Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Looking into a backpacking guitar...


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Cody Croslow
(Graelb) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Looking into a backpacking guitar... on 02/03/2012 15:35:27 MST Print View

I've been looking at getting some sort of guitar for backpacking. I'm not a huge fan of the martin backpacker, because it doesn't really fit my style of strumming. Does anyone out here have any good suggestions on brands/models that won't break the bank, yet are small enough to strap to my bag?

P. Larson
(reacttocontact) - F
Strum Stick on 02/03/2012 17:40:39 MST Print View

Or a Uke.

Christian Denniston
(cdenniston) - F
Child Guitar on 02/03/2012 17:43:59 MST Print View

I use a cheap (25.00) guitar that I got from Target I believe. It is far from a good guitar but I can strum and pick just fine on it. It is just a bit bigger than my ukulele which is what I usually bring. Best part is, if anything happens to it I can just buy a new one! I would shop around at places like Walmart and Target until you find one that seems decent enough.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Looking into a backpacking guitar... on 02/03/2012 19:31:18 MST Print View

air guitar.. light weight and quiet ;)

shane sibert
(grinder) - F

Locale: P.N.W
Re: Re: Looking into a backpacking guitar... on 02/03/2012 23:36:36 MST Print View

Agreed!

robert mckay
(rahstin) - F

Locale: The Great Land
Washburn Rover on 02/04/2012 12:52:23 MST Print View

Check out the Washburn Rover
-has great action
-can fingerpick or use a normal pick
-34 oz without the strap and with steel strings
-can find them on sale for around 115 bucks
I've had mine for 3 years now. It has been To 3 different countries and countless trail miles. Still pickin strong. Thermarest makes waterproof stuff sacks that are tall enough to fit the rover. I take my ridgerest solite and wrap it around the neck(multiple use) and made a custom bluepad duct tape job to protect the body. Total weight with the padding and waterproof sack is 49.5 oz.(9 of which are my sleeping pad!)We'll see if it can last another 2665 miles this summer...

If this still sounds too heavy, yamaha makes a guitar neck on uke body. It is played about 5 octaves higher than a normal guitar though and has less frets. Yamaha GL1 Guitalele.

Cody Croslow
(Graelb) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Washburn on 02/04/2012 22:38:16 MST Print View

I was sort of looking at the martin, and the washburn rover. Haven't gotten the chance to play the rover at all yet, Not sure if anyone around here carries it. My logic here is that if I can work on the weight on the rest of my gear, I can afford to take a guitar =) Do you not worry about the pokey-string ends at the top of the guitar poking through your mat?

robert mckay
(rahstin) - F

Locale: The Great Land
washburn rover on 02/05/2012 00:23:51 MST Print View

I've played both the rover and the martin backpacker. The shape of the martin makes it difficult to play without a strap and has a much thinner sound than the rover. Check out a couple of videos on youtube and you can really hear the difference. The pad is closed cell foam so it wont puncture. If you let the ends of the strings hang out just a little bit you can bend them back into the tuning peg and they wont damage anything around them. Also a little side note, I discovered this website a few years ago while searching for a "lightweight backpacking guitar." Now, all my gear PLUS the weight of my guitar is around 10 lbs LESS than just the gear alone used to be. Thanks Washburn and thanks bpl.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: washburn rover on 02/05/2012 00:33:30 MST Print View

The Martin sounds awful and the neck is so heavy compared to the body that the guitar is very unbalanced. My ukulele has a MUCH better sound!

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Looking into a backpacking guitar... on 02/05/2012 03:05:41 MST Print View

I thought this was an odd item for the BPL store

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/traveler_guitar_traveler_pro.html

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/traveler_guitar_escape_steel.html

Kier Selinsky
(Kieran) - F

Locale: Seattle, WA
uke on 02/05/2012 11:37:53 MST Print View

Are you in the Seattle area? Great store in Fremont called Dusty Strings with a huge selection of ukes (including some nice 6 and 8 string ukes).

Cody Croslow
(Graelb) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Seattle? on 02/05/2012 12:37:15 MST Print View

No... unfortunately I'm in medford. I've been looking at a teton 3/4 size, but it looks a little big to fit on my pack, and heavy. I'm hoping someone around here has a washburn. I have a little uke, but it's a four string, and sacrifices a little too much flexibility in my playin.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Pennywhistle on 02/07/2012 19:12:44 MST Print View

A pennywhistle only weighs 1.25 ounces.

b willi jones
(mrjones) - F

Locale: best place in the world !?
Re: Looking into a backpacking guitar... on 02/08/2012 12:22:15 MST Print View

freak some people out... get a banjo

Cody Croslow
(Graelb) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Got a rover! on 02/12/2012 21:18:36 MST Print View

Got a rover yesterday... I'm having my girlfriend make a strap and belt (to have it sit correctly...). Super excited to build a little "case" for the head, and will have to probably carry a lightweight tuning fork or something... Any suggestions or plans on making the "case"?

Thanks!
Cody

Dustin Judd
(ddujnitsud) - F
Sound Quality? on 02/13/2012 11:51:52 MST Print View

So how does it play? If the action and sound quality are good I would love to pick one up for backpacking as well. If you carry an android phone on your trips just download G strings from the market to tune your guitar. I've been using it at home for years and it works well.

Cody Croslow
(Graelb) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
how does it play? on 02/15/2012 11:00:35 MST Print View

It plays well! action is great, potentially better than my crafter. The sound is better than the martin backpacker, but still a little tinny and if you're strumming without a pick, you probably won't wake up your neighbors while in the woods. my only complaint about it is if it's on a strap (you almost have to have one to play it comfortably,)it wants to slide down off the right side of my body where all the weight is, rather than sit right against my chest. This could be due to tying one side of the strap around the neck under the strings above the bridge, or could be due to the design of the guitar. Either way, my girlfriend is making me a half-inch wide strap out of braided paracord, and i'll probably add a little "belt" that keeps it in the correct position horizontally. I'd recommend it! I got mine new, since it was only 150.

Charles Vandenbelt
(chuckwagon) - F

Locale: Nashville
Uke stuff.... on 02/17/2012 01:53:29 MST Print View

I use a baritone uke. I tune to the first 4 strings on a regular guitar (EBGD - high to low) and get great results. Just gotta figure/make a nice, tough lightweight cover that has a bit of protection. A plastic garbage bag gets shredded in a couple of trips if you travel through brushy areas but clear trails would be fine. Regards.

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Light Instruments on 02/15/2014 09:34:03 MST Print View

I have a Yamaha GL-1 Guitarlele and it plays reasonably well. My son in law can make it sound better than I can make my full size guitar sound. Even though it is small and fairly light it is still more than I want to carry.

I built a strumstick similar to the McNally ones. It came in at 12.8 oz. and is pretty short and slim. It sounds more like a banjo than a guitar. It is fun to play and I may consider taking it on some backpacking and bicycle touring trips. Personally I wouldn't even consider anything larger than the GL-1 for backpacking or bike touring.

EDITED to correct weight. I for some reason posted the weight of my Guitarlele (1 lb 8 oz) instead of the strumstick (12.8 oz).

Edited by staehpj1 on 02/17/2014 15:36:30 MST.

Trace Richardson
(tracedef) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Uke on 02/15/2014 10:02:56 MST Print View

I know this doesn't help, but I was the same as you ... had a Martin backpacker and never played it or took it out... just didn't like it. I still play guitar but playing Ukulele has been an awesome journey .... so much more portable and just fun ... I'm a better songwriter and guitar player now because of Uke .... even when going to the beach down the street from my home, I bring my Uke 9 out of 10 times because it is so much more portable, which means it is a way better option in that capacity for backpacking as well .... just a thought in case that guitar that work for you.

Edited by tracedef on 02/15/2014 16:26:14 MST.