Archive for the ‘Trigger’ Category

Willie Nelson and Trigger

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

Thank you, Janis Tillerson, for sharing your great photos of Willie Nelson’s famous guitar.

Famous Guitars

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

www.reverb.com
by:  Ron Denny

Like Eddie Van Halen’s Frankenstrat or Jerry Garcia’s custom–built Wolf, there are some vintage guitars that are so closely identified with their legendary owner’s sound and personality that they’ve reached a sort of celebrity status.

Most of the guitars in this league could easily fetch five to six figures at auction, or enjoy a quiet retirement behind a display case in a museum.

But there are some iconic guitars that remain in the hands of the musicians that made them famous. So we wanted to take an opportunity to look at some such instruments that are still going strong, still at home in the studio, and never afraid of the rigors of the road.


Willie Nelson’s “Trigger”

Nelson’s battered and heavily scarred ’69 Martin N–20 is one of the most recognizable guitars on the planet.

Willie Nelson with “Trigger”

Nelson purchased it in 1969 after a drunk guy stumbled into his Guild acoustic guitar onstage and destroyed it. The then–struggling singer/songwriter fell in love with the nylon–stringed N–20’s Django Reinhardt–like gypsy tone. It was the new sound Nelson was looking for to jumpstart his career.

Named after Roy Rogers’s horse and closest companion, Trigger, Nelson’s Martin N–20 has become a symbol of his storied career. That’s the euphemistic way of saying that it has a lot of wear to show for all of those years of hard work.

The famous hole on Trigger between its bridge and sound hole is the result of over 40 years of hard strumming and guitar pick damage. Like all nylon–stringed guitars, the N–20 didn’t come with a pickguard, since it’s meant to be fingerpicked. Trigger is also covered with countless autographs from fellow musicians and friends.

Trigger and Willie Nelson are inseparable. And after nearly 50 years together, Nelson has said that if Trigger ever goes, he’ll probably hang it up, too.


Neil Young’s “Old Black” and “Hank”

If Willie Nelson’s Trigger is the world’s most recognized guitar, Neil Young’s “Old Black” ’53 Les Paul probably ranks second. It was traded to Young by Buffalo Springfield bandmate Jim Messina in 1968 for a Gretsch 6120. By the time Young got it, the goldtop Gibson had already been painted black, modified, and plenty dinged up.

Neil Young with “Old Black”

For Neil Young, it was love at first sight.

He first used Old Black on his 1969 breakout album, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. With its crunchy and ragged signature tone, Neil has played that beat–up Les Paul on virtually every album and at every concert for nearly 50 years.

There have been numerous modifications made to Old Black over the years: a Bigsby was added, it’s on its fourth bridge pickup (currently an early ’70s Gibson Firebird mini humbucker), the P90 neck pickup had a metal cover added, and the original plastic pickguard was replaced with a metal one that enhances Young’s legendary feedback.

But Old Black isn’t the only guitar that Neil is known for. He’s also famous for being the current caretaker of Hank Williams Sr.’s 1941 Martin D–41. There are a host of rumors about how it got from Hank to Neil, but it has been one of Young’s main studio and road acoustic guitars for over 30 years.

This is the acoustic Young plays in the Neil Young: Heart of Gold documentary, directed by the late Jonathan Demme.

Neil Young performs “Heart of Gold” with “Hank”

Williams’s old Martin even inspired Young to write “This Old Guitar,” a song on his Prairie Wind album featuring the loving tribute, “The more I play it, the better it sounds / It cries when I leave it alone.”

Read about all the guitars:
https://reverb.com/news/5-famous-vintage-guitars-still-earning-their-keep-on-the-road

Waiting for Willie

Saturday, May 27th, 2017

Trigger Meets Chester in Nashville

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

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photo:  Eric Hanson

Last night at Sing Me Back Home: The Music Of Merle Haggard – All-Star Concert, Willie Nelson’s Trigger met Warren Haynes’ Chester. They hit it off beautifully.

Photo by Eric Hanson, Warren’s tech.

Trigger, by Andrew Shapter

Friday, March 31st, 2017

Trigger

Trigger

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

We spotted Tunin’ Tom earlier in the day, escorting Trigger to the stage.

Willie Nelson on guitar

Monday, February 6th, 2017

Trigger

Saturday, January 28th, 2017

photo:  Texas Monthly

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

Trigger’s Doctor (the man who cares for Willie Nelson’s guitar)

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

photo:  David Brown

www.texasstandard.org
by:  David Brown

A few days before Christmas, I got a call that Nelson would be spending a little time in Hawaii, a recharge of sorts before the next tour. Trigger wouldn’t be traveling with him, instead he would be returning to Texas for some repair work. Would I like to come and see? Would I ever.

In a quiet, older neighborhood in the Texas capitol city, tucked behind fences draped with hydrangeas, I walk up to what looks like a backyard studio – an unassuming place, given all the history here. In this cluttered but immaculate workshop, in a dark green smock, Mark Erlewine hovers over his workbench.

He’s surrounded by mallets and electric screwdrivers, bottles of solvent and jars of q-tips. His patients, priceless electric Gibsons and Fenders and more exotic six- and four-stringed creatures hang along the wall, waiting for Erlewine’s undivided attention.

Trigger, New Year’s Eve 2016, in Austin

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

I love seeing Willie Nelson fans flock to the stage when Tunin’ Tom bring Trigger out to his stand before a Willie Nelson & Family Show.   After the first bands have played, and folks are heading for drinks and the bathroom and stretching their legs before WN&F come on stage, and then Tom brings out Willie’s famous guitar.  Budrock has it lit softly, people see it right away and start heading  to the stage to play their respects.  Old folks, young folks, mamas with baby’s in their arms come to the stage for pictures and selfies  with the famous instrument.

I always have to head up the stage too, say hello to the guitar, take a photo, too.  I took this one.

Trigger and Willie worked hard every night playing such great music for us fans.  Here’s the set list from the first of three shows at ACL on December 29, 2016.

Set-list, ACL Live at the Moody Theater, 12.29.16

“Whiskey River”

“Still is Still Moving to Me”

“Beer for My Horses”

“Good Hearted Woman”

“Funny How Time Slips Away”/“Crazy”/“Night Life”

“Me & Paul”

“If You’ve Got the Money, I’ve Got the Time”

“Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys”

“Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground”

“On the Road Again”

“Always On My Mind”

“Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms”

“Georgia On My Mind”

“Georgia on a Fast Train”

“Jambalaya (On the Bayou)”

“Hey Good Looking”/“Move It On Over”

“Shoeshine Man”

“It’s All Going to Pot”

“Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die”

“Will the Circle Be Unbroken”

“I’ll Fly Away”

Willie Nelson, on guitar

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

“Willie Nelson, with that beat up old Martin guitar, Trigger. In Buffalo went to see John Fogerty and came away a Willie Nelson fan.”

Trigger

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

photo: The Joelsons

Trigger at Charley’s

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

This giant replica of Willie Nelson’s guitar is in Charley’s, on Maui.    I guess there are probably other statues and works of art of famous musician’s guitars, but this one is so cool, honoring Pa’ai’s famous resident.

 

Trigger

Monday, December 5th, 2016

“One of the secrets to my sound is almost beyond explanation.  My battered old Martin guitar, Trigger, has the greatest tone I’ve ever heard from a guitar — and I’ve played a lot of guitars, including a lot of other Martins that were the exact same model as Trigger.

A lot of the guys in the band have been with me for decades, but Trigger has outlated every musician I’ve played with, and after all these years, I have come to believe we were fated for each other.

The two of us even look alike.  My musician pals haven’t carved and written their names on me the way they have on Trigger, but we’re both pretty bruised and battered.

The holes I’ve worn in Trigger are from my pick zinging up and down a million times on the face of an acoustic guitar that’s not supposed to be played with a pick, but at this point those holes are part of what makes Trigger sound exactly right.

I also play other guitars, of course, including a black electric Fender during the blues numbers on our show, but Triggers as much a part of my sound as the way I play.

If I picked the finest guitar make this year and tried to play my solos exactly the way you heard them on the radio or even at last night’s show, I’d always be a copy of myself and we’d all end up bored.  But if I play the instrument thta is now a part of me, and do it according to the way that feels right for me — in each place and time — then I’ll always be an original.

At the very least, I know it won’t get boring.”

The Tao of Willie
A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart
by Willie Nelson, with Turk Pipkin