2000s Martin Backpacker Travel Guitar (Nashville Tuning)

There's not much point to posting about a Backpacker -- even if it was for sale online, they're so cheap to begin-with that used ones are just not worth shipping. The point of posting this one is to share the trick of stringing and tuning these in "Nashville" tuning -- with the EADG strings an octave higher. In this capacity, an instrument that sounds terrible in "normal" stringing turns into something useful and desirable in Nashville tuning. Listen to that chimey rescue! You can stick a mic in front of it and away you go on your 21st century rendition of Wild Horses...

This particular one came into the shop mixed with some other consignment gear and in a state of distress -- it'd gained a backbow in the neck at frets 1 and 2, there were a bunch of open hairline cracks on the back, and the setup was garbage. Let's also not forget the killer shadow of a triceratops sticker on the back, too.

So: to get into Nashville tuning, you have to restring. Because of the extra-short scale and backbow in the neck, I overstrung it a bit. A "typical" Nashville set would run about 28w, 18, 13, 10, 16, 12 low to high but in this case I used 30w, 20w, 14, 10, 17, 13 low to high. I wanted to try to pull the neck a bit more true with the tension and... it helped a bit.

Repairs included: some fret reseating, seal/drop-fill of hairline cracks on the back, cleaning, and setup. I didn't recompensate the bridge so it plays slightly flat on the EAD strings up at the 12th fret... where no one will be playing, anyway.

Made by:
Model: Backpacker (steel string)
Made in: Mexico
Serial number: 230xxx

Top wood: 
solid spruce
Back & sides wood: solid mahogany
Bracing type: tonebar
Bridge: rosewood
Fretboard: rosewood
Neck wood: mahogany
Tone: clean, bright, boxy

Action height at 12th fret:
hair-under 3/32” bass 1/16” treble (fast, spot-on)
String gauges: custom (see above)
Neck shape: medium C
Board radius: ~14"
Truss rod: none
Neck relief: slight backbow at nut and extension
Fret style: medium

Scale length: 
24 1/8"
Nut width: 1 11/16"
String spacing at nut: 1 1/2"
String spacing at bridge: 2 3/16"
Body length: 18 1/4"
Body width: 8 1/4"
Body depth: 2"
Weight: 2 lb 9 oz

Condition notes:
it's pretty beat-up -- repaired cracks on the back, some "sticker shadow" on the back, and numerous nicks and dings -- and has the above-described backbow in the neck that's been ameliorated via fret seating but is still extant. One bridge pin is a replacement but it's otherwise original.

It comes with:
its original gigbag.


Joseph Kille said…
Why haven't more people modified their "Martin" logos to say "Fartin" as this one does? It's a genius level move that I hadn't even considered before seeing it here...
Jake Wildwood said…
Also, est. 833 is pretty good, too.

Your comment allowed me to realize I never embedded the video... :D