There are few musicians who have made as big an impact on the music world as the legendary Willie Nelson and his trusty sidekick “Trigger.”
Trigger is a Martin Classical guitar with almost as big a story as the country outlaw himself.
It was named after the famous horse that belonged to Roy Rogers…
Willie figured that his guitar was as important to him as a horse was to a cowboy, thus the unusual name.
Quite a change from the typical women’s names that most guitars are graced with…
The specific model of this famous guitar is the , and it was purchased in 1969.
It is without a doubt, Willie’s most prized possession…he even gave it to his manager to hide when he got in trouble with the IRS.
One of his major concerns at that time was that “the feds” would try to take his guitar…
Trigger is a nylon-stringed acoustic guitar made for finger strumming, so there is (and never was) a pick-guard.
Willie prefers to play with a pick, and has worn a large crater into the top of the guitar.
In addition to this major gash, there are numerous battle scars here and there, making it probably the ugliest guitar in the music world.
Adding to the battered look are over a hundred autographs.
Willies friends and associates have all signed the guitar over the years, as well as lawyers, coaches, and other musicians.
Some of the autographs on Trigger are rare and impressive, including Johnny Cash, Roger Miller, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings (of course), and Gene Autry.
Looking at photos of Willie Nelson over the years, you can easily track the progression of the guitar from a brand-new, pretty instrument, to one that would probably be thrown out if it belonged to anyone else…and didn’t have the history of this one.
Despite the unusually beat-up and ugly guitar, Willie can produce his peculiar signature sound from it like none other.
There isn’t a sound in music more distinctive than Willie’s whiskey-rough voice, but the tone he coaxes out of that battered and scarred Martin Classical guitar comes in at a close second.
C.F. Martin & Co., along with Willie, created a replica of Trigger…an exact copy of what the guitar looked like when it was brand new.
The N-20WN Limited Edition Signature Model was introduced in 1998, and there were only one hundred of them made.
That Martin guitar was made to the exact specs that Trigger has, but there probably isn’t a guitarist in the world who could coax that same tone from it.
There are some things that just happen once, and Willie Nelson is one of those things!
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