Willie Hugh Nelson is a musician, actor, and activist from the United States. Nelson became one of country music’s most well-known artists thanks to the critical and commercial success of his album Shotgun Willie, as well as the critical and commercial success of Red Headed Stranger and Stardust. He had a guitar named “Trigger”. But do you know how long he’s had that guitar?
Willie Nelson has owned his “Trigger” guitar since 1969. Nelson’s fingers playing it in thousands of shows have created a massive hole above the bridge. Braces are used to shore up the hole regularly, but it is never completely repaired.
Who is Willie Nelson?
If you have been following country music since the 50s you would probably know who we are talking about.
Willie Hugh Nelson was born on April 29, 1933, in Abbott, Texas where he lived all throughout his childhood. He attended the Abbot High School and played for the football, basketball, and baseball team. Like most of the families in Texas at the time, Nelson helped raise farm animals.
He was also into music back then. He would sing and play the guitar. He eventually started a band with his brother-in-law called The Texans.
In 1950, after he graduated from high school, Nelson enlisted in the United States Air Force. He was first stationed in San Antonio. His career in the military was cut short when persistent health issues, caused by previous injuries led to a medical discharge. He was only able to serve for 9 months.
Nelson had dozens of odd jobs here and there. He eventually moved to Pleasanton, Texas where he auditioned to be a DJ at the local radio station. In spite of him not having any experience with radio work, he got the job.
He rose to fame at the end of the 60s and heavily contributed to the sub-genre outlaw country that truly revolutionalized country music.
He has written tons of music through the years and devoted a lot of his time to charitable causes. (Source: Biography)
The History of Willie Nelson’s Guitar “Trigger”
Willie Nelson went through several guitars in the early days of his career. Nelson was signed to RCA Records, which meant that guitar companies were lining up to give him instruments to test. Willie began with Fenders, then moved on to Telecasters, Jaguars, and Jazzmasters before settling on Gibsons. The Baldwin Company then offered Nelson one of their 800C Classical Acoustic-Electrics, complete with a Prismatone pickup and amp, in 1969.
The Baldwin, on the other hand, did not last long. A drunk guy walked on the guitar after a 1969 concert at Floore’s Country Store in Helotes, Texas, causing major damage. Nelson’s band The Record Men members David Zettner and Jimmy Day took the guitar to Nashville luthier Shot Jackson to see if he could save it.
The Baldwin was promptly declared dead on arrival, but Jackson offered Nelson a Martin N-20 as a replacement. Nelson eventually paid $750 for the instrument, which was built of Brazilian rosewood with a Sitka spruce top, on the condition that Jackson installs the pickup from the totaled Baldwin
Roy Rogers had a horse named Trigger. I figured this is my horse!Willie Nelson, American Musician