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Martin Steel-String 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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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. Weighs less than 2-1/2 lb.

FEATURES
  • Solid top
  • Mahogany neck, back, and sides
  • Enclosed chrome tuners

Who says you can't take it with you? Put it in the cart.

Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
MartinSteel-String Backpacker Acoustic Guitar
 
4.3

(based on 92 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (56)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (22)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (6)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (5)

89%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Fun to play (22)
  • Good feel (17)
  • Stays in tune (16)
  • Consistent (11)
  • Good audio (10)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Practicing (19)
  • Jamming (9)
  • Small venues (3)
  • Travel (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (24), Professional musician (5), Novice (4)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

A Gypsies Must

Buy a bone nut, and use your head. This little guy is a talk box. It can and will teach you more comfortable ways to play and find your voice in guitar. The...Read complete review

Buy a bone nut, and use your head. This little guy is a talk box. It can and will teach you more comfortable ways to play and find your voice in guitar. The stock specs are a quirky at best but this is an impressively durable and affordable 6 string. The gig bag is a joke but it's rarely necessary. I play with a 3 peice in the the rockies and with a golden gate thumbpick there's not stopping the cigar box sound. Not only has it lasted the odd weather changes out here, but with thick bronze strings it sounds great. It's stayed true to intonation, even after 2 years now of Django thumping and Grisman grinding. I love it. Best guitar that ever happened to me..

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

...give it a chance...

I like the full fat neck and I think it sounds interesting. It's different. I dont care for the high action and it is a little too top heavy, but that's what the...Read complete review

I like the full fat neck and I think it sounds interesting. It's different. I dont care for the high action and it is a little too top heavy, but that's what the strap is for I guess.
This thing is funny," I read the 50/50 reviews and decided to give it a try. Took it out of the box and I was like ""What?!?"" But I decided to give it a chance. Grab a cold beer from the fridge", take your backpacker and go outside on the back porch. Yeah, it's top heavy. Yeah, you've got to use the strap. Yeah, the action is a little high. No, it doesn't sound like a full sized guitar, but for some reason I love it. It was easy to get used to. You rest your arm on the back to balance it out. It's actually quite comfortable to play once you get used to it. I've got to say, it's been a blast so far. I find myself plucking on it all day. Took it work for lunch time shows.

Reviewed by 92 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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4.0

Good for what it is

By KTrock

from Hamilton, NJ

About Me Novice

Pros

  • Consistent
  • Stays In Tune

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Practicing

    Comments about Martin Steel-String Backpacker Acoustic Guitar:

    Use it when I'm on the road. Fits in an airline overhead bin. Don't let someone jam a suitcase into it or anything; though from what I'm reading here, it's pretty durable, may even be able to take that.

    One thing I noticed is that the neck isn't quite the same size as that of a standard acoustic. I think mine is an auditorium style.

    Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

     
    5.0

    Awesome tiny guitar, great for traveling

    By Trevor the Forever

    from Berea, KY

    About Me Experienced

    Pros

    • Fun To Play
    • Good Feel
    • Rich Sound
    • Stays In Tune

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Jamming

      Comments about Martin Steel-String Backpacker Acoustic Guitar:

      This is an amazing little guitar. I got it this past Christmas and I have thoroughly enjoyed playing with it every now and then. The size makes it very easy to put on and take off, which is nice for me because I always like having a strap on. It's so fun to play on, and this little thing has some great sound.

      More on sound: This thing has the classic Martin ring to it, it's just proportional to size. As people have said, it does sound like a dead ukulele when the strings get old, but while the strings are good it sounds absolutely amazing. It truly sounds like a Martin, albeit with a lot less fullness of tone. It rings and shimmers quite nicely, in my opinion. You just can't expect it to have the resonance and volume of a full bodied guitar. That's not how sound works.

      It really is durable, too. I just took it on a road trip (and it ended up being small enough to keep behind the truck seats AND PLAY IT in the passenger seat without disturbing the driver; this was a huge plus on the long drives) and I managed to drop it twice from about two feet off the ground onto pavement WITH TWO PAIRS OF MARCHING STICKS IN THE GIG BAG and there isn't a single scratch on it.

      For this price you can't go wrong. Also, don't get this as a first guitar. It plays awkwardly and sits awkwardly. It was made for portability and durability, NOT as a cheap guitar that's small and easy to learn on. It's quite the opposite.

      Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

       
      5.0

      Just what my husband was looking for

      By Maryinredding

      from Redding, CA

      About Me Experienced

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Fun To Play
      • Good Feel

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Practicing

        Comments about Martin Steel-String Backpacker Acoustic Guitar:

        This is a Christmas present for my husband. When we travel in our RV a regular guitar takes up too much space. This little guy will let him play but not take up a lot of room. It comes with it's own bag so he can actually hang it in the closet. A great buy.

        Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

        (2 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

         
        2.0

        Get something else

        By Drew

        from Flower Town

        Ask me a question

        Pros

          Cons

          • Flat Sound

          Best Uses

            Comments about Martin Steel-String Backpacker Acoustic Guitar:

            You are traveling and a guitar is too big. Problem is, this thing does not sound or play like a real guitar. The fretboard is pretty true to life, but the body feels so weird, and the size is wrong. It also sounds horrible. I mean, really bad.

            Much better to my mind is a baritone ukulele. They are about the same size, are cheaper, play better and sound much better. There's only four strings, but they are identical to guitar tuning. A regular uke is even easier to carry, but a baritone uke to me is just as close to a regular guitar and much more satisfying.

            Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

            (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

             
            4.0

            Would not buy personally

            By DaveBob

            from Asheville, NC

            About Me Experienced

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Consistent
            • Stays In Tune

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Practicing

              Comments about Martin Steel-String Backpacker Acoustic Guitar:

              If you are looking for smallest travel guitar able to fit into overhead on airplane, current options are this guitar or the Washburn Rover. Backpacker guitar is of excellent quality, very good finish, tuners. Neck is chunky, but I got used to it, since I play old Gibsons. Compared to Washburn Rover, sound is much better. Soft gig bag is marginal. Biggest complaint is body design. Very narrow and hard to keep hold of. Martin could fix this with wider body, potentially improve sound. This guitar is better choice than Rover, IMO. Still I couldn't get used to it enough to play for any length of time. Others might get used to it

              Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

              (0 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

               
              1.0

              Worst Sounding Guitar I've Ever Heard

              By Chomper

              from Seattle

              About Me Novice

              Pros

                Cons

                • Tinny Sound

                Best Uses

                  Comments about Martin Steel-String Backpacker Acoustic Guitar:

                  Sounds like a cheap souvenir ukulele like you get at the airport in Hawaii. Seriously the worst sounding instrument I have ever heard. Played it for 5 minutes and sent it back. I bought an Alvarez MSD1 instead and the difference is astounding.

                  Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

                  (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  4.0

                  Great for what it is

                  By Deanvandamme

                  from nashville, tn

                  About Me Experienced

                  Pros

                  • Consistent
                  • Fun To Play
                  • Great For The Price

                  Cons

                  • Flat Sound

                  Best Uses

                  • Practicing

                  Comments about Martin Steel-String Backpacker Acoustic Guitar:

                  As far as this goes it is great for what it is. If you want a guitar that's portable, inexpensive and performs well, you'll be happy. Couple of points about this instrument is the neck is pretty thick so if you can't live with that you may be disappointed. Second, the overall tone is not as good as a full sized acoustic. As long as you don't expect these guitars to be more than what they are, you'll be happy. It has great value for the money!

                  Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

                  (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Excellent travel guitar and beater

                  Profile Image

                  By x

                  from x

                  About Me Experienced

                  Pros

                  • Stays In Tune

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Practicing

                    Comments about Martin Steel-String Backpacker Acoustic Guitar:

                    The good: Excellent beater guitar for on the go practice that is compact enough to go pretty much anywhere. It's durable... no cheapie 3/4 guitar would endure the beating this thing has had. I'm very protective of my gear and obsess with humidity and temperature control, but wanted something that I wouldn't have to even think about at all. I'm somehow less emotionally connected to this- perhaps since it looks nothing like a guitar. With that emotional distance comes the freedom to take this anywhere and play more. I've let the elements have a go at it. It's stood up under 95 degrees, 85% humidity, and whole workdays in my car. It's (surprisingly) undamaged every time I take it out of the bag and it's actually pretty close to in tune. The log-like neck is impervious and is still absolutely straight.

                    The rest: It is hard to hold. The neck is chunky, but I don't mind that. It sounds a bit better than you'd expect a little 2x4 with strings on it to sound. But it sounds enough like a guitar to get good practice in on the fly. An hour of picking at lunch makes an hour in the evening MUCH more productive. Some reviews said it was expressive, et cetera... not so sure about all that. For me it's there to get mechanics down on a new song or just get the hours in getting comfortable with licks I'm working on.

                    I pretty much fingerpick exclusively... and strumming or flatpicking this thing seems harder and more awkward than it should be because of the relative weight of the neck and headstock. Without your hand on the body it wants to swandive into the ground neck-first.

                    I'd buy this again if it were stolen or if it finally dies in the heat and humidity. But I honestly don't expect that it will.

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                    4.0

                    would buy again,

                    By Mike

                    from near Stevens Pass, Washington

                    About Me Experienced

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Fun To Play
                    • Stays In Tune

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                        Comments about Martin Steel-String Backpacker Acoustic Guitar:

                        I have a Martin Mini and the Backpacker has better tone quality and a good action

                        Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

                         
                        5.0

                        PLEASE...DO NOT EXAGGERATE THIS LITTLE GUITAR...

                        Profile Image

                        By Santino Gaeft

                        from Gresham, Oregon

                        About Me Professional Musician

                        Ask me a question

                        Pros

                        • Fun To Play
                        • Good Feel
                        • Rich Sound
                        • Stays In Tune

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Jamming
                          • Practicing

                          Comments about Martin Steel-String Backpacker Acoustic Guitar:

                          This little guitar is a wonder... I changed its guitar string #s 3-4-5-6 to extra light gauges(24-32-42-53) for strumming and plucking style and its sound good... The original guitar strings that was on it is ideal for a very mild and controlled strumming only... Using capo while playing will dramatically enhance the tone of this lovely backpacker... The only way to make it sound "big" or like a full size guitar is to play about a foot in front of a wall...(-:

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                          Displaying reviews 1-10

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