Willie Nelson’s Guitar Has Seen It All, but Who Fixes It?
The guitar we know as Trigger, is a Martin N-20. Trigger was not always a Martin guitar, however. Willie's first guitar he took on tour when starting was a Baldwin that was given to upcoming country music stars. One day, a drunk fan stepped on the Baldwin and ruined it. It was rushed to Nashville to try and save. Nelson loved the Baldwin pickup that was way ahead of its time, but no one could save it. At the time, Martin had introduced their N-20 Classical Guitar and the shop the Baldwin was in just happened to have one of the first ones distributed. The shop's Luthier (guy that fixes guitars), removed the pickup that Nelson loved so much, and frankensteined it on to the Martin.
Fast forward many, many, many years later, and Trigger is still alive and kicking. The question to ask now is, who in the world maintains this thing and keeps it together for him?
Introducing Mark Erlewine of Erlewin Guitars in Austin, Texas. When he first met Willie, he was drug from his shop into the backstage part of a shady bar in Austin. When they got to the end of the hall, he saw Willie and Trigger at a table. The story goes that Nelson looked at Erlewin and told him "Just keep my guitar going, as long as it's working, I'll be working".
No pressure right? Here is a video of all of the steps Erlewin has to go through to keep this legend rolling along and strumming away