MLB-1 review by Chapman Guitars

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  • Features: 10
  • Sound: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.3 (10 votes)
Chapman Guitars: MLB-1

Price paid: £ 599

Purchased from: Andertons

Features — 10
This was made this year in Korea. The bass has 24 Extra Jumbo Frets and a standard scale length of 34" although seems bigger. The body is made of bubinga wood and the headstock also has matching wood veneer. The neck however is made of maple with a wenge fingerboard. It has a natural oil finish and and unusual body shape but balances very well even when played standing up. The bridge is top loaded and the nut is made of tusq - the fretboard radius is 8". The pickups are Chapman bassbuckers and there are 4 control pots. The tone pot has a coil tap to turn the bassbuckers into single coils if you pull it up. There are also volume controls for each pickup and finally a control which acts as a pickup selector.

Sound — 10
The bass is very versatile which is why I bought it. If you want a Fender type bass then use the coil tap and it can sound like a P or J bass. It sounds best though with the humbuckers switched on and the sound is similar to a Warwick bass with a very fat meaty sound which is great for funk, jazz and any style which needs the bass to be prominent. The pickups are passive and very quiet with no hum or noise, the sound is huge though although space is left in the control cavity for anyone that may want to fit after market pre-amps. The pickups sound great though and I wouldn't change them. I'm using an Ashdown five-fifteen 125 watt amp which I purchased with it and the whole setup sounds fantastic.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The bass comes with a leaflet explaining how to adjust the action and neck relief and a cleaning cloth. I don't recall it coming with tools but most guitarists will have the correct allen keys/screwdrivers. I didn't need to adjust anything though and the bass played perfectly out of the box but I may have been lucky. I may have a play around with the pickup height, action etc later but happy with it now. The bass is made in Korea - hence the low price point. You get a lot of bass for your money though and it's very well put together indeed.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I've only just bought it so time will tell. I will be gigging the hell out of it as my main bass now but I expect it to last, everything seems solid. I wouldn't gig without a backup as it's a new model and Chapman's first venture into making basses so it doesn't have a reputation to precede it yet. All the reviews I saw before I bought it were positive though. I would still use my other Ibanez bass as well though just in case. Overall though I'd be surprised if anything went wrong, I've had a thorough look and opened up the control cavities and everything looks in order.

Overall Impression — 10
I play mostly ska and reggae in my band which play original music. Some of our songs are more rock oriented but this bass can cover any style really. The humbucker setting is great for a big fat bass sound and I use the single coil setting for rock songs that need more of a Fender type bass sound. I love everything about this bass although it is a bit big, my Ibanez seems smaller in comparison. The only thing I'd change is perhaps have active pickups but as I said this is easy enough to do. I would recommend this to anyone though, the bass is cheap enough for a beginner but definitely good enough for a semi-pro or pro to use.

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