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Product 514500

Martin Backpacker Acoustic Guitar   

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Don't let the diminutive size of the Martin Backpacker Acoustic Guitar fool you. A braced, solid tonewood top with a solid mahogany neck, back, and s...Read More

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Built for portable durability . . . and great sound!

Don't let the diminutive size of the Martin Backpacker Acoustic Guitar fool you. A braced, solid tonewood top with a solid mahogany neck, back, and sides gives this cool little guitar a surprisingly big projection. Built to withstand the rigors of camping, hiking, and off-road traveling. Includes high-quality chrome-enclosed tuners. A unique bridge on the nylon-string version accepts either plain or ball-end classic strings. Weighs less than 2-1/2 lbs.

  • Solid top
  • Mahogany neck, back, and sides
  • Enclosed chrome tuners
  • Lightweight, small size

Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews

(based on 56 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars



  • 4 Stars



  • 3 Stars



  • 2 Stars



  • 1 Stars



Most Liked Positive Review


Realistic expectations help a LOT!

After having read many reviews of this instrument, I decided to take the plunge anyway - at a point in my life where a good many long-distance trips are coming up and my...Read complete review

After having read many reviews of this instrument, I decided to take the plunge anyway - at a point in my life where a good many long-distance trips are coming up and my 40-year old (hard to play and wonderful) Harmony Sovereign full-size Western Flat Top) is just too cumbersome to travel with. Many of the criticisms leveled by other users are certainly valid. It is a very small and oddly shaped small instrument with a proportionately small sound. It would, indeed, be easier to play if the saddle were lowered a bit and if it came out of the box as the manufacturer and designer recommended re strings - it does not. It is awkward to hold. All of that being said, I am able to honestly recommend it - perhaps because my old Harmony is even harder to play! I have never been spoiled by the experience of owning a really well made guitar (like a full size Martin or Gibson)- so, to me, it plays easily and produces a sound much like I feel it is reasonable to expect from such a small body. I have had it for about a week and am enjoying it a lot. Of course, it sounds best in small spaces, wired with thin gauge (bronze 80/20) strings and played with a thin pick.... something that is taking some adjustment on my part - having always used medium gauge picks before. Because the instrument is disproportionately heavy on the tuning-peg end, playing it standing (pretty much a requirement) works a lot better with the strap tied to the tuner - rather than connected with the hardware installed on the neck side of the Backpacker's mini-body. Otherwise, the tuning end is drawn by gravity making it harder to play than is necessary. The prices have come down quite a bit - partly, I expect, due to the poor reviews both here and at other sites.


Most Liked Negative Review


Martin Backpacker

The size and weight and durability are wonderful. But the actual sound is a bit dissapointing. Very shallow, etc.But perhaps this is to be expected from a guitar of this size.The price is...Read complete review

The size and weight and durability are wonderful. But the actual sound is a bit dissapointing. Very shallow, etc.But perhaps this is to be expected from a guitar of this size.The price is right, and it is very durable, but I found that it just isn't the right travelling guitar for myself.I found that it did not hold it's tune very well.And also, for fingerstyle playing, it just doesn't produce enough quality sound, to do justice to what your fingers are doing.So, all in all, if you were in the middle of the wilderness without any guitar at all, but this one, you could certainly fall in love with it, but when you play it, and have some form of comparison in mind, it just doesnt' compare, at all.I've heard great things about the baby taylor, though this is obviously a lot larger...Peace.J

Reviewed by 56 customers

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Love it!

By QingTing

from Chattanooga, TH

I've had my backpacker for 2 years. I keep it strung with silk & steel and it sounds great! I have no trouble playing it sitting without the strap. In a chair I typically sit with my right foot tucked under my left knee, so when I'm playing I rest the tail on my right thigh. This works great sitting "indian-style" on the floor too.


Way better than expected!

By Jay O'Three

from Newport Beach, CA

OK; I read everyone else's review saying it was "hard to hold," "had a thin sound," or that it "didn't sound like other Martins," but honestly, I had to roll the dice and give the benefit of the doubt to the company that has been making guitars since 1833.SCORE!!!!!!!!The thing is ultra lightweight (it weighs less than the pair of bongos my jam buddy plays), has a REAL Martin neck, and has a high, clear, pure tone. Some diminutive people may complain about its unwieldiness, but for a 6'3" 200lb+ person, it is just fine. I can rest it on my knee while seated or pretty much balance it in mid-air to play it standing.Don't think of it as a Martin D-something (it's my third Martin (all three from Musician's Friend)), but more as a super-convenient riff / jamming tool. I keep it tuned up sitting right next to the desk at which I write this very review. It has the action and scale length of an elecric (24"), requires no warm up, and allows me to pick it up and strum any riff or tune I want at any moment with zero hassle. On top of that, it can be transported to jam sessions with less effort, and looks WAY cooler than any other guitar.It will not fulfill your dreams if it is your first Martin, but once you understand why it exists, you (like me) won't be able to do without it!


A cool little guitar

By Bob G

from Revelstoke, British Columbia

Everyone laughs and says "hey,Cool!". After they've listened a few minutes it's " Hey, sounds good !" The sound is, naturally a little thin but I find this to be a quality guitar. Mine is going to be left in the RR Bunkhouse for those hours away from home. It fits in my locker just fine.Action,sound,esthetics.All good, I like mine alot.Three of my friends have asked me to find them one.



By Teleman78

from Aspen, CO.

Had one, but dumped it. I really can't believe all the good reviews on the backpacker. My advice is get it if you're ONLY going to take it backpacking. Terrible tone, terrible action uncomfy neck. Sounds like a bad banjo. Oh yea, you'll have to stand while playing cuz of the shape, sorry Martin, you guys do make great guitars. Don't spend your "mini" money on this one.


Great for What it is

By Anonymous

from Undisclosed

I've had this guitar for somewhere around a year and a half, and I have very few complaints. It's extremely lightweight and easy to take around anywhere. It's perfect for situations such as beach visits with your friends, where you wouldn't want to take a full sized guitar. It also is pretty sturdy so you don't have to be obscenely careful with it. The sound can't compare to that of a full sized Martin, but you shouldn't really expect that from a travel guitar anyway. However the sound is still pretty good. I don't really have any complaints regarding the neck. It's always felt fine to me. The only problem I really encountered with this guitar is playing it without the strap. Keep it on even when you are sitting down to avoid any awkward feelings. Besides this, the guitar is great for what it is (a travel guitar).


Surprising tone from such a little guitar

By Anonymous

from Undisclosed

It is a great little guitar overall. The only problem is that it's hard to get really comfortable with due to its shape and size. Also, the action is a bit high, but it sounds great and it's easy to play.


My Favorite Guitar

By Xian-XpI-f

from Warren, MI.

I purchased this a little over two months ago. The first time I ever played it was about three years ago and was disappointed in the sound. Well, I picked it up again and something changed... I don't know what but I fell in love! Maybe Martin took a different approach with the construction, but everyone I've played it for is AMAZED at the sound!I play this more than any of my other guitars and have started getting into alternate tunings (when Jimmy Page is your guitar hero, you have to). I find the sound phenomenal and playability great, although I had to get used to the body size.Like a reviewer before me, I gave the features a 5 because it's not a features guitar. I would even gig live with this, I love it that much!


HEy im mark

By Mark the man

from Colorado Springs, Colorado

When i first set my eyes on this guitar, i was like no way. I need to have this. So i worked frickin hard to earn enough money to get it. Luckily this is not also one of the best sounding guitars i have ever heard, it is also one of the most affordable. Thanks Martin guitars. You rock the house.


It's okay

By borderlandmonkeys

from APO, AP

First off, it fits into the overhead of an airplane no problem, room to spare. Clearing security was no problem. The action is kind of high, adjustment necessary. It does not sit on your thigh at all, you need to use the strap. Holds tune well. The sound .... well, there is hardly any bass but look at the body! I think it would make a good paddle if you needed one! A dual purpose! Weighs nothing for the serious backpacker! Can't wait to take it on a walk. I like the little rascal. For a travel acoustic - it's okay.



By Anonymous

from Undisclosed

Great quality with great sound at a great price!

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