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  • Question about the Martin Backpacker...

    Simple question...

     

    Will I hate it?

     

    A little info before you answer... I need a guitar small enough to throw into the vehicle and not get in anyones way on a family trip (there was no room left in the Jeep on this last trip). I don't care about tone, or even playability, and I don't care about volume. I just want to be able to play quietly, whenever I get the urge to pick up a guitar. Essentially, I need a fretboard and strings that can go anywhere lol. So will I hate the Martin Backpacker? Is there another alternative for not a lot of money? Share your knowledge with me!

     

    Thanks.


  • #2

    The most common complaint (besides that it doesn't sound very good) is that it is awkward to hold and play.

    A 3/4 sized guitar like the Baby Taylor or a true parlor might be a better choice.    Ukuleles are becoming very popular and I travel with my mandolin a lot (it fits in any airline overhead bin and forces me to practice it which I don't do enough).    There is also that Silent Guitar thingie - never played one so I don't know how you would like it.

    As far as the Backpacker - play it before you buy.

    Comment


    • Chad4751
      Chad4751 commented
      Editing a comment

      I've read that it's annoying to play, and I actually did think that I could just do something similar to the Yamaha Silent guitar, with the top and bottom pieces that making playing much easier (or at least it looks that way, haven't played one either). 

       

      But I just don't have room for a very bulky guitar, so even the Yamaha is a bit too bulky (the bottom half doesn't come off, to my knowledge) and $550 for a guitar I'll use maybe twice a year seems silly to me. I do like the concept, though. And the same goes for the 3/4 guitars. Cheaper, but still too much bulk for this particular use. But thank you for your suggestions!


    • Opa John
      Opa John commented
      Editing a comment

      I'm with Freeman on this one. Get yourself a uke, 3/4 guitar, or a mandolin.

      I'm sorry if this bursts your bubble, but I honestly can't think of one redeeming quality about the Martin backpacker other than its size, and even that has its drawbacks.......you can't play one without a strap on it, and when you do it still sounds like crap.

      Somebody must be buying them, though, or Martin wouldn't be still making them. To me it's just another toy guitar that has no practical use. But......it's your money......do what you want with it. I'd think long and hard about it if I were you.

       


    • acousticdepot
      acousticdepot commented
      Editing a comment

      Freeman Keller wrote:

      The most common complaint (besides that it doesn't sound very good) is that it is awkward to hold and play.

      A 3/4 sized guitar like the Baby Taylor or a true parlor might be a better choice.    Ukuleles are becoming very popular and I travel with my mandolin a lot (it fits in any airline overhead bin and forces me to practice it which I don't do enough).    There is also that Silent Guitar thingie - never played one so I don't know how you would like it.

      As far as the Backpacker - play it before you buy.


      I love my baby taylor.  Comes with a nice soft case.  Fits in a overhead on a plane ... or hangs in the plane's garmet closet.  The only thing I won't do with it, is put a capo on it.


  • #3
    A uke is a lot more satisfying. Tune it like the first 4 strings of a guitar but up an octave.....make that high D string up two octaves. All guitar chords work that way.
    "I don't want to be immortalized through my work. I want to be immortalized by not dying." Woody Allen

    Comment


    • DeepEnd
      DeepEnd commented
      Editing a comment

      I heard a guy playing a Washburn Rover a few years ago and it sounded okay from a distance. I didn't have a chance to play it though. That said, I'd look for a parlor.


  • #4

    Bluntly: I LURVE mine. It's exactly what's printed on the tin. It's a handy, robust, convenient, simple and compact six stringed instrument. Those who mistake it for a Dread or even OM usually hate it. It's not a Drad, not a OM, not even a 0000. But it's small, lightweight, rugged and a perfect paddle, should you get lost upstream without one.

    There are cons: It sounds not like a Dread, but more like a cross between a banjo, uke, guitar ... and whatever you find in terms of stringed instruments. It sounds nice, but not like a full size Martin. It only takes extra light strings. No trussrod. The fretboard is flat. Flat. Really flat. You can't play it without the strap.

    But should you be okay with that ... you won't find a better travel companion. Mine has beeen countless hours on my motorbikes, travelled three continents and played many a sessions where most attending musos were first baffled by it's diminuitive size and later by it's clear voice.

    Anything smaller than a Backpacker has to be an Uke (maybe another good thing ... try something new with an Uke or a Mando!). Bigger is not better. If you're restricted in space or weight (or both, like on a motorbike) even a Baby Taylor or Little Martin (or any other small guitar) is too bulky. If you want to go to the ISS, by the way, the Backpacker was the first guitar in space...


    So, some hate it - with reason, I love it - with reason. It is what it is. There is nothing better than it. There is nothing like it.

    .

    Comment


    • #5

      Chad4751 wrote:

      Simple question...

       

      Will I hate it?

       

      A little info before you answer... I need a guitar small enough to throw into the vehicle and not get in anyones way on a family trip (there was no room left in the Jeep on this last trip). I don't care about tone, or even playability, and I don't care about volume. I just want to be able to play quietly, whenever I get the urge to pick up a guitar. Essentially, I need a fretboard and strings that can go anywhere lol. So will I hate the Martin Backpacker? Is there another alternative for not a lot of money? Share your knowledge with me!

       

      Thanks.


      Probably.

       

      I have a Lil Martin and a GS mini Taylor here at the house.

      The GS was about 500 bucks and the Lil Martin was about 250 back in the day.

       

      _____________________________________
      Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.

      Join Date: Aug 2001
      Location: N. Adams, MA USA
      Posts as of Jan 10th 2013: 82,617

      Comment


      • #6
        http://www.etsy.com/listing/152065600/custom-designed-acoustic-only-pocket?ref=sr_gallery_5&ga_search_query=pocket+gui tar&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=US&ga_search_t ype=all
        Hello, I am KuJoZilla, and it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance.


        Merry Melodies

        Comment


      • #7
        What are we at? +5 for getting a uke? They're tuned as such that they essentially a guitar capoed at the 5th fret but with no bass strings. They're also fun to play leads on and they sound a little like a gut stringed mandolin. You can even get a hardshell case for one, too.
        Gear:
        2013 Official Luthier's Forum Medium Jumbo (Western red cedar/mahogany)
        2012 McKnight McUke (soprano ukulele, redwood/mahogany)
        2010 Martin D-16GT
        2006 Larrivee OM-03R
        1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster (natural ash finish)
        1989 Kramer Stryker
        197? Epiphone Texan FT-160N

        Comment


        • theguitarjournal
          theguitarjournal commented
          Editing a comment

          I just got a Martin Backpacker this weekend.  I would agree with several of the comments here:  If you're expecting a full acoustic guitar, it won't work.  But if you want something to take camping, then it will probably work. 

          I'm happy with mine so far (I'm on day 4 of owning it...).  The main value to me is that I don't have to worry about it getting ruined at the beach, stuffed in the back of the car, etc.  

          I posted my first impression here, and included a video where you can hear how it sounds:

           http://www.theguitarjournal.com/5-first-thoughts-upon-receiving-a-martin-backpacker/

           

          Jesse


        • Tony Burns
          Tony Burns commented
          Editing a comment

          Honestly they suck !

          I picked up a Yamaha Guitele -their basically a 6 string uke -

          no learning curve !

          and you see them every now and then on musicians friend for 69 bucks on special .

          I also bought a foam hard backed case for 30 bucks on amazon -so all together it was 100 bucks !

          very small easy carry on a plane --- Mines going with me this winter !


      • #8
        If you don't care about tone, volume, or playability, it's probably fine. I personally hate it.

        I bought my first travel guitar a few months ago. I thought I was going to end up with the Backpacker, until I tried it out. On top of having poor tone, volume, and playability, I couldn't find a comfortable way to hold it. I ended up with a Yamaha JR2. It's cheaper, sounds better, is much more comfortable to hold, and it's only a little bigger than the Martin.
        Bullwhips, blowguns, ropedarts, guitar, and chinchillas:http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeC7RW5RQxvVdM89dVNuEeQ/videos

        Comment


        • Graeca
          Graeca commented
          Editing a comment

          A girl I ran sound for, about a year ago, travels with one of these Apple Creek instruments...plugged into a Baggs PADI, and then the PA, it sounded really great...unplugged, it's fairly quiet, but is nicely balanced between bass and treble.

          Better, IMABO, than a Backpacker, @ about $130.

          travel guitar


        • rhino55
          rhino55 commented
          Editing a comment

          primal1 wrote:
          If you don't care about tone, volume, or playability, it's probably fine. I personally hate it.

          I bought my first travel guitar a few months ago. I thought I was going to end up with the Backpacker, until I tried it out. On top of having poor tone, volume, and playability, I couldn't find a comfortable way to hold it. I ended up with a Yamaha JR2. It's cheaper, sounds better, is much more comfortable to hold, and it's only a little bigger than the Martin.

          How do you like it?  

          I bought my daughter (6 about to be 7) one for her birthday over the weekend.













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