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MARTIN BACKPACKER TRAVEL GUITAR - ACOUSTIC 11GBPC
|Price:||$219.00 & FREE Shipping|
|You Save:||$155.00 (41%)|
- Solid top Mahogany neck, back, and sides Enclosed chrome tuners Lightweight, small size
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This item: MARTIN BACKPACKER TRAVEL GUITAR - ACOUSTIC 11GBPC
Martin Classical Backpacker - Nylon String B000KYMT82
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|Sold By||8th Street Music||Amazon.com||GearTree||Amazon.com|
|Number Of Strings||6||6||6||6|
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Top Customer Reviews
1. Wants an instrument that "feels right" - meaning the frets are in the right place, the intonation is accurate, the scale is correct, etc.
2. Wants an instrument that you can literally throw into a duffel back or backpack and carry into remote places. (Many American Servicemen I know took them on deployments.)
The tradeoff is that the teeny-tiny sound-box produces a small, tinny noise that is weak in volume and almost metallic in tone - the closest thing I can think of to describe what it SOUNDS like is one of those old hand-cranked jack-in-the-boxes.
It DOES play right, though, and if you want an instrument that will keep your fingers in shape, is decent to practice on, and you CAN take it anywhere you can sling it over your shoulder - then the Martin Backpacker is right up your alley.
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.Read more ›
It's a bit hard to get used to, as the guitar wants to twist and turn in your hands, and it can't be rested on your leg when you play sitting. You have to use the strap, even when seated, and you kinda rest your forearm and elbow on the "side" of the guitar to offset the weight of the neck. Once you get the hang of it your hand will fall right over the strings and the instrument becomes very playable. I got mine because of a shoulder injury, and when held properly I don't have to reach over the top of the guitar as my elbow is pretty much right at my side. And while the neck is a bit thick, it plays and feels much like a normal size guitar.
I took the advice of another here and put Martin Silk & Steel strings on it. Wow, what a difference. While it doesn't sound like a D-18, it really sounds like a guitar now. Go ahead and play it with the included strings, but I highly recommend changing over to hear the difference. You'll lose just a bit of tone and sustain from the steel strings, but in my opinion it's well worth the tradeoff. That banjo sound, which some like and some hate, is gone now.
The guitar seems to be made extremely well, and looks like you could use it to paddle down the river, beat off a few wild animals yet still play tunes when you get back to camp.
I gave it 5 stars for what it is, and I would not recommend this as an only guitar or a first guitar for a beginner or child. It really is made for travel, to have as another unique guitar for your collection or just to have fun with. However, once my shoulder healed I still pick it up a lot.
Do watch our for cheap knockoffs that look like the Backpacker. The Martin is made of all solid tonewoods and sounds like it. It's not a toy.
Technically the sound is a little thin and holding it can be difficult to master. In addition I think most people have a bit of a post-purchase "why did I buy this!" But once you have played it a bit and especially after you have travelled with it I'm sure you will find it to be indispensable. Personally I actually have begun to like the sound of the guitar - it's quite unique and can offer all sorts of nuances if you take the time to find them out. So I often find myself at home using the Martin rather than my `good' guitar.
I have mostly used the guitar when travelling interstate for work and on the odd overseas holiday. Its size and sturdy construction mean it can put up with all sorts of treatment and still provide great sound. I have also have a Yamaha Silent guitar which has been a few places but I always find myself coming back to the little Martin. It feels much nicer to play and is so easy to carry about. Combine this with a good selection of sheet music in PDF on my laptop and I'm pretty much set for any destination.
The only advice I'd offer a new owner is to have a look at the strings. I got some really nice sounds from the guitar using Augustine Blues which were well worth the price. I also met a guy who said that pretty much any Flamenco guitar string was worth trying on the Martin.
Also take the time getting used to using the strap before you go the `surgery' option and start using knee rests or attachable frames. It will feel very strange for quite a while until you get used to how it feels. One word of warning - once you get it right don't let anyone adjust your strap ;o).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Plays very easily. stays in tune and intonation is perfect. I have played it many times in front of a large group, hotel lobbys, etc. It.s just fine and a lot of fun. Read morePublished 3 months ago by dobie
I am doing the Pacific Crest trail this year and I can't imagine hiking for 6 months without a guitar. So a friend bought me this online. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Jason M.
Five stars for what it is - a travel guitar. It is also a fine instrument in its own right, and capable of fascinating sounds. Read morePublished 16 months ago by T. Hamel
I bought this not for travel, but to have a guitar to stick in the corner of my bedroom without taking up much room, so I could pick it up when inspiration strikes. Read morePublished 21 months ago by John D. Ramsey
We gave one of these to our son who loves to play guitar.... so he would be able to bring it everywhere.. which he does. Read morePublished 22 months ago by A. Follansbee
The guitar is a Martin, you cannot expect something bad from it. The tunning lasts for long time and the calibration is perfect, giving you good chords/notes across the entire... Read morePublished on December 10, 2013 by HUGO ALARCON
It is what it is. That's the best description I can give this. I've had mine for about a year and although I hated it at first I have to admit it's probably the guitar I play the... Read morePublished on December 5, 2013 by kevin crimmins