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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...Click To Read More About This Product

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OVERVIEW

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.

FEATURES
  • Solid top
  • Mahogany neck, back, and sides
  • Enclosed chrome tuners
  • Lightweight, small size
Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
 
4.4

(based on 56 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (35)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (15)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

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.

VS

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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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Super Duper!

By The Joe-q.0Fk

from Jasper, IN

See all my reviews

This basically sounds exactly what it looks like- a tiny Martin. Although, that can be a problem. The sound is barely amplified inside the guitar, but the sound that you do get is pretty good. I would never mike this and play a concert in front of thousands with it, but I do enjoy using it for fun and recording. When I record, I can amplify the sound and add reverb which makes it sound really good.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

More reasons to buy than not

By MCsplivens

from Boston

See all my reviews

I now own both the steel string and nylon string Backpacker. Got them both here at this site. As stated before this guitar is not for everybody. If you have to spend $**** on a guitar you won't like this one, it's only $***. However it is a real Martin despite what people say, it clearly states it on the headstock. Here are the guitars plus points.1. It is VERY portable.2. It is all solid woods.3. It is a very reasonable price.4. It sounds nice and it's fairly loud given it's size. Anyone who's been playing guitar for more than a week should be able to figure out that this is not going to sound like a dreadnaught just by looking at it.5. The neck is very playable.6. The craftsmenship is superb.There are some negative points.1. It is difficult to hold and play with or without the strap(although this can be overcome).2. It is neck heavy.I play bass in a informal bluegrass circle and like to take a guitar along to play between songs and on some tunes. I tried it in this setting for the first time last night and it performed quite well. It had plenty of volume to keep up with all the other instruments and I found the fact that it doesn't sound like a dreadnaught a plus, it didn't get lost among all the other dreads in the room. It didn't take up any room in transport or at the jam session either. The sound of the steel string version reminds me of a parlor guitar and the nylon string version sounds much like a full sized classical until you compare it side by side with one and even then the difference is not as much as you'd expect. Personally I give the Backpacker high marks and I'd be willing to bet that Martin takes as much pride in thier $**** guitars as they do in thier $*** guitars.

 
5.0

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.

 
5.0

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!

 
5.0

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.

 
4.0

It's okay

By borderlandmonkeys

from APO, AP

See all my reviews

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.

 
5.0

Sick

By Anonymous

from Undisclosed

Great quality with great sound at a great price!

 
4.0

Ultimate Portability

By Lysander

from South Lake Tahoe, CA

If you want to take your guitar everywhere you go, look no further than the Martin Backpacker! This little guitar is a pleasure to hold, has great action, and fits anywhere. I carry it on my back when commuting on the motorcycle and it pretty much lives in my car the rest of the time. Tone is limited by the size of the sound box, however it still sounds very good. You cannot beat the price!

 
5.0

This did it for me

By mijolobo

from San Francisco, Ca.

I drive for a living and have found myself with down times waiting for freight or whatever. I've pondered picking this up and ignored the call till just recently. It's a pretty cool, little axe. I was waiting for an hour and a half today and was so glad I purchased it. The time flew by. Sure you need the strap to play it comfortably but thats no big deal since they furnish it with a strap. I can keep it on the passenger side in it's case and it's out of the way till needed. It didnt take long to get comfortable with it, I like it's sound and projection. I'm very pleased with this baby.

 
5.0

Good for trips

By Seagullplayer

from Iowa City, Iowa

It is small and compact and perfect for long biking or backpacking trips.

 
5.0

Great travel guitar with one problem!

By KAT-RjL3F

from Coon Rapids, MN

It's best feature is also it's worst... it's too small to play without the strap!

 
5.0

OH MY GOD I LOVE MY TRAVELERS GUITAR

By Woa This guitar rocks

from Somewhere In the world

See all my reviews

its cool. SOUNDS GREAT. I got it today. Its really cool and its just amazing. The tone is great. It is built very nicely, its just wonderful. People say it doesn't get very good bass. Dont listen to them. It is great. The projection is great, its even decently loud. The only bad thing is the body shape is funky and hard to play sitting down.

 
4.0

A cool little guitar

By Bob G

from Revelstoke, British Columbia

See all my reviews

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.

 
5.0

Old Mountain Climber Says It's Sweet

By Mark Steven Roupe

from Topeka, KS

I have been playing the guitar since 1962 and hiking around the Rockies since 1969. Take it from an old mountaineer & a very good guitarist - this is as good as it gets for a backpacker guitar. This is a buy!

 
5.0

Pretty darn cool

By The next Hendrix-IGnKH

from New Jersey

I have played guitar for let's see... four years. I love Hendrix and U2. So, I have a problem. I'm traveling, but my Takamine dreadnought is too "bulky." What do I do? It just so happens that at the same exact time that I have this problem, I get a gift card from a relative to Guitar Center. I go to my local music shop and think, "Wow. This looks cool. Let me try it." The first time I played it, I thought, "This sounds like absolute crap. I'm not buying this." But, I look at reviews and do research. People say that they like the guitar more as time goes on. By the third time I played the thing, I fell in love. Sure, it doesn't have the bass that I get from my dreadnought, but hey, what do you expect? What I probably love most about it is the shimmering tone it produces. The only drawbacks are that it's hard to play sitting down and the neck is kinda thick. Other than that, it plays excellently, and it really does smell good. Plus, this guitar seems really well-built, I don't know how well, I'll have to test it out. I only gave the features seven stars because the guitar is pretty simple, no neat gizmos, but it doesn't need them. Overall, a must buy for any guitarist of any skill level. I love the thing.

 
5.0

Good at what it is supposed to do

By CabinFever

from Virginia

It is amazing for such a small guitar. For portability and quiet playing, it's a great guitar.

 
5.0

Much more than expected

By WilPR

from Caguas, PR

See all my reviews

I had heard some trash on the Backpacker. The sound is great, considering the size and purpose. Great construction quality. In summary, I was amazed with this instrument. A great investment!

 
5.0

More than just a canoe paddle

By Sonofapreacher8

from Carlisle, PA

See all my reviews

I got this guitar to be exatly what is is meant to be: a portable, durable instrument that i can take to places that my dreadnaught can only dream of, and so far i have been quite impressed. Of course it doesn't have the full bass sound of a dreadnaught of a jumbo, but seriously, it is only 6 or seven inches wide. I took this this guitar with me to Honduras for a week; stuffing it in overhead compartments and carrying it all over the place. It held up great, and still provides decent volume and tone despite its shape. I gave it a 5 in the features category because it is very basic, and that's how it's supposed to be. And they're right, it really does smell good.Finally, in a life and death situation, i have complete confidence that it could serve as a formidable canoe paddle or club.

 
2.0

Martin Backpacker

By Anonymous

from Undisclosed

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

 
5.0

This is the best REAL TRAVEL guitar out there

By hop

from Undisclosed

People often wince when I tell them that I have and love my Backpacker... they say it's a glorified canoe paddle with strings that sounds horrible and I should get a Go-guitar, or a Seagull Grand, or a Larrivee Parlor, or a Baby Taylor instead. The type of travelling that I do (surf trips to Mexico, sea kayaking, field research in Alaska, more field research in Kenya, climbing and skiing all over the US and Europe...) means I need something extremely portable and durable. I've crammed/slammed/jammed this thing in kayaks, backpacks, matatus, overhead compartments, underfoot compartments, used it as a pillow, defensive weapon, daypack, whatever. It's been left in the equatorial sun for days and frozen at 13,000 feet, and it never fails to bring music when I need it! Now, it's true that the sound is anorexic and it's not that easy to play if you're not used to it, but those factors are easily dealt with and if it means the difference between having and not having a guitar, then they're not a problem at all. The Martin Backpacker: the cheapest, most portable, most expendable, most dependable travel guitar out there!

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