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Rating and Reviews: Martin GCBC Backpacker

Keep this guitar on hand at all times. It's light, compact, and made of solid wood that delivers a sound bigger than it's body would have you guess.

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Value
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The Wow Factor
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Martin GCBC Backpacker Customer Review submitted February 11, 2009

By a customer from cox.net
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
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Value
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The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Nearly 40 years of guitar
Music Style: Primarily classical, some folk & rock
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VERIFIED BUYER
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Sound: The classical-style Backpacker doesn't have the rich sound of a quality standard classical instrument. However, it does have a delightful, almost lute-like tone, which was a very pleasant surprise to me since I primarily play Renaissance music. You need good nails to evoke the tone, but it's quite rewarding and noticeable even with a multi-instrument group. Feature: Nicely padded case was included with a handy zipper pocket on the side. The included strap is somewhat uncomfortable (the nylon webbing is a bit rough) but it does the job of supporting the Backpacker properly. Ease of Use: Once the strap was properly adjusted, I found this to be a very comfortable, easy to play instrument. It's most definitely not similar to a normal guitar, but I adjusted quickly. I'm also impressed that additional bridges may be purchased if custom adjustments are desired. Quality: For all its quirkiness, I really like this guitar. However, I do wish the finish was a bit more...generous. It feels just a bit rough, but I'm used to a fully-finished body. The neck is also (relatively) unfinished but is already gaining a patina just from being played. The wood itself is quite nice and the mechanics work well. The tuning stabilized in just a few weeks. Value: It's a Martin! Manufacturer Support: I had an inquiry shortly after my guitar arrived, and contacted Martin directly. I received a useful, informative reply by email the next day. Well done! The Wow Factor: It travels well, which is what it's designed for. I have an excellent, concert-quality guitar but do NOT wish to do casual travel with it. Now I can leave my baby and home, safe and sound. Overall: I think the Backpacker is perfect for its designed purpose. It's fun to play, gets interesting reactions, and has a very pleasing, if unexpected, voice.
49 of 49 people (100%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"The Ultimate Portable Classical Guitar" submitted August 16, 2008

By a customer from kj7l.net
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Musical Background: Multi-instrumentalist / Indie Composer / Producer
Music Style: Varied
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Sound: The Martin Steel-string Backpackers have a "tinny" sound due to the small body, but this Classical Backpacker sounds like a Lute. Definitely does NOT sound like a Ukelele! The sound is good enough for what this guitar is designed to be, which is a very portable classical guitar. Feature: Bag, Martin-logoed strap. The bag is great, it has a zippered compartment for accessories and includes a shoulder strap. There is a little extra material inside to protect the headstock. Ease of Use: Okay, this is a portable guitar. Very solid, and as one might expect it is neck-heavy. Using the included strap is a must for any seated or standing position. Properly adjusted you can get a good Classical Guitar position when seated. The tuners work very well, they are smooth and I like that they are sealed. The 24" scale neck is excellent for serious practice--I have large hands so this is a critical point. It may take time to get the proper right-hand Classical position, but it can be done. Quality: The Martin quality is all there, very meticulous fretwork and mine had no defects at all. Value: For the price this is an absolutely excellent! I play electric and steel-string acoustic and wanted to dive into Classical playing. This was perfect for me. Manufacturer Support: I have never deal with Martin, there was never a need to. The Wow Factor: Everyone who has seen this Classical Backpacker is very interested in it. Overall: For learning and practicing Classical this is a great first choice for me. The alternative was to wait and purchase a midrange standard Classical, so I saved a lot of money and time by getting this first. Now, I can pursue my Classical studies and when I'm ready I can invest in a really nice Classical!
28 of 30 people (93.33%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Martin Backoacker guitar" submitted June 8, 2014

By Gwen H in Easton, PA
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Musical Background: Hobbyist
Music Style: Country & pop rock
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Overall: Bought the Martin backpacker guitar a month ago, but was hesitant about the quality. Much to my surprise, I am pleased to report that it is a great little guitar with a decent sound. It is handy to carry around with the included well-made case, and easy to play with the low action. I own a full size classical guitar, but prefer to pull out the backpacker for the ease of carrying and playability. Zzounds has great service, and I got the backpacker the next day in perfect condition.
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"product and zzsounds review" submitted April 3, 2012

By Michael Leung
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Musical Background: Guitar and drums. Play for worship.
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Overall: zzsounds provides good service. quick turn around and shipment to me.i ordered the nylon strings version. so, it takes 2-3 days for the strings to be stretched. the guitar sounds good for the price you pay. best price at zzsounds. you have to get used to the new way of playing as the shape won't let you play in the traditional way. just put on the strap and you will get used to it in 2-3 days. its great for travel, and to play in your bed...
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"Backpacker Guitar does everything I want it to!!" submitted January 8, 2012

By a customer from earthlink
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Sound
Features
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Musical Background: Jaming a Bass and guitars at home for fun.
Music Style: Rock, progressive, blues, country.
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Sound: This is a suprisingly large sound for such a compact acoustic instrument. Feature: everything seems to be just what it is supposed to be. In todays world, that is more than I could have asked for. Size, sound, feel and appreance are all great!! Ease of Use: This played great from the begining. I did find that without the strap, just resting the guitar on my knee, this was uncomfortable, but once I was standing and playing it was fine. Time will tell. Quality: Since this is brand new, I cannot tell you how many years it will be last, but if it is anything like my other Martin product, it will be fine forever. Value: Yes. Manufacturer Support: I have not contacted martin since getting this product, but if they are as responsive as their product is made well, I am sure I will do fine. The Wow Factor: I have always wanted one, now I have one. Life is better today than yesterday! Overall: This guitar serves a purpose. If I lost it, I would most likely replace it.
6 of 7 people (85.71%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Great little guitar particular with a Compadre" submitted October 7, 2012

By Douglas T in Lafayette, LA
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Musical Background: 40 year player but recently began classical training
Music Style: Blues mostly but now learning classical
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Overall: I bought this guitar for a practice guitar. I bought a Compadre to help me position it. The combination makes the guitar very playable and a nice practice instrument. I now take it on most planes I fly. Quality was very good and playability was excellent from the beginning. Overall it was better than I expected.
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"Wife loves it" submitted January 12, 2014

By Trent Rowe in Winter haven, FL
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Musical Background: Percussionist since 1955
Music Style: Small group, big band, Dixie, show pit orchestras, Old timey, bodhran, other hand drums.
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Overall: The Martin backpacker Guitar with nylon strings is great. My wife loves the sound and it is easy on the fingers.it does take a bit of fiddling to find the right balance but after that it is great.
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"Amazing classical on-the-go" submitted May 4, 2014

By a customer from me.com
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Overall: Nice big fretboard, surprising sound for such a portable instrument. All solid woods, definitely a quality product.
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"This is exactly what I need !" submitted April 1, 2012

By Igor Polk in Hayward, CA
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Musical Background: 30 year guitar amature who wants to play well
Music Style: classical, jazz.
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Overall: I was pleasantly surprised that this particular kind has "classical" size neck ! That is what I play. I understand that there is also narrow neck guitar on sale.The guitar is very small and conveniently fits everywhere, but the fingerboard is of standard classical size which is exactly what I need to parctice. The shape is perfect, I can even play this guitar sitting at drivers sit of my car. One has to use the belt, otherwise it is not possible to hold the guitar, but that is find. I have read in some reviews that this guitar does not sound good. This is not true. It does not, but once tuned, it amazingly started to sould pretty well, exceeding my expectations. The body resonates surprisingly strongly for such small size when the guitar is tuned well. This is the pererfect instrument, of course not for performace, but for conveniently curring everwhere for constant practicing.
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"Don't do it." submitted September 13, 2004

By a customer from clan-dot.org
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Musical Background: Active Musician
Music Style: alt
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Sound: Imagine a hollow bat with strings on it. That's what it sounds like and that's about how comfortable it is to play. This guitar does a disservice to Martin (I'm a proud Martin guitar owner but this, this is a worthless POS). Feature: You will not believe how awkward to play this thing is. I bought to travel with and found the only position in which it is even remotely comfortable is if I play it laying down and its wedged between an elbow and my chest. There is no natural position for a guitar shaped like this. Also, it sounds like crap. I ended up buying a cheap Yamaha to take on the road and it sounds better anyway. Quality: Martin really should have put the "Sigma" stamp on this one. (Sigma is their "down market" brand name.)
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