Why does Willie Nelson use nylon strings?

Answered by Willie Powers

Willie Nelson uses nylon strings on his guitar because he wanted to achieve a sound similar to his biggest musical influence, Django Reinhardt. The story behind how he came to use nylon strings is quite interesting. It all started in 1969 when Nelson found himself in a predicament – his previous guitar had been destroyed by a drunk individual. He needed a new instrument, but he wanted something that could help him achieve a specific sound.

Nelson was a big fan of Django Reinhardt, a legendary jazz guitarist known for his virtuosic playing style on the acoustic guitar. Reinhardt primarily played a Selmer-Maccaferri guitar, which had a distinct and bright sound. Nelson wanted to replicate that sound as closely as possible, so he began searching for a guitar that could help him achieve it.

After some research and experimentation, Nelson stumbled upon the nylon string Martin guitar. Nylon strings are known for their warmer and mellower tone compared to steel strings. They also have less tension, which can make them more comfortable to play.

When Nelson first picked up the nylon string Martin guitar, he immediately noticed a difference in the sound. The nylon strings produced a softer and more rounded tone, which was closer to what he was looking for. It allowed him to achieve the Django Reinhardt-inspired sound he had been striving for.

Since then, Nelson has continued to use nylon strings on his guitar. They have become a crucial part of his signature sound and style. The nylon strings not only help him achieve the desired tone but also contribute to the overall feel and playability of the instrument.

Willie Nelson uses nylon strings on his guitar because they allow him to achieve a sound similar to his musical idol, Django Reinhardt. The nylon strings produce a warmer and mellower tone that suits Nelson’s style and preferences. They have become an integral part of his signature sound and continue to play a significant role in his musical journey.