by Jef | Approximate reading time: 2 Minutes
Chapman Guitars limited-edition Battleworn ML1 Pro

Chapman Guitars limited-edition Battleworn ML1 Pro  ·  Source: Instagram/Chapman Guitars


This new limited-edition “Battleworn” ML1 Pro from Chapman Guitars looks like it has been to hell and back, with its heavy ageing and ‘Mad Max Road Warrior’ looks. This begs the question: Will Chapman Guitars weather the storm?  


Road Warrior

Rob Chapman is a bit of a YouTube star and has come up with some pretty hare-brained ideas and concepts for guitars over the years. He often involves his army of online fans by letting them vote on these designs. Following on from the announcement of the Chapman Guitars Thomann Special ML2 models last month, Mr Chappers has a new model out: the Battleworn ML1 Pro. Let’s check it out.

A few models have recently been shown on the company’s Facebook page with relic ageing patterns, and a distressed look as well.

To Hell & Back

The new guitar was announced in a teaser on Instagram. An image shows a limited-edition “Battleworn” ML1 Pro. The text alludes to a post-apocalyptic scenario, where the guitar has been to hell and back, to earn its stripes. The model be sold in limited numbers, with only a handful of instruments going on sale worldwide. This could be Chapman Guitars’ way of testing out the relic market.

Here’s an excerpt from the teaesr:

The year is 2083. The hypnotoad’s have been in power for 25 years now. All you have is your 2020 ML1 Modern & a song in your heart. Your guitar has served you well in musical battle for the last 60 years and it bears the scars formed by vanquishing the green hoard. ⁣

Obviously, it makes no real sense to truly “age” these guitars, as the brand is too young. That’s where the futuristic weathered look comes in.


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Greetings from the future

Here’s what we know so far about the specs. There will be a total of eight one-off Pro Series Relic models. Each “Battleworn” ML1 Pro guitar will come loaded with a set of hand-wound Guitarmory pickups and “upgraded” wiring and hardware. They will all have that  “Battleworn” nitrocellulose finish, along with roasted maple necks.

I’m not 100% sure how the guitar buying market will perceive these new models. The concocted backstory set in the future reminds me a little of the Vintage Joe Doe models from NAMM last month. ⁣The only real problem I can foresee is the pricing. These new guitars will retail at fifteen hundred quid a pop!

The Drama

Rob has been having a tough time in 2020. I’ve included a video below in which he talks about the online spat that’s been brewing since December. What’s your take on the new video?

RRP – GBP 1499

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12 responses to “Will Chapman Guitars weather the storm? Enter the “Battleworn” ML1 Pro.”

  1. Dane says:

    “I’m not 100% sure how the guitar buying market will perceive these new models.” – I can answer that one for you: it won’t, because when you only offer 8 items for sale there’s no market but only 8 individuals on this planet who might end up owning one.

    Of course it’s quite clear what’s going on behind the scenes: Chapman Guitars is under water so now they’re selling 8 of these for double the price. Very similar to Native last year when they announced limited edition models at inflated price points and later it turned out they were having layoffs.

    • Jef says:

      I’m not referring to the players that buy the actual 8 guitars with this statement -“I’m not 100% sure how the guitar buying market will perceive these new models.”

      Perception and reality are very different things. More what buyers will feel about an ‘aged’ / ‘relic’ of a guitar model/brand which is so young.

      Which is why I see them more akin to the Joe Doe models, which have a made up backstory.

      Anyone that follows Chapman is aware he is having a few issues with his current online YouTube arguments.

      I’d seriosly doubt that 8 guitars will make a huge difference in turnover for them anyway. More interested in the fact they are trying out the whole ‘battle worn’ thing and what that holds for any future releases.

      • Dane says:

        I think Solar is much smarter about this. They have a new limited edition “distressed” model that looks very classy, and every day I’m tempted to order it.

        Back to Chapman, their particular problem is that brand value isn’t there to justify a GBP 1500 price point. You take it out the box and it’s lost half of it. Actually, for that money you can easily get a high-end Fender, or a signature model of a 2nd tier brand.

        • Jef says:

          I think you have hit the nail on the head with the value getting axed as soon as you open the box. There is no real reason to spend this amount of money on a guitar with such an unproven track record. With a used Fender etc it will hold value, as they have a proven track record, which is something Chapman lacks. If these were £400-500 it would not be such an issue, but for me personally they are far too expensive and come close to much more appealing alternatives on the market.

          • Cort says:

            Fender relicing works – like it or not – because it is expertly done and looks organic. The wear looks like it was generated by play and age, and is in the right places.
            My problem with these examples is that the wear is not in all the places you expect to see it. The edges look like they’ve been through ‘Nam (not NAMM) and yet in the playing area the guitars appear to be pristine, in these views at least.
            What makes it worse is that not only is this a young brand, as you say, but these are clearly modern instruments. On Fenders, the effect is found on decades old designs, adding to the impression that they are user- and age-worn instruments.
            I’d recommend Chapman not repeat this exercise, especially at this price. Their focus, if they want to survive and prosper, is to improve QC, expand out from a perceived metal bias, introduce a good quality short-scale student model for early learners (cf. the Duo-Sonic), provide a conventional headstock on some models, and yes, probably change their name. The company is 50% owned by Lee of Andertons fame: A&C Guitars? C&A Guitars? They have to accept that the amount of customer goodwill from the association with Rob Chapman has long been exhausted and continuing association with him is now likely to have only a negative effect. But can his ego take it? I hope so, I’d like to see a British guitar company thrive and start competing with the big boys.
            Oh, and the biggest change he should do (and the one change he should do even if he does nothing else) is to stop dominating all of the promotion activity for the company.

          • Cort says:

            Incidentally, if you check Companies House you’ll see that at the time of their last filing the company was in reasonable health with a decent amount of cash at the bank. They also have Andertons underpinning them (as stated above, Lee is 50% owner of Chapman Guitars).
            But do they want to survive, or do they want to prosper? Wise businessmen will turn this recent negative experience into an opportunity.
            That’s all the advice I’m giving today.

          • Jef says:

            When they get it right, Chapman designs look great. For example I really like this new limited edition run.

            I don’t see an audience or market for weirdly ‘Battleworn’ modern instruments though. Maybe if they went totally over the top and covered them in strange stickers and markings etc But not with dents and worn paint jobs, it just looks a bit silly to me.

            I’m not 14 anymore and so it isn’t really aimed at me. However, I don’t know many 14 year olds with fifteen hundred quid spare either.

  2. mojave rat says:


    This is straight-up ridiculous.

  3. Well, that’s one way to get rid of scratch and dents while maximizing profits. They must have had a container get dropped during their last run.

  4. Cort says:

    Chapman got everything he deserved.

    KDH’s video, while cheap and sensational in its production, nevertheless raised some legitimate questions and Chapman’s response was extremely arrogant and condescending – especially to many of his own fans. The subsequent actions by his most fanatical of supporters – spamming KDH’s comments with abuse and threats, downvoting his videos to near-oblivion, culminating in a doxing and a despicable false accusation of rape – was made even worse by Chapman’s failure to step in and ask his supporters to back off. Indeed, Chapman appeared to find it funny. It was a disgraceful episode.

    This new video is what many of us wanted to see/hear, and I for one will stop calling Rob out on his behaviour in his comments sections. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that most of KDH’s valid questions remain unanswered.

  5. Cort says:

    Everyone’s been downvoted. Looks like Rob’s troll army has been in. Tiresome.

  6. Mark says:

    Remember when this half idiot, half-jerk, and half sociopath dug himself a 6-foot hole? Dovydas was the kind soul that showed me this guy was trash before I ever had to deal with him. But hey, his kid’s PRS really is a sweet guitar – so, ya know, there’s that. Only the still befuddled fans of this ass will care about the new, desperate attempts at keeping their head above water.

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