You still have Myth? I thought it passed as one of the first ones.
 

SemiCullen

Still haven't got the hang of Thursdays
#15
I mentioned to a friend recently that if we were only allowed to own guitars commensurate with our ability to play them, I would probably only be able to own Squier Bullets and the like (if that). But, since I can buy what I want to regardless of how much I abuse them, I have some pretty nice guitars. I got a Ghost Fret last month and it feels more ... I don't know ... personal, I guess, than any of the others. I think it has to do with seeing Rob on YouTube and feeling a sense of community that way (even though I'm just now joining the forum).

That said, my only complaint with the guitar itself is that the neck is thinner than I like. That's a personal thing, though and I completely get how a lot of folks like this profile. I mean, when I was younger, I probably would have liked it more, I've just come to like a bit of a chunkier neck over time.
 
#16
Nice to hear some personal opinions about the guitars and not only what is seen in all video's.. Believing the video's only can easily fool you to believe what you see and hear normally costs twice as much.. and this is the hard part if the believed impression isn't the same as what you really get when you pick the guitar out of the case, not having had the luxury to try one out b4 purchase.
I mostly don't want to read bad opinions before i try it myself and generally this is bad for the bank account.. so i went in here squinting my eyes..lol

My only need at this time is a good sounding "chunky" tone and a guitar that stays in tune and that is what i'm hoping for.. The shape of the guitar is essential

@SemiCullen: Have you played a Epiphone and original Gibson Explorer to give some insight in how the Ghostfret compares overall?
 

SemiCullen

Still haven't got the hang of Thursdays
#17
@BoomBatz I actually have not. However, one of the first guitars I ever played was an early 80s Hamer Standard (their version of the Explorer). That was about 30 years ago now, but the memory of it is how I rate every Explorer-style guitar I encounter.

The Hamer was hefty, with a beefy, but playable neck. The Ghost Fret, by comparison, is much lighter than I imagined it would be and, again, it has a very thin neck. Think Ibanez Wizard or Jackson Soloist, it's a thin neck. It is very resonant, has tons of sustain and is a joy to play. Just, personally, I like a bit more chunk to my neck.
 
#18
Thanks.. i dont know about the Hamer but i guess most X type guitars back in the days had similar mass.. i had an Aria Pro II Xplorer that sadly got stolen but i remembered it was heavy as sh*t with a nice beefy tone.
Would you say the Strat is similar in neckprofile?
 

ShredRex5150

Well-Known Member
#19
I am a little late to the game here....but I have 3 Chapman guitars now and absolutely love them. They are my main guitars now. I went from Ibanez to charvel and now Chapman. I don't know how they aren't more popular honestly.
 
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