Early on, Willie Nelson played a Guild acoustic when he was trying to make it in Nashville in the '60s. Then, in 1969, a random boozer somehow managed to turn it into firewood.
On the lookout for an instrument that had the sound of his favorite guitarist, Django Reinhardt, Nelson bought a Martin N-20 acoustic sight unseen on the recommendation of his friend and guitarist, Shot Jackson. Stating that it was kind of like his horse, Nelson named the guitar after Roy Roger's steed.
Like B.B. King's "Lucille," "Trigger" has been rescued from fire. And it's even been spirited away to Hawaii to avoid seizure by the IRS. Willie Nelson has played his instrument so hard and so long that his pick has worn a hole right through it. It's a hole the legendary musician refuses to repair, saying it's a spot to rest his fingers. After 50 years of use, Nelson figures he'll play Trigger until they both "give out." Hopefully that won't be for a long time yet [source: Rolling Stone].
Author's Note: 10 Famous Guitars
A list of 10 famous guitars can hardly be comprehensive. I had to whittle this down from a list that included the likes of David Gilmour's "Black Strat," Vernon Reid's "ESP Mirage" and Neil Young's "Hank." And what about André Segovia's "Hauser" and Peter Green's 1959 Les Paul Standard? Maybe a list of 100 could gather up the near totality of famous guitars, but anything less is just a swing of the axe.
More Great Links
- AP. "Prince's Teal Blue Cloud Guitar Auctioned for $700K." US News & World Report. Nov. 6, 2017 (July 31, 2018) https://www.usnews.com/news/entertainment/articles/2017-11-06/princes-teal-blue-cloud-guitar-auctioned-for-700k
- Bienstock, Richard. "The Legacy of Lucille: The Surprising Story Behind B.B. King's Guitar." Rolling Stone. May 15, 2015 (July 29, 2018) https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/the-legacy-of-lucille-the-surprising-story-behind-b-b-kings-guitar-63896/
- Cahillane, Mollie. "Prince's teal blue Cloud guitar sells for a record $700,000 at a California auction house." Daily Mail. Nov. 6, 2017 (July 27, 2018) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5055521/Princes-teal-blue-Cloud-guitar-auctioned-700K.html
- Cartwright, Mark. "Lyre." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Dec. 16, 2012 (July 25, 2018) https://www.ancient.eu/Lyre/
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- Denny, Ron. "5 Famous Vintage Guitars Still Earning Their Keep on the Road." Reverb. June 22, 2017 (July 23, 2018) https://reverb.com/news/5-famous-vintage-guitars-still-earning-their-keep-on-the-road
- Encyclopedia Britannica. "Sitar." (July 25, 2018) https://www.britannica.com/art/sitar
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- Gearnews. "Eddie Van Halen's original $100k FrankenStrat stolen!" Nov. 18, 2017 (July 27, 2018) https://www.gearnews.com/eddie-van-halens-original-100k-frankenstrat-stolen/
- Graham, Jonathan. "Forgotten Guitar: Jimmy Page Offers an Up-Close Look at His "Number 1" Les Paul." Guitar World. May 7, 2018 (July 29, 2018) https://www.guitarworld.com/gear/forgotten-guitar-jimmy-page-offers-close-look-his-number-1-les-paul
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- Kelly, Will. "Nancy Wilson: Fire in the Heart." Vintage Guitar Magazine. 2018. (July 23, 2018) https://www.vintageguitar.com/11728/nancy-wilson/
- McLaughlin, Kelly. "Shop is sued over 'stolen' Jimi Hendrix's Black Widow guitar worth nearly $1MILLION." Oct. 11, 2015 (July 26, 2018) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3268694/Jimi-Hendrix-s-Black-Widow-guitar-worth-nearly-1MILLION-center-court-battle-musician-s-estate-owners-call-instrument-returned-claiming-stolen-former-Earth-Wind-Fire-member.html
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- O'Hara, Marc. "Joni Mitchell's Guitars and Tunings." The Unique Guitar Blog. Jan. 29, 3013 (July 29, 2018) https://uniqueguitar.blogspot.com/2013/01/joni-mitchells-guitars-and-tunings.html
- Piper, Julian. "Bonnie Raitt's 8 tips for guitarists." Musicradar. July 15, 2016 (July 26, 2018) https://www.musicradar.com/news/guitars/bonnie-raitts-8-tips-for-guitarists-640273
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- Rolling Stone. "Watch Willie Nelson Tell the Story of His Legendary Guitar, Trigger." Feb. 11, 2015 (July 30, 2018) https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/watch-willie-nelson-tell-the-story-of-his-legendary-guitar-trigger-188337/
- Yaqoob, Janine. "Hey dough!" Daily Mail. Nov. 28, 2012 (July 23, 2018) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2239775/Jimi-Hendrixs-favourite-guitar-switched-setting-cheaper-version-sells-250-000.html
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