Backpacker review by Martin

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  • Sound: 6
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.3 (23 votes)
Martin: Backpacker

Sound — 6
Very bright sound, I'm assuming from combination of small body and lightweight strings. Not anything like the Dreadnought sound, but I rather like the tone. It actually seems closer to a clean electric sound -- vaguely like my Strat on the "Layla" riff (although it doesn't have enough frets for the higher notes). Not a loud guitar (hence the 6), but I usually play this one solo. I'm curious how loud the electric ones go.

Overall Impression — 8
I didn't buy it, so of course I love it! (Kidding.) But this is the perfect acoustic for someone like me Who doesn't really play a "conventional" acoustic style. Probably the best thing is the neck; yes, it's short, but it's perfect for rhythm work -- that great acoustic feel, without the ridiculous high action. The only thing I'd do differently buying another -- replacement or otherwise -- is getting the electronics upgrade so it could maybe be a bit louder.

Reliability & Durability — 10
It stayed in it's bag for several years before I got it, and since then it's had me. Considering my style of playing tends to be fast and forceful (and I always use the hardest picks I can find), I find it amazing it hasn't so much as popped a string. It actually feels more solidly built -- for lack of a better phrase -- than larger acoustics I've played like the Dreadnoughts or Gibson archtops. It's also traveled a bit, everywhere from Florida to Pennsylvania, without so much as a scratch. I wouldn't use it on a gig because of the quiet sound, but that's the only thing holding me back. With good amplication, I could probably even depend on this *as* a backup.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The action is a little high, but not bad; actually, it's the best of any acoustic I've played (I'm usually an electric player). It's a bit awkward sitting down, but standing up this is absolutely the most comfortable guitar I've ever played. The top-heaviness isn't a problem for me -- after all, I'm usually holding the neck anyway, since that's where the frets are; -) -- and it's extremely lightweight overall. I've had it on for several hours at a time and hardly even noticed.

Features — 10
I honestly don't know the exact specs; it's my dad's guitar that he got one year as a gift. Seems to be pretty standard Backpacker fare. 15-fret rosewood neck. Mine doesn't have the electronics, but I'd consider buying one.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    Having re-read my own review, I wish I was a drinker so I could say I was drunk when I wrote it... Anyway --
    TheGuitaristMan wrote: To me, it's one of those guitars you would get and mess around with it for a while, then it would be in the closet. For 200 bucks I would say say up a little more for a better travel guitar. This has a funny shape that is hard to play sitting down. It is a martin and is high in quality but the sound is odd. Kind of flat and it doesn't come with a hardcase so you can forget taking on rough trips or checking it at the airport, that is unless you want it to be completely decimated.
    Mine is actually my main guitar (well, my main 6-string anyway). It's small, lightweight, pretty comfortable when you get used to it, and I usually leave it lying around my room somewhere, so I can just pick it up any time and start playing, whenever I feel like it. It's actually a great studio guitar (inasmuch as a laptop with Audacity can be described as a "studio"); the tone nicely complements my other guitars (a Strat and a 12-string), and if you pitch-shift it down an octave, it also gets a neat bass sound.