Gary Moore’s Fender Stratocaster (Custom made, Natural, DiMarzios)

Gary was first seen using this guitar on December 20th, 1978 at the Stardust Night Club Dublin, during a gig with The Greedy Bastards (a band consisting of the whole Thin Lizzy lineup and two Sex Pistols members – Paul Cook and Steve Jones) [20-12-1978 STARDUST, Artane]. The Strat was subsequently used by Gary during the Thin Lizzy gig on Top of the Pops and during the 1979 Black Rose Tour.

Gary Moore with Thin Lizzy, playing a custom-mage Fender Stratocaster guitar. Photographed at Hammersmith 23rd April 1979
Gary Moore with Thin Lizzy, Hammersmith 23rd April 1979. Photo by Alan Perry (

A Custom Strat?

At first, the guitar was a complete mystery, but fortunately one of our readers (thanks Wilma) found one of Gary’s old interviews with Beat Instrumental magazine. In it, Gary mentioned a Stratocaster that was in the process of rebuilding, and he talked about what he’s gonna do with it. Please note that even though the interview was published in January 1979, it was likely conducted a couple of months prior.

I’ve got another Stratocaster which I’m having completely rebuilt. I broke the neck off while having a row with my chick. So I’ve got the body of the guitar and I’m having a new neck built for it and I’m having Di Marzio put on it. I also have the real heavy modified tremolo unit, with a heavier bracket so you can’t break it off so easily!

Beat Instrumental, January 1979

So those are the details – the body is the original Fender, while the rest was custom-made. It appears though that the neck still had a Fender logo on the headstock based on the footage, so maybe Gary ended up just grabbing a neck from another guitar. Both of the humbuckers are DiMarzios, which Gary seemed to like very much.

I think Di Marzio pickups are a major improvement on the pickups supplied standard with the new Gibsons and Fenders. The one on the Melody Maker is great: I don’t get noise off it or anything like that.

Beat Instrumental, January 1979

As far as the tremolo, we haven’t been able to figure out the exact model that Gary fitted on this guitar. It looks just a regular vintage-style Stratocaster tremolo, perhaps modified underneath in some way.

Gary leaves Thin Lizzy

What is interesting about this guitar, is that even though Gary basically built it himself, it seems that he left it behind after parting ways with Thin Lizzy in July 1979. In November that year, the band appeared on Top of the Pops, and surprisingly, Scot Gorham was seen playing Gary’s Stratocaster.


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