Trigger – Willie Nelson’s worn Martin N-20

Willie Nelson's Worn Trigger Guitar

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Willie Nelson's Worn Trigger Guitar
Willie Nelson’s Worn Trigger Guitar

I’ve confessed my interest in beat up guitars in previous articles, I’m sure and this one sets the bar for beat up.  Willie Nelson‘s Martin N-20, which has been named Trigger after Roy Roger‘s horse.  What makes this guitar so special?  Take a look at it.  What doesn’t make it special?  Each and every little nick, scratch, dent, signature, and additional hole in the body has a story behind it.  What we are looking at here is not just a device to play music through, but a book which has been written with an expansive career as a touring musician.

Trigger has been along side Nelson since 1969 when he’d purchased it over the phone before he’d even seen it.  Since then he’s clearly clocked so many hours playing on Trigger that I’m not sure I could even count that high.  So much that a hole he’s worn a hole into the body.  This has made Trigger an anomaly which got Martin’s attention to which they becan scrutinizing the guitar and in the late 90s produced a highly limited line of replica guitars.

Trigger, as applies to other Martin N-20 guitars, is built of rosewood body and neck with a sitka spruce top and an ebony fretboard.  Regular guitars did not come with a pickup, but Nelson had a Baldwin pickup installed.  Later replica models had a custom pickup made to replicate the Baldwin pickup as well.

Video: Willie and Trigger

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Kyle Smitchens

Kyle Smitchens is the Guitar-Muse Managing Editor, super hero extraordinaire, and all around great guy. He has been playing guitar since his late teens and writing personal biographies almost as long. An appreciator of all music, his biggest influences include Tchaikovsky, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Steve Vai, Therion, and Jon Levasseur of Cryptopsy.

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11 years ago

This is an amazing guitar. I just saw it for the first time tonight. Truly amazing, I didn’t realize it was so banged up.

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