Martin & Co Steel String Backpacker Guitar

Martin & Co Steel String Backpacker Guitar

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Steel String Backpacker Guitar, Other Acoustic Guitar from Martin & Co in the Backpacker series.

14 user reviews
Prices starting at $230 Average price: $230

Martin & Co Steel String Backpacker Guitar tech. sheet

  • Manufacturer: Martin & Co
  • Model: Steel String Backpacker Guitar
  • Series: Backpacker
  • Category: Other Acoustic Guitars
  • Added in our database on: 11/08/2002

We have no technical specifications for this product
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Buy new Martin & Co Steel String Backpacker Guitar

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Martin & Co Steel String Backpacker Guitar user reviews

Average Score:3.9( 3.9/5 based on 14 reviews )
 3 reviews21 %
 7 reviews50 %
 3 reviews21 %
 1 user review7 %

MGR/MattG's review"Martin Backpacker"

Martin & Co Steel String Backpacker Guitar
The <b>Martin Backpacker</b> is Martin's answer for the guitarist on the go that's made to withstand the elements. As it's name suggests, the guitar is made for backpackers and campers. This is the six string, non-electric model. It has Mahogany laminate back and solid braced top. The neck is also mahogany. There is a nylon string and a mandolin version of the backpacker.

I purchased the guitar used a few years ago because I was heavy into hiking and backpacking and wanted to be able to take a guitar to write. I wanted something cheap and portable enough that I wouldn't have to worry about keeping it safe.

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My favorite thing about this guitar is that it weighs less than two and a half pounds. It's only a little more than three pounds when it's in the gig back so its not a lot of extra weight to pack with you. It sounds pretty good for such a small and non traditional bodied guitar. To me it sounds slightly like a banjo. It plays in tune and isn't hard to get in tune. It has decent tuners and with a little help plays pretty well.

You have to use a strap to play the guitar because the body is so small it can't be supported on your body. I would love it to be a little louder but I really can't complain.

The quality of construction is solid on the backpacker. It has decent tuners and the wood is solid. I have hiked many miles with the guitar banging on my backpack or breaking my fall. It has spent nights in very cold weather and days baking in the hot car. Even through all this, the guitar still stays and plays in tune.

Bottom line, this guitar works great for what it is designed to do. I do not recommend this guitar for beginners to learn on. I also don't recommend it to those looking to own a Martin and enticed by the $200 dollar price tag. There are many other $200 dollar guitars that sound better, but no guitar will work better for a light and durable camping guitar.

This review was originally published on
MGR/Kupono Mc12/29/2002

MGR/Kupono Mc's review"Martin Backpacker"

Martin & Co Steel String Backpacker Guitar
I purchased this guitar on line for $150.

The Backpacker is small and easy to travel with. It comes with a gig bag which is handy and so far even after 9/11 I have had no problem with airlines allowing me to carry it on. The sound is great for it's size which is the key. The natural wood looks really nice.

I was bothered by the quiet sound at first but after playing a Baby Taylor I realized what I had. The Taylor sounded a lot like the Backpacker and seems like it is quite a bit larger because of the shape of the body.

The construction is great BUT when I recieved it the action was too high for me and I had a bit of trouble with a few chords muting. An adjustment by a local dealer for $35 and now it is great.

I feel that the Backpacker is exactly what it is cracked up to be. Travelling from Hawaii to Washington D.C with this baby was a joy. When I was bored at the airport or anywhere else I broke it out and had a blast. Price, quality, style...if it is small and value you're looking for this is the one.

This review was originally published on
heads on fire11/27/2011

heads on fire's review"Plays well, but not ergonomic."

Martin & Co Steel String Backpacker Guitar
Made in Mexico
Braced, solid tonewood top
Solid mahogany neck, back, and sides
Nice chrome-enclosed tuners
Weighs less than 2-1/2 lbs.
Great for traveling or camping!


This guitar is easy enough to play. The neck and the string tension feel like other high-end Martin guitars. The Backpacker is very easy to take traveling, camping, or on other activities due to its small size. However, that small size is a bit awkward to hold, as it doesn't rest on the leg very well. The side that would rest on your lap is a smooth edge with no contours, so it wants to slide right off. It would benefit well from a design similar to the Steinberger leg rest.

Also, the top strap button is in an awkward location, so when holding the guitar with a strap attached, the Backpacker tilts forward slightly, and the neck will dive due to the high-quality tuning machines being a bit heavier. Ergonomics are not this guitar's strong suit, but it plays well enough to bring the rating in this category overall to a 7.


The Backpacker sounds like a guitar. A very small, bright guitar, with not a lot of volume, but it sounds like a guitar, and not a toy or a ukulele, like some other small travel-sized guitars. It is certainly not lacking in note definition, but it doesn't project well, and the sustain is hampered by the small size and odd shape.


This is a good guitar for campers and travelers. And, as odd as this is to admit in a guitar review, the Backpacker smells wonderful! However, I feel like the Baby Taylor guitar is a better choice overall, as its shape gives it more projection, higher quality tone, and much better ergonomics. For the traveling guitarist on a budget, the Backpacker is the right move, but if I had more cash, I'd go with the Baby Taylor. The Backpacker's shape is unique and instantly identifiable, but it may be the downfall of this guitar due to practicality reasons!

moosers's review

Martin & Co Steel String Backpacker Guitar
The Martin & Co Steel String Backpacker Guitar was made in the USA and is a pretty unique guitar. It is extremely slender and small and is designed for players who want to bring a guitar on the go without the hassles of lugging around a heavy guitar. This guitar isn't acoustic/electronic, so it has no pick up or setting controls.


The neck of the Martin & Co Steel String Backpacker Guitar is pretty fluid. Like just about all Martin guitars, it is easy to play and light on the fingers. This guitar is extremely light and has a unique body shape to allow it to fit in small places and bring around easily. Getting a nice sound is pretty easy, but this definitely doesn't have the full bodied sound that a normal Martin guitar will have.


The sound quality of the Martin & Co Steel String Backpacker Guitar is pretty good, but is not suitable for recording really. It is designed more for practicing and playing on the go rather than live shows or recording. This being said, this guitar sounds pretty cool for such a small and unique shaped guitar. I use when I can't bring my dreadnought Martin around, but it will never be able to replace my dreadnought Martin in terms of tone.


I've been using the Martin & Co Steel String Backpacker Guitar for about five years and have found it to be great for what it is aimed at being used for. I would never record or play a show with this guitar, but when I go on vacation, this guitar comes in extremely handy. The price of this guitar is very cheap, so you don't have to worry too much about it getting some nicks on the go. Overall, a great guitar for traveling with and I recommend it to anyone who want to bring a guitar on the go. Where you sacrifice some tone quality, it is made up for in terms of convenience.

Martin & Co Steel String Backpacker Guitar images

  • Martin & Co Steel String Backpacker Guitar
  • Martin & Co Steel String Backpacker Guitar
  • Martin & Co Steel String Backpacker Guitar
  • Martin & Co Steel String Backpacker Guitar

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Other names: steel string backpacker guitar, steelstringbackpackerguitar, backpacker acoustic electric, backpackeracousticelectric, gbpc2backpacker, gbpc 2 backpacker, gbpc2 backpacker

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