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Chapman Guitars ML-3 Modern review

Suits shredders to a T

  • £449
  • €619
  • $569
The ML-3's stripped-down aesthetic is in sharp contrast to its expansive voice

MusicRadar Verdict

A serious option in the increasingly dog-eat-dog market for mid-priced electrics.

Pros

  • +

    Harmonically rich rock/metal voice. Ceramic humbuckers sound great. Coil-split offers surprising flexibility.

Cons

  • -

    Not much.

With a reverse headstock on a T-style body seating two 'Passive Aggressive' humbuckers, the ML-3 Modern - the latest six-string from Rob Chapman and Anderton's joint brand - is an iconoclastic take on a classic silhouette that's also been appropriated for rock purposes, and clearly built for the modern rock player.

"In no way is the ML-3 your granddaddy's T-style electric"

There are extra-jumbo frets and a bolt-on maple neck that's satin-smooth and super-quick. The Chapman Hard Tail Deluxe bridge has a small footprint, a sleek and clean string-through construction that's perfectly stable and fuss-free.

There are no markers on the ML-3's ebony fretboard save for a lemniscate on the 12th fret that looks uncomfortably like The Devin Townsend Project's logo, as found on Heavy Devy's signature Peavey and Framus models.

The ML-3's stripped-down aesthetic is in sharp contrast to its expansive voice. A coil-split helps you wrench every piece of tone out of it.

So, while it was no surprise that in the bridge position, through a hard-cranked and overdriven Blackstar, the ML-3 has a tight and bright metal tone from ceramic 'buckers rich in midrange bite, when we rolled back the gain, engaged the coil-split and found the ML-3 going all Luther Perkins twang on us, well, you could have pinched us.

And yet, in no way is the ML-3 your granddaddy's T-style electric (the ML-3 Traditional would be more his speed), and it's a guitar that's very much more Download Festival than Grand Ole Opry, but its harmonically rich rock/ metal voice, allied to a versatility that sees it deal in glassy and sharp cleans, helps identify it as a serious option in the increasingly dog-eat-dog market for mid-priced electrics.

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.