|Average Customer Review: ( 27 customer reviews )
Write an online review and share your thoughts with other customers.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 found the following review helpful:
The one I keep going back to... Jul 04, 2011
I've had this guitar for about 4 years so I think I can offer some insight into it's pros/cons.
I bought this guitar as my first acoustic, primarily playing bass/electric guitar up until then. I was initially disappointed with the action and effort it took to play on my particular model but soon became inured to it. The sound is far more sonorous than it may initially seem. The body gives off a really strong resonance for some reason that creates an almost mystical sonic quality. That being said, it's a quiet guitar but perfect if you're just playing for yourself or with someone else.
Quality wise: my specific model came with somewhat unpolished fret edges that slightly hung off the edge of the fingerboard though they weren't much of a problem. The action was a bit high though one can get used to it pretty easily - the shop said it couldn't be lowered without creating buzzing. The neck has staid level all these years - no truss rod, no warping - pleasant surprise. So if nothing else the necks do stay in place if mine is any example of the average. It also stays in tune very well. (I use bronze extra lights)
The ONLY problem I have had with it was really my fault and is an obvious mistake: I had it inside on a very cold winter day and opened the doors and windows. Needless to say it did not like the temperature and humidity plummeting in the span of 2 minutes and a big pop and crack happened which made a noticeable tear in the body below the bridge. This surprisingly didn't affect the sound or playability at all though I eventually did get it fixed. In conclusion; yes, it's made of wood and this was expected. Pointless anecdote complete.
Throughout the years I've owned much better quality guitars yet for some reason I kept playing this one the most and ended up composing the majority of my songs using it. Eventually, I sold all my guitars except this one. I love fingerstyle picking and it works great on this guitar. It's been dropped, beaten on, and for the most part just treated poorly but still plays fine and sounds great. It's just so convenient to have a small guitar lying around that you don't need to plug in to an amp, I'm guessing this is why it spurs so much creativity. A good buy if you want a guitar that can travel and be around all the time just about anywhere.
26 of 28 found the following review helpful:
Very good guitar and not only for it'modest size. Nov 03, 2010
By Dnul Radiv
I received this little guitar today (October 2010), and started playing it right out of the box, or rather out of the gig bag. It arrived in perfect order after having travelled all the way from the US to Europe. All I had to do was tuning it of course. Included were the gig bag and two straps, one for the guitar and one for the gig bag, and various pamphlets were also included. It was supplied with Martin M170 strings. It is very well set up with perfect action according to my taste, and intonation is faultless.
I own a Martin D28, and really didn't expect too much of a sound from this baby (virtually), but was very pleasantly surprised. It sounds very martinesque, and being a fingerpicker it really doesn't matter if the sound isn't that powerful because it's very silvery and balanced. It really "outsounds" it's modest size, and projects the sound very well. I've owned other standard size acoustic guitars that don't have been that much louder and far less defined. Nevertheless, I intend to have it in the cabin of my boat with no need for a shouter, and the size makes it perfect for that.
It's well made with a satin finish, and though I usually prefer a harder shiny finish it really doesn't matter. I usually put Thomastik strings on all my guitars, but those Martin 170 strings are perfectly suited for this Backpacker so I won't need it this time. It's a little top heavy with that small body, but with the strap tied around the headstock that is easily corrected. I had some doubt about holding such a small instrument correctly as I'm used to embracing guitars like my D28 dreadnought, Gretsch G6122 Nashville Classic and G100 Synchromatic, much bigger instruments, but I had no problems with this one. It's just a matter of practice.
So have no fears in getting the Backpacker because of it's small (and very handy) size.
16 of 16 found the following review helpful:
If you REALLY need a small guitar... Oct 22, 2011
By Sunn Kram
The Backpacker is a fun instrument that really maximizes the sound and playability of something this size.
It is certainly well built. The clean lines and sturdy construction of a Martin acoustic is there. I've knocked mine around quite a bit camping and travelling, including a 23-day tour through Africa. Its holding up fine and still plays like new.
The tone is banjo-esque and sounds especially nice when finger-picked. You do get more volume than you might expect out of this small of a body but it is mostly on the higher end, don't expect much bass response.
Playability takes a bit of getting used to. First off, you really have to wear the strap and stand up as there is not enough body to support it on your leg or lap. Personally, I rest my elbow along the top and let my picking hand drop down. It's kind of a strange angle and not the most comfortable. Someone with shorter arms (I'm a tall guy) might be able to play it more traditionally. Also, the action sits just a tad high as a result of the short neck. Make sure to keep extra light guage strings on it to compensate. Overall its kind of awkward but if you play frequently you will adjust and find the good tones.
Mostly, I would just recommend asking yourself how much you really need a tiny guitar. If you are literally backpacking and carrying all of your stuff for a significant amount of time, I totally get it. However if you're just looking for something for basic travel and you don't want to take your nice guitar, why not consider getting a cheap, full-size and a gig bag? The portability is not that big of a deal unless you're hauling your stuff for miles. You also won't be devastated if it gets beat up or stolen. These days, you can get a very playable and decent sounding acoustic for $100 (thanks Asia!). The Backpacker costs twice that and is far less enjoyable as an instrument. I will most likely sell mine eventually and do exactly that.
19 of 20 found the following review helpful:
It's a Martin Sep 12, 2010
By Jeffrey Zahn
Got one of these little beauties about 10 years ago. It's a Martin, not much more needs to be said. It's a great little guitar; sounds great, though it's a little quiet due to the small body. The only drawback is the lack of a good leg rest position. It needs to be played standing or with the body up against the arm of the chair. Light, easy to carry, good feel. Good second guitar or if you have money for only one and need to move around a lot, this will not disappoint.
12 of 12 found the following review helpful:
Aviation Employee...Traveler Oct 29, 2011
By Martin A. Carroll
This guitar is not a toy.
I played the guitar for some thirty years. Most of that time was spent playing on my Guild F-50. Seven years ago, I got married. One year after that, I put the guitar down, and I haven't touched it since. I recently came to the conclusion that I am somewhat a fraction of the man I was when I made music. I decided to bring music back to the front burner. I work in the aviation industry and fly all over Europe - all the time. Carrying luggage is a drag, and there are restrictions regarding size and number. This Martin Backpacker is absolutely the best option available - short of hiring a master luthier to build for me a quality instrument in miniature.
After six years away from playing the guitar, skill, theory and creativity have eroded to a level which can only be described as sad.... Now, I've had this Martin Backpacker for just short of one month. It has already been to London, Oslo (twice), Tel Aviv and Dublin. I have no difficulty with carrying and safe stowing. Incidentally, the guitar is quite tough. I joke about it by calling it my "club." I would not want to be hit with it; I can assure you, and here is the relative comment: This guitar sounds pretty damned good - period. Don't expect the sound of an SJ-200 or something. It does serve the ear though - enough to get the job done while forced to be away from your first instrument...whatever that may be. The "job" to which I have just now referred is the task of practicing scales, learning and reawakening lost theory (see Desi Serna), playing (and singing to) a few old songs et cetera. Intonation is exact. It stays in tune. The action is just a bit high above the tenth fret, but this is not really a problem considering the overall benefit the Backpacker delivers. Martin does offer replacement saddle blanks at 1/16th inch increments that can be secured by calling their customer service number found on the documentation included in the guitar shipment. It's funny to hold at first, but you'll figure it out and make it work. Desire and necessity will conquer if you're serious about improving your guitar knowledge (or just plan having fun playing what you have mastered) while you're in places where your big "Super Jumbo" or J-45 shouldn't go.
The guitar is not manufactured in Pennsylvania. It is manufactured in Mexico - NOT China...may the saints be praised! The quality is refreshingly very good...I was quite impressed. The instrument comes with an equally impressive, padded, bag-style case that has a shoulder strap and attached pouch about 12x6x2 inches. If "Made in America" is important to you, don't let the Mexico thing turn you away. Hey, that's the "global" thing...I don't much like it, but that's where humanity is headed. At least it's not made in China..., if it were, I would not have made the purchase.
Pricing on this is ridiculous. Most places on the web price it at 299 USD. Stay clear of that ridiculousness. Now, I'm not some big fan of Amazon. Sometimes Amazon serves my interest; often it does not. However, I bought my Martin Backpacker from Amazon, and it arrived five days later -- shipping and tax free. I paid 167 USD flat. I've been nothing short of completely satisfied, and the price, in my view, was beyond fair. Like I said..., ridiculous.
The documentation supplied indicates that the instrument may be waxed using a paste-style wax. I plan to do the waxing when I finish this month's work schedule and return home. When I am contemplating how the wax might affect the instrument, I get this impression that it could then be submerged in water, removed, shaken and meticulously wiped down..., and it would suffer no appreciable damage. It's a pretty nice little tool - this Martin.
On a final note regarding this evaluation: Using only this little Martin, during those periods when not directly engaged in developing my fretboard theory, I have been working on my mastery of one very important instrumental piece which is close to my heart. Nearly one month of playing only the little Martin, the subject of this evaluation, I am quite close to mastery of "Embryonic Journey." It is a track on the old LP "Surrealistic Pillow." Now...how well do you think this guitar serves? [Update: Call me "Jorma Kaukonen"...it's been awhile since I wrote this review, but since I was writing another on a different product, I thought it would be fun to add, here, that I have mastery of "Embryonic Journey." I don't owe this to the Backpacker Guitar...I owe it to hard work, but this little guitar made it possible. Good stuff.]
Buy the guitar for yourself.
See all 27 customer reviews on Amazon.com