Feb 3, 2012 at 2:35 pm #1285131
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?Feb 3, 2012 at 4:40 pm #1834089
Or a Uke.Feb 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm #1834092
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.Feb 3, 2012 at 6:31 pm #1834147
air guitar.. light weight and quiet ;)Feb 3, 2012 at 10:36 pm #1834242
Agreed!Feb 4, 2012 at 11:52 am #1834407
@rahstinLocale: The Great Land
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.Feb 4, 2012 at 9:38 pm #1834659
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?Feb 4, 2012 at 11:23 pm #1834687
@rahstinLocale: The Great Land
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.Feb 4, 2012 at 11:33 pm #1834692
@butukiLocale: Kanto Plain, Japan
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!Feb 5, 2012 at 2:05 am #1834710
I thought this was an odd item for the BPL storeFeb 5, 2012 at 10:37 am #1834829
@kieranLocale: Seattle, WA
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).Feb 5, 2012 at 11:37 am #1834844
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.Feb 7, 2012 at 6:12 pm #1836005
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
A pennywhistle only weighs 1.25 ounces.Feb 8, 2012 at 11:22 am #1836301
b willi jonesParticipant
@mrjonesLocale: best place in the world !?
freak some people out… get a banjoFeb 12, 2012 at 8:18 pm #1838655
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"?
CodyFeb 13, 2012 at 10:51 am #1838897
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.Feb 15, 2012 at 10:00 am #1839815
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.Feb 17, 2012 at 12:53 am #1840633
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.Feb 15, 2014 at 8:34 am #2073780
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).Feb 15, 2014 at 9:02 am #2073785
@tracedefLocale: Southern California
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.Feb 15, 2014 at 9:49 am #2073792
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
If there is no one else in the neighborhood, a campfire drum circle is a hoot, using pots and sticks. I'm really into percussion and I have a collection of small shakers, bird calls, jaws harp, bird calls, kazoo, etc.
But in my corner, the ultimate hiking instrument is the Native American flute. There is a plastic one made by Dr. Hal (http://drhal.net/pages/flute.htm) . It sounds great and is easy to play. 16.5" long and 3.5oz.Feb 15, 2014 at 11:49 am #2073831
The tuning fork isn't really necessary IMO (in the spirit of BPL). If you play with any frequency you'll be able to get close enough to your desired E or A. Just tune from there using the fifth/fourth fret method (not sure how to tune a uke exactly cuz I play guitar only). String tension will also be another clue. I would also suggest going the uke route, beautiful instrument, lightweight, and simple.Feb 15, 2014 at 3:05 pm #2073874
Heck, if you do take something other than an app for your phone to tune with, most of the electronic tuners are probably lighter than a tuning fork.Feb 15, 2014 at 6:55 pm #2073936
@pitsyLocale: Central Texas
The first note to "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" on Metallica's 'Master of Puppets' is the low E in guitar standard tuning. Just get that song in your head really good, remember what that low E sounds like, and tune your guitar. I can tune within a quarter tone of 329.628hz at least half the time this way, and I'm never off by more than a half tone.
BTW, I had to re-learn this technique because I initially had the album on cassette and my tape player ran a little slow. When I got the CD, everything sounded noticeably higher.
If classic Metallica is too heavy for you, try "Too Late for Love" by Def Leppard, on 'Pyromania'.Feb 19, 2014 at 12:17 am #2074984
@jumpbackjackLocale: Armpit of California
I don't play, but personaly I'm going this route on my next hike just to mess around and have fun, if it breaks, oh well, I'll only have about 8-10 bucks in the hole thing and if it does break it becomes multi use, I can make a fire and use the other part to drink out of.
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