Willie Nelson Tells the Story Behind His Legendary Guitar, Trigger

YouTube/Rolling Stone

The country music legend discusses his constant companion, and indispensable member of his band, in the debut episode of a new documentary series.

Willie Nelson‘s famous guitar, Trigger, is a Martin N-20 classical made of Sitka spruce and Brazilian rosewood, and it was originally a beautiful, warm yellow color.

Almost five decades later, the guitar is faded and worn, with a now-famous hole next to the bridge. It is covered with autographs from country music royalty scratched into the beat-up wood with ballpoint pens.

Nelson tells the story of Trigger, and of course plays snippets of his most recognizable songs, in the debut documentary of the Rolling Stone Films’ series, “Mastering the Craft.” The film also features interviews with Nelson’s band and crew, Jerry Jeff Walker, and music journalist Joe Nick Patoski. Actor Woody Harrelson provides the documentary’s narration.

Nelson purchased Trigger in 1969 and said he gave it that name, because, “…it’s kind of my horse. Roy Rogers had a horse called Trigger.” When Nelson’s house caught fire later that year, he only saved the guitar and a pound of weed from the flames.

Nelson has kept Trigger by his side ever since. They have played a seemingly endless number of concerts, recording sessions, and jam sessions together, and they are not stopping any time soon. Willie said, “We’re both pretty old, got a few scars here and there, but we still manage to make a sound every now and then.”

recommended for you

Willie Nelson Tells the Story Behind His Legendary Guitar, Trigger