“Your vibe attracts your tribe”: Chapman Guitars’ head honcho, Rob Chapman

The YouTube star and head of Chapman Guitars shares advice, guilty pleasures and a Spinal Tap moment...

rob chapman guitars

The moment it all started…

“At the age of 15 I first heard U2’s Rattle And Hum and in particular I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For… it completely blew my mind and I was suddenly obsessed with music, The Kinks, Beatles – anything in my parents record collection really, from Tina Turner through to Steamhammer.”

I couldn’t live without my…

“I guess it’s a touch dull but really, my Boss tuner. Those things are indestructible, I mean their biggest competition in the marketplace is probably themselves, because they don’t break. It’s on every board I ever put together.”

The one that got away…

“When I was 20, I sold an Ibanez Floral JEM to a guitar store in Twickenham. My cat had an accident and I needed cash quick to help pay for an operation on his leg. It was one of the original run, and I kicked myself when I later went to buy it back and they asked me for twice the price I had sold it to them for!”

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My signature model would be…

“Chapman Guitars was launched through what was initially a signature guitar, so the ML1 is close in that regard. Since then, I have designed myself two more guitars: the Ghost Fret, which was really my homage to Marty Friedman’s Kelly (I was a big fan of his album Scenes), and then more recently I designed the ML3-RC, which I’m particularly proud of. I have another in the pipeline, a combination of elements from the first three, something a bit different… it’s such an exciting thing to do.”

The first thing I play…

“When I first pick up a guitar, I often run a few exercises just to warm up. I think it’s important not to become complacent about warming up, that’s how injuries occur – luckily, I have never been injured playing and I’m fairly sure it’s because I have this habit.”

The best advice I’ve ever been given…

“‘Your vibe attracts your tribe’ – it’s so true, I am thankful to have such positive, friendly and amazing people around me. I am continually inspired by the creative flow of people like Hannah Boulton, Pete Honoré, Rabea Massaad, Silvija Vil, Sophie Flattum, Dave Hollingworth… The list could really go on for another couple of feet! Basically, I’m incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful support group of musicians around me.”

My Spinal Tap moment…

“I’ve been lost a couple of times backstage, once or twice I’ve managed to get myself shut into a separate part of the building by accident. It’s because I often go wandering when I’m practising my vocals before a gig and explore too far!”

rob chapman guitars

I wish I was there…

“I mean that’s gonna just have to be Woodstock, I would’ve given anything to have witnessed that, I feel like it was almost a shift in consciousness as well as a ridiculous musical event. I was lucky enough to hear the original tapes being remixed by Eddie Kramer many years ago, that was a ridiculous experience as well.”

The first thing on my rider…

“A good-condition, boxed action figure from the 1980s, preferably Star Wars – the original holy trinity of films, not the pretend new ones. I love toys, I am unashamedly still a child inside this ageing husk.”

If I could just play one thing…

“Yes, that’s a great question – I have always been a fan of mountain music, old-style country – the kind of stuff that Dan Tyminski, Ron Block or the amazing Jerry Douglas play in Union Station.”

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