This guitar has had a disproportionate impact on my life, not so much because of the guitar itself but because of the community to which it introduced me. More of that anon…
At the start of 2014, I decided that I wanted another guitar. At that stage, I had four electric guitars (including my virtually unplayable strat copy, so effectively three). I’d just been given my Brian May Special guitar, and I was quite taken with the ebony fretboard. I targeted a few criteria: I wanted a guitar with a fixed bridge and an ebony fretboard, which wasn’t too expensive. 24 frets would be good too.
I looked around at the options, and in the low-to-medium price range that I was targetting there weren’t very many guitars with ebony fretboards. My researches eventually pinpointed the Chapman ML-2, which met all of my requirements at a reasonable price (around £430, if memory serves). So I bought one.
I don’t recall whether I was already watching Chappers’ videos, but certainly the purchase of that guitar prompted me to look into Chapman Guitars and then to join the Rob Chapman Forum, which has been a significant part of my life since then. For instance, via that forum I have taken part in (and edited) several forum jams which can be found on my YouTube channel. I have learnt a lot from and been entertained by the other contributors to that forum, and they are a diverse and crazy bunch. One of the great things about such forums is that they lead you to encounter people whom you would never meet in real life, which is a wonderful and mind-opening thing. But I digress.
Back to the guitar. The ML-2 was my first Les Paul style guitar, and fittingly it is a heavy beast, probably heavier than my real Les Paul. I personally find it to be one of the better designed Chapman guitars, with well chosen woods, a great look and nice-sounding own-brand pickups. It’s not been the best selling CG model and I’m not sure why; the only real criticism I might have is its weight, which is certainly enough to put off some potential buyers although it’s not a problem for me.
I can’t say that it’s one of my most favourite guitars – perhaps undeservedly, it’s more of a workhorse instrument. Solid, reliable, nice to look at (it’s got a very attractive top, actually, in the light) and good to play, without being exceptional in any department; it’s definitely a good guitar for the price. Perhaps it got overtaken by circumstances, because it was the first guitar that I bought in 2014 and that was a mad year in which I bought five other guitars (plus a sixth for my son). It certainly didn’t put me off the brand, though, as I have subsequently bought two more Chapman guitars, and it’s the brand that’s most represented on my walls.
My ML-2 tends to be a guitar that I will retune if I’m playing something in a non-standard tuning. I play a lot of Rocksmith, and although most songs are in E Standard, Eb or Drop D, you get quite a few other tunings too. As a hardtail, this guitar is easy to retune; also, quite a few of the non-standard, especially low, tunings tend to be heavier songs to which this guitar is quite well suited. It also shares the 25″ scale length with PRS, which I’m pretty comfortable with.