Chapman Guitars ML-1 Pro review

Premium (mahogany) rush

  • £649
  • €999
Under the Natural Walnut finish lurks a nicely-shaped mahogany body

MusicRadar Verdict

The ML-1 Pro's imaginative pickup selection and meticulous ride is proof that the Monkey Lord is not just content to ape the opposition.


  • +

    Great upper-fret access. Seymour Duncan pickups. Vibrato is very stable.


  • -

    Looks a little dowdy up close.

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With a trio of Seymour Duncan pickups and a walnut top, the ML-1 Pro is a classy piece of kit, kitting out one of the earliest Chapman designs with a host of pro features.

It might be a generation removed from the hot-rodded double-cuts that debuted in the 80s and opened the floor to a flood of electrics boasting new and exciting features, but the ML-1 Pro continues in that shred-ready tradition.

"The ML-1 Pro looks all future-centric, but the Seymour Duncan Lil' 59 in the bridge is a vintage-voiced PAF-style pickup"

It has a modern, clean finish, open-pore like its siblings, but the ML-1 Pro lacks character - walnut doesn't offer the visual pizzazz of, say, flame maple, and it's noticeably dowdy for the series' premium instrument.

It's much more convincing when you get your hands on it. Like the ML-7, the ML-1 Pro has a 'set-through' neck and incredible upper-fret access.

Indeed, when we talk of the Chapman Guitars DNA running through the ML series, it's most apparent in the guitars' supreme playability, with quick necks and extra- jumbo frets that accommodate the most demanding speedsters.

Tonally, there's a lot going on, too. The ML-1 Pro looks all future-centric, but the Seymour Duncan Lil' 59 in the bridge is a vintage-voiced PAF-style pickup with a sound that's dynamic and warm, perfect for classic rock.

The Seymour Duncan stacked 'bucker in the mid position has plenty of grunt, while the Seymour Duncan Hot Rails humbucker in the neck belies its single-coil footprint with a gnarly and pugnacious tone, which at high-gain provides a smooth, harmonically responsive option to invigorate your solos. And then there's a super-stable little Hipshot vibrato unit to put the cherry on the cake.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.