Martin Steel String Backpacker Review

Written by Mark Le. Last updated on September 2, 2023.
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Martin Steel String Backpacker Review

The Martin Backpacker is the ultimate travel companion for guitar enthusiasts. With its compact size and lightweight design, this guitar is truly a game-changer.

It may be small in stature, but it packs a punch when it comes to sound quality. The solid spruce top and tonewood back and sides ensure durability and a rich tone.

Whether you're on a camping trip or hitting the road, the Martin Backpacker is the perfect choice for musicians on the go.

Key Takeaways

  • The Martin Backpacker is a compact and travel-sized guitar that is lightweight and easy to play.
  • It features a solid spruce top and solid tonewood back and sides for a quality sound.
  • The unique contour neck shape and 24-inch scale length make it comfortable to play.
  • It is a popular choice for camping trips and travel due to its portability and durability.

Overview of the Martin Backpacker

The Martin Backpacker is a compact and lightweight travel-sized guitar that is easy to play and perfect for taking on the road. It is designed with the intention of providing guitarists with a portable and durable instrument that still maintains the quality and sound of a full-sized guitar.

While it may have a smaller body size, it still offers a 24-inch scale length and 15 frets, allowing for a comfortable playing experience. In terms of playing techniques, the Martin Backpacker can be played using standard guitar techniques such as strumming or fingerpicking.

Additionally, it offers customization options such as the ability to add a pickup for amplification or personalize the instrument with stickers or decals.

Overall, the Martin Backpacker is a versatile and convenient option for musicians on the go.

Design and Features of the Martin Backpacker

Featuring a unique contour neck shape and a 24-inch scale length, the Martin Backpacker is designed for easy playability and compact portability. This travel-sized guitar has several advantages and drawbacks to consider:


  • Lightweight and durable construction, making it perfect for traveling.
  • Fits easily into small spaces, making it convenient for road trips and camping.
  • Easy to carry with the included padded carry bag.
  • Fun and enjoyable to play, great for campfire sing-alongs and casual playing.


  • The sound may be slightly hollow compared to larger guitars.
  • Not a concert-quality instrument, but suitable for casual playing.
  • May not be the best choice for beginners due to its unique shape and small size.
  • Some users have found the guitar to be less portable and lightweight compared to other travel-sized options.

Overall, the Martin Backpacker offers easy playability and compact portability, making it a great option for experienced guitar players looking for a portable instrument.

Sound Quality and Performance of the Martin Backpacker

With its unique shape and small size, the Martin Backpacker delivers a sound that is slightly hollow compared to larger guitars. The compact design and lightweight construction of the Martin Backpacker contribute to its distinct sound quality.

While some may find the sound to be lacking in depth and resonance, others appreciate its unique tone that falls somewhere between a banjo and a guitar.

The sound of the Martin Backpacker may not be suitable for professional performances or recording sessions, but it serves its purpose well in different environments such as camping trips, road trips, or casual jam sessions.

Its portability and durability make it an ideal choice for on-the-go musicians who value convenience and ease of play.

Overall, the Martin Backpacker offers a decent sound quality for its size and is well-suited for casual playing in various settings.

Pros and Cons of the Martin Backpacker

Despite its compact size, the Martin Backpacker offers a unique tone that falls somewhere between a banjo and a guitar. This travel-sized guitar has its advantages and disadvantages.


  • Portable and lightweight design makes it easy to carry and fit into small spaces.
  • Durable construction ensures it can withstand the rigors of travel.
  • Easy to play and tune, making it suitable for beginners and experienced guitarists alike.
  • Comes with a padded carry bag for added protection during transportation.


  • The sound can be described as somewhat hollow, lacking the depth and resonance of larger guitars.
  • Not ideal for professional performances or recording purposes due to its compact size and tonal limitations.
  • Limited number of frets may restrict certain playing styles and techniques.
  • Although its unique tone is appealing to some, it may not be suitable for everyone's musical preferences.

Overall, the Martin Backpacker is a convenient and functional option for those seeking a portable guitar, but it may not meet the needs of professional musicians or those seeking a full-bodied sound.

Comparing the Martin Backpacker to Other Portable Guitars

The Martin Backpacker is often compared to other portable guitars for its unique tone and compact design. When comparing sound quality, the Backpacker offers a distinctive sound that falls somewhere between a banjo and a guitar. While it may not have the rich, full sound of a concert-quality instrument, it is still enjoyable to play and well-suited for campfire sing-alongs and camping trips.

In terms of durability, the Martin Backpacker is built to withstand the demands of travel. Its solid spruce top and tonewood back and sides make it sturdy and resistant to damage. Additionally, its lightweight construction and padded carry bag ensure that it can be easily transported without sacrificing protection.

Overall, the Martin Backpacker is a reliable and convenient option for those in need of a portable guitar.

Tips for Traveling With the Martin Backpacker

When traveling with the Martin Backpacker, musicians can ensure its safety and protection by using a padded carry bag. This lightweight and compact travel-sized guitar is perfect for musicians on the go.

Here are some tips for traveling with the Martin Backpacker:

  • Pack the guitar in a padded carry bag to protect it from any potential damage during transportation.
  • Consider bringing a small guitar stand to keep the guitar upright and stable when not in use.
  • Don't forget to pack extra strings and a tuner to ensure that you can easily replace any broken strings and keep the guitar in tune.
  • Research the best travel destinations for musicians and consider bringing your Martin Backpacker along to enjoy playing in new and exciting locations.

Maintenance and Care for the Martin Backpacker

When it comes to maintaining and caring for the Martin Backpacker, there are a few key tips to keep in mind.

One common issue that owners may encounter is the need to adjust the neck or truss rod. This can be done by a professional guitar technician to ensure proper alignment and playability.

Additionally, it's important to regularly clean the guitar, especially the strings, to prevent dirt and grime buildup. Using a soft cloth and a gentle guitar cleaner is recommended.

Another maintenance tip is to store the guitar in a suitable case or bag when not in use, as this will protect it from accidental damage.

Customer Reviews and Ratings of the Martin Backpacker

Customers have given the Martin Backpacker high ratings and positive reviews for its portability and sound quality. This compact and lightweight guitar is perfect for travelers and outdoor enthusiasts who want to play music on the go.

Here are some key points about the Martin Backpacker:

  • Customer satisfaction: Many reviewers are pleased with their purchase and find the guitar to be a great portable option.

  • Durability: The Martin Backpacker is made with solid tonewood back and sides, ensuring its durability and reliability.

  • Sound quality: Although not a concert-quality instrument, the guitar produces a unique sound that is described as something between a banjo and a guitar.

  • Easy to carry: The guitar comes with a padded carry bag, making it convenient to take it wherever you go.

Overall, the Martin Backpacker has received positive feedback from customers who appreciate its portability, durability, and sound quality.

Is the Martin Backpacker Right for You?

The portability and unique sound quality of the Martin Backpacker make it a suitable choice for travelers and outdoor enthusiasts seeking an alternative portable guitar.

The Martin Backpacker is known for its compact and lightweight design, making it easy to carry and play on the go.

Compared to the Martin LX1, the Backpacker may not be as portable or lightweight, but it still offers impressive portability.

Customers have praised the guitar for its durability and ease of play, making it a popular choice for camping trips and road trips.

While the sound may be slightly hollow, overall, owners are happy with the guitar's performance.

It is important to note that the Martin Backpacker is best suited for those looking for a portable option and may not be ideal as a first guitar.

Article written by Mark Le
An enthusiastic and charismatic Christian – dedicated to living a life of full service to the ministry through helping churches in bridging the gap between the Gospel and Technology.

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