With Chapman’s British Standard series on pause while its manufacturing is relocated, the ML3 Pro series can rightfully reclaim its place as the highest-spec guitars the brand currently mass-produces.
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Cosmetically, the Pro series differs little from the Standard series. However, with upgraded parts and construction, including Seymour Duncan pickups, a set neck, locking tuners, and straplocks, these instruments exude an altogether more professional vibe.
The ML3’s basswood body and baked maple neck are a tried and tested pairing in metal guitars, with the basswood providing an even frequency response and the maple adding a little snap to low riffs.
The roasted neck is lightly darkened and finished with a thin satin coat, which will likely get dirty over time but imbues it with a worn-in feel – a feature that many of us happily pay top dollar for.
The C-shape neck is slightly beefier in profile than its generic description suggests but it’s all the more comfortable for it, with neatly rolled edges and sturdy shoulders. An acute headstock angle maximises string break over the nut but for added structural security it has been carved with a volute.
The position of the neck join and hefty rear chamfering offers unbridled access to the high end of the fretboard, perhaps more so than any guitar of this type. However, in conjunction with the elongated, angled headstock, there is a little neck dive when we stand up. Happily, that can be vastly improved by modifying your default standing position and pushing the guitar right of your torso.
We have previous with the appointed Seymour Duncan Sentient and Pegasus pickups thanks to our time with an Strandberg eight-string a few years ago. While Pegasus is an imposing winged horse in Greek mythology, its namesake here is meeker in nature, with a moderate output.
These pickups remain popular in the prog-metal community as they were originally designed for extended-range instruments and, as such, through our Diezel VH4, we get a tight, focused low-end and a boost of presence. We find ourselves reaching for the bass control to introduce more bottom-end but there is no shortage of punchy midrange.
Thanks to the basswood body and roasted neck, the high EQ has been shelved judiciously, making the two full-humbucker positions perfect for all the prog-metal riffage we throw at it. You can also introduce some treble and spank, and achieve authentic Bettencourt funk-rock sounds in position two and four, which combine each humbucker with the other unit’s outer coil. These positions also provide Strat-like spank with cleaner amp settings.
The sub £1,000 price range will always be congested but, with its branded pickups and focus on rock and metal, the ML3 Pro should be a contender for all players performing in these genres. The ease of access to all 24 frets also means that if you enjoy shredding at the higher end of the ’board, you likely won’t find a more facilitating guitar.
- PRICE £849
- DESCRIPTION 6-string double-cut electric guitar, made in Korea
- BUILD Basswood body, set-through neck with 13.77”/350mm radius, roasted maple fretboard, 22 jumbo stainless-steel frets
- HARDWARE Hipshot Grip-Lock Open (18:1 Gearing), Chapman String-Through Hardtail
- ELECTRONICS Seymour Duncan Pegasus humbucker (bridge) & Sentient Humbucker (neck), 5-way Super Switch with coil-split, volume, tone
- SCALE LENGTH 25.5″/648mm
- NECK WIDTH 42.5mm at nut, 53.2mm at 12th fret
- NECK DEPTH 20.5mm at 1st fret, 22.5mm at 12th fret
- STRING SPACING 52.7mm at bridge, 35.2mm at nut
- WEIGHT 3.0kg/6.6lb
- LEFT-HANDERS Yes
- FINISHES Cyber Black (as reviewed), Hot Blue, Hot White
- CONTACT chapmanguitars.com, andertons.co.uk