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

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

heads on fire 11/27/2011

Martin & Co Steel String Backpacker Guitar : heads on fire's user review

« Plays well, but not ergonomic. »

  • Like
  • Tweet
  • Submit
  • Email
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!