New Instrument Review
September 7, 1999
Martin's Backpacker Mandolin
© Frank Ford, 1999; Photos by FF
This instrument lives up to its name - it is small. Not really ALL that much smaller than a regular mandolin, though, and that's a good thing. If you've played the backpacker guitar, you know you can't expect much sound from a tiny body. But the backpacker guitar body is less than 1/10 the size of a regular guitar, where this mandolin's body is closer to half the regular size. That means it sounds pretty good!
I find this instrument particularly interesting from a design standpoint. If you look closely at the side view photos, you'll notice that the neck and sides are cut from one piece of mahogany, and that the top actually tucks under the fingerboard, all the way up to the nut. The result is a very strong, rigid body and neck combination - a very good thing indeed. The entire instrument is made from solid spruce, mahogany and rosewood. This is the only Martin backpacker with an adjustable truss rod, too.
Joe McNamara, our Martin sales rep, just brought this one by for us to check out. Unfortunately, they're not being shipped yet. . .
Please click on the small photos