Willie Nelson’s Guitar Has a Better Story Than Most Musicians

Willie Nelson's Guitar Has a Better Story Than Most Musicians
Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images

Few musicians in country music are as celebrated as Willie Nelson. If there were a country music Mount Rushmore, Willie would be right up there with Johnny CashWaylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson. Some would say his famous guitar, Trigger, is equally adored and recognized in the world of country music. Fans go wild when Trigger is brought out before any of Willie’s shows, proving that it is just as loved as the country legend himself. Few instruments have been played as long or as well as this old Martin N-20 acoustic guitar. 

Early in Willie’s career, he tested various guitar models, including a Fender. After spending years working the music scene in Nashville, his Baldwin guitar was damaged. A drunk man stepped on it during a show at Floore’s Country Store in Helotes, Texas. Since his Baldwin was beyond repair, Willie decided to change up his sound slightly to mimic his favorite jazz musician, Django Reinhardt. His friend and well-known country guitarist, Shot Jackson, recommended the Martin guitar, and the legend of Trigger was born. Willie once said that his guitar was like a horse, so he named his after Roy Rogers’ horse Trigger. 

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