Chapman Guitars ML3 Trad. Semi-Hollow VHB

Electric Guitar

  • Build: Semi-hollow body
  • Body: Mahogany (Lophopetalum Javanicum)
  • Flamed maple veneer on carved top with traditional f-holes
  • Neck-thru-body made of roasted maple
  • Roasted maple fretboard
  • Neck profile: C
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • Radius: 350 mm
  • 22 Jumbo stainless steel frets
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Pickups: 2 Chapman P-90 single coils
  • Toggle switch
  • 1 Volume knob and 1 tone knob
  • Chapman hardtail bridge
  • Hipshot Grip-Lock open machine heads
  • Weight: approx. 3 kg
  • Colour: Vintage Honey Burst
  • Case included

Further Information

Colour Sunburst
Pickups P90, P90
Fretboard Maple
Tremolo None
Body Mahogany
Top Maple
Neck Maple
Frets 22
Scale 648 mm
Incl. Case Yes

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5 / 5.0
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2 written ratings Read all reviews
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Instant Inspiration!
himura84, 08.04.2019
For me it all started with buying a ML3 BEA model last year and being very surprised at the quality of the instrument, as well as all the specs included for the price... I actually went all the way from Switzerland to Thomann in Germany and it was a very nice surprise.

Then, the Chapman voting poll for the semi-hollow body guitars came out. I basically voted for things that I didn't have on other guitars and really appealed to me--- P90 pickups and Honey Burst color (aside from being a semi-hollow body).

Best surprise was that the most voted model was EXACTLY the one I wanted!

Now for the review:

First off, you can tell that the guitar is good quality and very stable when it is shipped to you through the snow and arrives perfectly in tune. Extra brownie points here.

Highlights:
- Neck - Perfect merge between the things I like the most from Fender and Gibson necks with some modern twists... T type headstock with gloss finish, maple fretboard a bit wider than usual (similar to Gibson HP models), very comfortable non-thick C shape with Fender-esque satin finish. Also, rolled edges in a flatter radiused fingerboard really make a positive difference in playability without losing it's traditional vibe.
- Tuners - Hipshot locking tuners are most likely the best locking tuners I ever tried... Schaller, Fender, Grover, you name it.
- Body - Although we have mahogany with a maple cap, guitar is very light due to the hollow body. I love the added resonance while keeping the frequencies of the tone woods I usually like. Carved top, super easy access to the higher frets, belly cut and Schaller straplocks. Perfectly finished, no flaws whatsoever.
- Fretwork - FLAWLESS. No sharp fret ends, very well rounded. Frets are tall, but not as tall as an ESP/LTD... it really adds to the playability without being overkill. Very well leveled and polished, vway above average on guitars of this price point. You notice a bit of a difference in the sound due to the frets being stainless steel, but actually in a good way.
- Brass saddles - Really adds to the sound, same way as in a 52 Tele.
- Fret side markers - Even when compared with the BEA model, these ones are a bit better. As the neck is maple, you can see the glow-in-the-dark dots better because you can see the black contour. On the BEA model the fretboard is ebony, so you notice them less.
- Knobs - Maybe this is not important for many people, but I love the Knurled knobs that came with Gibson guitars in 2016 models... and haven't been able to find good ones since then... until I got this guitar.
- Electronics - I haven't opened the cavity yet, but everything feels solid and very responsive. 3-way switch still feels stiff from being new, it's very sturdy and feels durable.
- Pickups - What a mesh of goodness you can get on these pickups. On one end, you can get that sweet clean/crunchy vintage tone you would expect from P90s... spanky on the bridge and velvety on the neck position. On the other hand, they are way more responsive to gain than a normal P90 (maybe due to the Alnico 5 magnets inside). You can still go for high gain almost without hum (just a bit of hair, as you would call it)... loads of rock/punk tones for rhythm and lead.

(of course, in extreme situations you will have hum!)

Pickup tone and output are very responsive to changes on the volume pot, so there are a lot of in-between tones you can get just by slowly turning the volume around.

For me, this guitar is instant inspiration and maybe the furthest away possible from being a one-trick pony. Very comfortable and versatile, with great tonal range and a huge array of upgrades that will make any guitars of this price point pale in comparison.


To be improved (suggestions, not defects):
- This is a minor detail, but I think it is fair to mention that the saddles height screws pop up from the saddles when the action is low, resulting in the old problem when palm muting. To be completely fair, the screw ends are not really sharp so it is not a big issue... actually this only happens because the guitar is so well built that you can go really low on the action and end up having the screws popping up because of that :) Nothing that can't be fixed either with new screws or by shaving a couple millimeters from the screw's lower ends.
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$933 €831.09
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