Willie has played the same Martin since 1969. While still an up and coming act, Willie’s guitar was ruined by a drunk fan at a gig at John T. Floore’s Country Store in Helotes, TX and he needed a new one.
A friend of his knew of one for sale for $750, quite a steep price at the time (that’s about $5,650 today) but something told Willie he needed it.
Safe to say, it turned out to be a great decision. As Willie put it, the guitar had a bit of Django Reinhardt, a famous Belgian Jazz guitarist from the 1930’s, in it, which he had been looking for.
“That was really what I was striving for, that tone that Django got. He did it with just these (two) fingers.
His method of playing, the tone, the speed was incredible. I think he was the best guitar player ever.”
The day he got it, Willie named it after Roy Roger’s horse and made sure it was never too far away. He even saved it from a housefire that took everything from him except the guitar and a pound of weed he had stashed away.
Funny how it’s those two things that turned out to be the biggest constant in his life when the wild ride to superstardom happened…
After the housefire, Willie moved back home to Texas from Nashville and, well, the rest is history.
Rolling Stone did a fantastic mini-documentary narrated by none other than Woody Harrelson on the story of Willie and Trigger. They go through the details and tell way more of the story, I highly recommend the watch.
The bond between a musician and their guitar is special. So special it’s hard to explain to someone who doesn’t play themselves. But for an artist to keep one guitar for over 50 years, wearing a hole straight through top and having a who’s who of country music stars etch their signatures into it, yeah… that’s next level special.