Martin Backpacker Steel String Travel Guitar

Martin-Steel-String-Backpacker-Guitar_xIf you are a musician who enjoys such trips as camping or backpacking and traveling in general, you know how hard it can be to keep your fingers in practice with an instrument like a guitar. Only a few people I’ve ever known have been crazy enough to take their full size guitar with them on a prolonged trip. Not only is it terribly heavy and difficult to board or carry, but the ever-changing humidity and temperatures can reek havoc on a nice instrument. And if you are thinking about boarding your expensive guitar on a plane, think again. There are way too many people that have horror stories about guitars being broken or badly damaged en route.

There is a better way to travel and stay in practice at the same time. With the Martin Backpacker Steel String Travel Guitar you can keep your fingers in practice and your full size guitar safe for your trip. However if you’ve never tried one of these travel guitars, you might be thinking that their sound quality or action is poor.  I can assure you that the sound quality of the Martin Backpacker Steel String Travel Guitar is pleasing and the action is pretty descent albeit maybe slightly high on the steel string version.

Is it really loud?  um ….no!  The Steel version might be slightly louder than the Nylon version but it’s more tinny-sounding, ie. not as warm as the nylon-string version which is a warmer, richer alternative.  These travel guitars are sturdy and beautiful, containing the traditional Martin workmanship that one has come to expect from the Martin brand.

These compact guitars have become one of my favorite parts about sitting around a campfire in the summer.  Again, it’s not super loud but fine for intimate settings where your just playing for yourself or a few people.

It has truly become a wonderful companion to the many trips I take, both backpacking and camping. I would strongly recommend this Martin Backpacker Steel String Travel Guitar to anyone who enjoys playing music on camping trips or when traveling.  Even if you are a serious musician, you can have some serious fun with this compact, durable Martin guitar.

Don’t take a chance by bringing your full size guitar with you on a trip. There’s just too much that can possibly go wrong. Instead invest in one of Martin’s backpacker guitars to take with you instead. You will love the size and weight of this wonderful traveling guitar. Plus you will keep you fingers limber so you won’t miss a note when your vacation ends!

Published in Acoustic Travel Guitars

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  1. David Sung

    I got this before the Washburn Rover and loved it. At over twice the price of the Washburn its has a touch of quality about it. I have to agree with the reviewer on this guitar. It is a beautiful traveling instrument from Martin and it oozes quality. If you get it with the built in pickup the applications for it is limitless. Almost impossible to play it without the supplied strap though.. ( ;

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  3. ChrisC

    So here it is. I’ve never felt any GAS for this guitar, possibly due to a combination of some negative reviews I’ve read and the fact that it makes me think of the McNally Strumstick (I’ve got what appears to be a one-string prototype of the strumstick that my aunt bought in Manhattan many moons ago–if I had any doubts about its pedigree, the signature and hand-written number inside the soundhole would erase them). I almost wish I knew someone that owned one of these things so I could hear it for myself. Maybe that would help change my mind.

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  5. JBoesel

    Five plus years and still love it. Important you shave the saddle about 1/16″ to fix action. Also mount the strap on the neck base for maximum playability. I also have a Washburn Traveler. Tough to choose which is better. If you travel or practice scales while watching TV one of these is a must have.

    OK the truth, I hardly play full size guitars any more. 🙂

  6. Wandering Musician Post author

    Thanks for sharing Phobus, are you referring to the clip rest for the backpacker? I’ve never used it. It would probably help as I sitting down with it does present a issue with control. I found it easier to play standing with the strap but that’s not always ideal either.

    Then again, I don’t really feel like lugging around another piece of gear to play the thing. That sort of defeats the purpose I think if portability is key.

    I love the look of those Sigma’s, never tried one though. I believe they are 3/4 size guitars though. It’s sort of hard to compare them to the backpackers sound because really they are just slightly smaller guitars. The backpacker is really a different animal all together. I think comparing it to the Washburn Rover a more realistic comparison.

    Thanks again for commenting 🙂

  7. Phobus Grunt

    I researched TGs a fair bit and was close to buying a Washburn Rover when a friend offered to swap his Martin BP for my Ovation copy full size. I jumped. I read the reviews and they were mixed and the body look wasn’t my cup of tea but the action is great and overall quality to match. But the sound.. well lets just say I had wished for more and after trying a couple of other TGs in and below its price range I reckon its sound is not good enough in comparison. The Sigma T12 and T15 eat it alive and look better they have a genuine padded “hard” case, not the flimsy bag that Martin provide with its BP… The big difference is that now in 2014 you can pick up a Martin BP for less than $150 barely used or even cheaper with a scuff or too but barely any real fret board wear… Even new ones are under $200 on Amazon!! Also there is an aftermarket device (actually several) that are worth investigating for the Martin and other ergonomically ridiculous guitars!! lol… It attaches to the guitar body and enables better control and as a bonus it stiffens the body and improves the sound.. I cant remember the name of the device I liked but I will post it later… Don’t get the acrylic version it is inferior and breaks easily… good luck.. 🙂

  8. Lawrence L

    I have had my MBP steel string for many years and it has held up well. It still looks great. And it was cheap enough.
    Beyond that, the action terrible, it is impossible to tune properly and keep it in tune. Regardless of strings used.
    And, oh yes, it sounds terrible.
    I am frankly embarrassed to use this in public.
    It is probably of average awkwardness to hold and play for a guitar player. If you’re also a uke or mandolin player, you’ll have an easier time adjusting, but then just travel with those.
    I am looking for something else.

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