Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone Overview and Best Prices

Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone Review
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  • 1 Prices - Used from $549.98 >
  • From Chapman's 2021 Standard series
  • Made in Indonesia
  • 6 strings
  • 28"'' scale
  • 13.78" Fretboard Radius
  • Swamp Ash Veneer On Flat Top with Gloss Finish top
  • Mahogany body
  • Maple neck
  • Macassar Ebony fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Chapman Sonorous Zerø Baritone Humbucker (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Chapman Sonorous Zerø Baritone Humbucker (Humbucker/Passive)
  • 1 volume and 1 tone Dome knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • Chapman String-Through Hardtail bridge
  • C Shape Bolt-On neck
  • 24 Jumbo frets
  • Chapman Locking (18:1 Gearing) tuners
  • See all specs and compare >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 78
Sound 72
Build quality 63
Value for money 76
Overall Score 71
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone
  • Locking Tuners
  • Expensive Wood
  • Black Tusq XL Nut
  • Coil Split Pickups
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • Made in Indonesia
  • No Top Brand Pickups
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Tremolo
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $850, which means that the Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone is around 34% cheaper than the competition. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in Indonesia.

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User Feedback

Not all instruments are created equally. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this instrument say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

Weight

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Neck access to high frets

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Neck profile shape

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Fret edges

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Videos

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Testing out the new Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone V2
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Often Compared With

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Playability

The Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone meets 6 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's a good guitar to start with as a complete beginner. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

New Player Friendliness

Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Locking tuners
  • Tall frets
  • Narrow nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Short scale

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone's construction favors people with relatively small hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone's 28" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone Scale Length Comparison
Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is a scale used for baritone guitars, and it's probably one of the longest scales you'll ever encounter. Since the scale is so long, the strings will have a lot of tension. This means that bending will require a lot more strength than with a shorter scale. However, it also allows you to use really low tunings without causing fret buzz and without needing to increase your string gauge too much. Standard tunings on this scale will sound a lot brighter than on a normal guitar.

More with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone Neck Profile
Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

The Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone's neck thickness is approximately 0.905'' (23mm) at the first fret, and 0.944'' (24mm) at the twelfth.

These measurements were taken either from the official Chapman website, or, in case this information wasn't provided, by researching multiple online marketplaces and forums where owners of this model have posted their measurements.

It has a C type neck. C-shaped necks like this have been the most popular for the last years. The reason is that they feel good in most hands. It's generally a thin neck that doesn't get in your way when playing fast, but that also has enough mass to give your hands a comfortable grip for chords if they aren't too big.

Thin necks like this make it easier to move your hand across the neck and it helps when playing fast solos, especially if you like to leave your thumb free while playing high on the fretboard. However, thinner necks are also weaker and will need adjustment more often than a thicker neck.

More for different hand sizes

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone has a 13.78" fingerboard radius.

Here's an image comparing this fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone's fretboard radius compared to others

This makes it more similar to Gibson guitars (12'') than Fender (9.5''). It's slightly flatter than most modern Gibson fretboards though, which makes it more comfortable for single notes, bendings and vibratos, but less comfortable for chords.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

28'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.625'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius
Multiscale Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone Nut Width
Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone Nut Width

The Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone has a nut width of 42mm (1.654''). This is considered a narrow width for a 6-string guitar. This means that this guitar will have a narrower string separation at the nut, which will affect your fretting hand.

If you are a player with big hands, you might find it difficult to play chords without muting strings. However, this is good for players who have smaller hands, as it will allow them to reach each string more easily at the nut.

Frets

The Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone has 24 frets. A lot of people mistakenly believe that having more frets will always be better because it gives you a higher octave. This is certainly an advantage, but there's also a disadvantage to this.

Since the fretboard will be longer, the neck pickup will need to be placed closer to the bridge. And as you may know, the further away the neck pickup is from the bridge, the warmer it sounds. This means you'll have a brighter-sounding neck pickup when using a 24-fret guitar, even if you use the same pickup on a 22-fret guitar.

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

More with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone Fret Size Comparison
Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone's frets are Jumbo size. This is a tall fret size that is becoming increasingly popular because it makes it easier to press down the strings cleanly. With this fret size, you won't feel the fretboard when playing, so if you press down too hard, you will get the notes out of pitch. However, this is something you can overcome by getting used to the taller size.

More with the same type of frets:

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 85
Chord Playability 60
Solo Playability 90
Playability 78

Tone

Wood will have little influence in the final tone of an electric guitar or bass. Instead, the hardware, especially the pickups, will be the most important thing to look at. Bur first, let's see the quality of the wood.

Wood

Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany Body
Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Maple Neck
Ebony wood pattern used for guitar building
Ebony Fretboard

Mahogany Body: This is the type of wood found in many top-of-the-line guitars, so that's a positive point for the build quality. This red-looking wood Mahogany is found in Africa and Central America and has great sustain and a warm tone due to its high density. The downside about this type of wood is that it's relatively heavy.

Maple Neck: This is one of the most popular types of wood used in all kinds of guitars. It's heavy, strong and compact, which makes it great for necks. However, it's also used for fretboards, bodies and tops due to its light color, resistance and beautiful patterns. When it comes to tone, it highlights the mid and high frequencies.

Ebony Fretboard: This is one of the most expensive woods there is, which is why it's mostly used for fretboards. It is dense, heavy, highly resistant and comes in a really dark color that gives any guitar a classy touch. Tone wise, it helps the high side of the spectrum and provides good sustain.

More made with the same wood:

Pickups

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with pickups from one of the top brands. This doesn't mean you will get bad pickups, but you might want to consider a pickup upgrade after some time.

These are passive pickups, so you can expect a rounder sound and a moderade level of output.

The Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone's configuration is HH. With this pickup combination, you'll get warmer tones and more output than using single coils. Humbucker pickups cancel the noise that single-coil suffer from, which also results in a warmer tone. This pickup combination isn't only for high-gain music like Hard Rock or Heavy Metal. Their warmness is also popular for Jazz, Indie, R&B, Blues and more.

Versatility

It comes with the popular 3-way switch that is present in most guitars. For more versatility, players tend to prefer a 5-way switch, although it all depends on what you want to use your guitar for.

It has a Coil Split option. It allows you to 'split' or turn off pickup coils to get even more tones in combination with the pickup selector. When used with humbucker pickups, it'll reduce the output and increase their clarity, turning them essentially into single-coil pickups.

Diagram

Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone's switch options

What music genre is it good for?

As a 6 strings, Solid Body guitar with HH configuration and Passive pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Hard Rock or similar. However, you can use almost any guitar for any genre. This is just the typical type of music for this particular one.

Sound Score

Pickups 55
Sustain 85
Versatility 69
Tuning Stability 80
Sound 72

Build Quality

Country of Origin

Knowing where the instrument is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive instruments are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone is made in Indonesia. Many people prefer the quality of an Indonesian guitar over a Chinese. Respectable brands like Epiphone, Ibanez and Schecter are building in this country because of the great quality and lower price. Some people like to compare them to the ones built in Japan during the 80s, when Japanese guitar makers made a name for themselves.

Bridge

Chapman String-Through Hardtail: The advantage of fixed bridges is that they don't require any kind of set-up. This makes it extremely easy when changing strings because you don't need to adjust anything besides tuning the guitar. Also, the fact that the bridge is directly attached to the body will help to increase sustain. The disadvantage is the lack of versatility since you can't create the same vibrato effects as with tremolo bridges.

More with the same type of bridge:

Tuners

The Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone comes with locking tuners, which helps with tuning stability and makes changing strings a lot faster and easier. As long as they're high quality, these are the best tuning machines you can have. The only disadvantage is that they are a bit heavier than normal tuners.

The tuners have a ratio of 18:1. This means you need 18 turns of the tuner knob to make the tuner post go around 1 complete revolution. The more turns it takes, the finer and more precise your tuning is going to be. An 18:1 ratio is what most instruments have nowadays. Some high-end ones come with a ratio of 21:1.

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. A well-cut nut will make sure it stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone has a Black Tusq XL nut. It's not made of plastic or low-quality materials. They're made to resemble the sound you get from bone and ivory nuts, but with slippery materials so the intonation and tuning are stable. Also, each nut is carefully cut to ensure you won't have tune stabilization problems.

More with the same nut material:

Neck Joint

The neck joint is the part where the neck of the guitar meets the body. There are three main techniques to attach both parts together: Set-In, Bolt-On and Neck-Through. The latter two provide different advantages, although neck-throughs are the most expensive.

This guitar has a Bolt-On neck joint. Even though this type of neck was looked down upon for a long time, nowadays bolt-on necks are well built and provide just as much sustain as any other join method. First of all, it's cheap to make because it consists of simply 4 bolts that attach the neck to the body. And you can travel with the guitar more easily, swap out the neck if you damage it, or upgrade to a more comfortable neck later on.

More with the same build:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 53
Features 65
Quality Control 70
Build Quality 63

All Specs

Chapman ML1 Modern Baritone
General
Brand: Chapman
Year: 2021
Configuration: HH
Strings: 6
Made in: Indonesia
Series: Standard
Colors: Blue, Red, Purple, Gray
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Top: Swamp Ash Veneer On Flat Top with Gloss Finish
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Mahogany
Bridge: Chapman String-Through Hardtail
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On
Tuners: Chapman Locking (18:1 Gearing)
Fretboard: Macassar Ebony
Neck Material: Maple
Decoration: Pearl Side Dots and Pearl Front Dot Inlays with Pearl Infinity
Scale Size: 28"
Shape: C Shape
Thickness: 1st Fret: 0.905'' (23mm) - 12th Fret: 0.944'' (24mm)
Frets: 24 Jumbo
Fretboard Radius: 13.78"
Nut: Black Tusq XL
Nut Width: 42mm (1.654'')
Electronics
Switch: 3 Way
Knobs: Dome
Pickup Mods: Coil Split
Volume Controls: 1
Tone Controls: 1
Bridge Pickup: Chapman Sonorous Zerø Baritone Humbucker (Humbucker / Passive)
Neck Pickup: Chapman Sonorous Zerø Baritone Humbucker (Humbucker / Passive)