Rory Gallagher

Summary of Rory’s Equipment

Rory’s main and best-known guitar was a 1961 Fender Stratocaster that he acquired for £100 in 1963. According to the legend, this was the first Stratocaster to ever reach Ireland. Before Rory, it belonged to Jim Conlon of the Royal Showband. Over the years, Rory modified this Stratocaster, changing the pickups and switching to the master tone wiring.

Aside from the Stratocaster, he often used a 1960s Fender Telecaster and a 1950s Fender Esquire. Both of these guitars were also modified, but more so the Esquire, which at one point sported three single-coil pickups, as opposed to one (stock).

Of course, Rory didn’t only use Fenders. His first electric guitar, for instance, was a Rosetti Solid 7. Also, he often picked up his red 1957 Gretsch Corvette for slide, on occasions even preferring it to the Esquire.

As far as acoustic guitars, Rory most often used a 1968 Martin D-35, which might’ve been his favorite. For slide, he loved using the 1932 National Duolian Resonator.

Rory played his electric guitars most often through a vintage Vox AC30 combo amp. Starting from around the late 70s, he began pairing the AC30 with amps such as Marshall 2104 JMP 50-watt Combo, Marshall Bass Head, or a Fender Twin. But, he most liked the combination of his trusty AC30 and a vintage Fender Bassman 4×10.

As far as effects, according to his nephew Daniel, Rory’s archive counts more than 100 effect pedals.

For example, he used Dallas Rangebooster during the 70s. When the pedal went out of production, he began using various pedals such as Boss DB-5 Driver, Ibanez Tube-Screamer, and the Boss FA-1 FET. He also used a compressor (MXR Dyna Comp), and a flanger (usually a Boss BF-2).

List of Guitars, Amps, Effects, and Accessories used by Rory Gallagher

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Electric Guitars

Rosetti Solid 7

This was Rory’s first electric guitar, bought about two years after he acquired his first acoustic guitar – a dark sunburst general model of unknown manufacturer. This guitar was made by a Dutch firm called Egmond and imported into the UK by Rosetti company, who sold them for about £20 in the 60s.

Although we couldn’t find any photos of Rory with the guitar, he most likely had the two-pickup model, since the three-pickup one was often referred to as “Super Solid 7” and it featured a tremolo bridge, both of which details Rory does not mention when talking about the guitar. The Solid 7 model also featured a hollow-body design but didn’t have any soundholes so to an observer it looked like a solid-body, and it didn’t have a truss rod which meant that over time the neck would end up with an upward bow because of the string tension.

It was quite good, it was very distorted guitar – which I didn’t quite like at the time because clean sounding guitars were the thing.

Rory Gallagher Strat Masters

I played along on the acoustic guitar for a couple of years, and about the age of 12 I got an electric guitar – a Rosetti Solid Seven with a Little Giant Selmer.

…RORY GALLAGHER talks to NICK ROBERTSHAW

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1961 Fender Stratocaster

Rory bought this guitar (Serial Number 64351) for £100 in 1963 on credit from the owner of Crowley’s Music Store in Cork, Michael Crowley. Over the years, the Strat would become Rory’s main guitar and the one he would most often be associated with.

The story of how Rory came to own his 1961 Fender Stratocaster is somewhat interesting in itself. The guitar’s previous owner was Jim Conlon, who is known for being the founder and the guitarist of an Irish band called Royal Showband. Jim allegedly ordered a red Stratocaster from the US but this sunburst came instead, so he had to use the guitar for around half a year until the red one would arrive. After the red Strat finally got to Ireland, the sunburst was put on sale at Michael Crowley’s store, who eventually met Rory and agreed to sell the guitar to him in installments.

It’s a 1961 Fender Stratocaster which I bought secondhand in 1963. The previous owner was a guy in a showband. He originally ordered a red one so he could look just like Hank Marvin in The Shadows. But in those days Fenders only came into the country in ones and twos so he had to make do with a sunburst instead. I was still at school when I saw it in a shop window for £100 with an old brown case thrown in. So I saved up enough to pay the deposit and I bought it on HP.

The Story of Rory, Chas De Whalley talks to blues stalwart Rory Gallagher

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1966 Fender Telecaster

Rory was first seen playing this guitar during a gig played sometime in early to mid-1970 [Photo of Rory Gallagher 1970 Copenhagen, Denmark]. The exact date of this gig is unknown, but January 1st (as noted in the original photo description) seems to be unlikely since Taste played Ulster Hall in Belfast on that exact date.

The next time Rory appeared with this guitar is the Isle of Wight concert in August 1970. At that point, the guitar featured a white finish, although Rory was quoted saying that the finish wasn’t original.

A white ‘63 Telecaster. The lead pickup was rewound. It was repainted; I stripped it down to its natural wood, and then I tried to get the natural creme finish that I could get, but it turned out kind of white. I used that with Taste as well. It’s a very good Tele. [The Wearing of the Blues, Guitar for the practicing musician, August 1991]

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1958/59 Fender Esquire

The first photos of Rory playing this guitar that we know of were taken by Richard Zimmermann on October 20, 1971, in Milwaukee, so it is somewhat safe to say that Rory acquired it sometime in summer or early fall 1971. The guitar is an Esquire model, but Gallagher himself often referred to it as a Telecaster since it was fitted with a neck pickup – essentially converting it to a Tele.

The Telecaster is a 1953 Esquire — a guy phoned me up and told me he had one, so I tried it out, and sure enough ~ one of the real McCoys. I had to have new machines on it, and it needs a new scratch plate.

“The Rory Story”, Zigzag magazine, issue 23, December 1971

Rory’s dating of this guitar, however, is not necessarily accurate. As he mentioned in one of his later interviews [Guitarist, June 1987 – Rory!], the guitar was a top-loader model meaning that the strings are anchored at the bridge instead of going through the body. This version of the Esquire was only made during a brief period from 1958 to 1959, which serves as a pretty good pointer to when Rory’s Esquire was actually made.

When Rory acquired the Esquire it featured a blonde finish and the neck pickup was already installed in it by the previous owner [Guitar – the magazine for all guitarists, September 1978].

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1957 Gretsch Corvette

Rory purchased this guitar for $80 in a Pawnshop in the late 70s. It eventually became a substitute guitar for the Esquire.

At present I’m using a Gretsch Corvette for slide instead of the Esquire. The Corvette is Gretsch’s attempt at a Les Paul Junior, but I took off the Gretsch pickup because it was too weak and I put on a P90, which is an old black Gibson single coil pickup.

Beat Instrumental, March 1979

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1968 Coral 3S19 Electric Sitar

Purchased for $1500 in Florida by Rory’s brother Donal, and used by Rory on tours.

He first played the Sitar on a song Philby (1979), but for that occasion, he borrowed it from Pete Townsend. However, the songs Kickback City (1987) and Ghost Blues (1990) were most likely recorded on Rory’s own 1968 Coral.

(on Kickback City) The sitar -that was the x-factor. We mixed and remixed it, but there was still something missing, so we took the Coral sitar in for a couple of little phrases, and it knitted it together.

Rory’s Story by Jon Lewin

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1979 Fender 25th Anniversary Stratocaster

Rory acquired this guitar upon visiting the Fender factory presumably sometime during his 1979 US tour.

They thought I couldn’t afford a nice and clean guitar, and they were slightly embarrassed by the finish (of the 1961 Stratocaster) so they gave me a lovely white Anniversary Strat – which I used in the studio a lot. It has a great sound, but the odd thing is that nowadays the people are no longer offended by the look of the old guitars, because Adrian Belew has this old battered one, and late Stevie Ray Vaughan had a sunburst Strat with all the finish gone. But it was very nice of them to give me the white Strat. I must play it on stage now, and it’s began to loose some of the finish – the white shine.

Rory Gallagher – Interview (Strat Masters)

The guitar was produced by Fender in 1979 as a limited run to celebrate the 25th year of production. The Strat featured a four-bolt maple neck with a large headstock and Sperzel tuners, standard Strat synchronized tremolo, and three single-coil pickups. The first batch of 500 guitars was sprayed in a white finish that happened to turn yellow over time, so Fender quickly changed it to a custom silver paint which was used on the rest of the 10,000 guitars which were produced under this line. Rory’s guitar was from the first 500 produced.

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1978 Fender Musicmaster

Rory was first seen using this guitar around 1982. At this point, the story behind this guitar is unknown, and more research is needed.

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Interesting to note, in an interview published after Rory’s death, it is said that Rory owned a Fender Duo-Sonic fitted with a Music Master neck. [Dec. 1998 issue of The Guitar magazine] However since this particular Music Master is accounted for, the interviewer either made a mistake or Rory owned two of them – one of which served as a donor for the Duo-Sonic.

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1958 Fender Stratocaster

Rory owned a vintage 1958 maple-neck Stratocaster that he used only in the studio. This information comes from the 1998 article published in the December 1998 issue of The Guitar Magazine, and from the Rory Gallagher official website, where you can see the photos of the guitar.

It’s unknown when exactly Rory acquired this Stratocaster, and on which specific tracks he used it.

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Acoustic Guitars

1932 National Resonator

First used by Rory on As The Crow Flies during the Irish Tour in 1974/75. Occasionally, later on, he switched to a prototype model Takamine electro-acoustic which was much easier to amplify in live gigs.

Rory Gallagher playing a Resonator guitar.
Rory Gallagher playing a Resonator guitar – 2/14/77 RTE Studios, Dublin

I’ve also got a steel bodied National Resonator. You wouldn’t believe it only cost £100. That’s a fantastic price. It’s brown, an Acolian model it’s called, I think. It’s the thing. It’s the type with just the one resonator.

MM’s focus on RORY GALLAGHER talks guitars with Brian Harrigan MELODY MAKER June 14, 1975

At one point in the late 70s, the guitar was damaged, but Rory managed to repair it. It was heard once again in the studio, during the recording of Empire State Express.

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Amps

Selmer Little Giant Amplifier

This was the first amplifier that ever Rory had purchased together with his first electric guitar – a Rosetti Solid 7.

I played along on the acoustic guitar for a couple of years, and about the age of 12 I got an electric guitar – a Rosetti Solid Seven with a Little Giant Selmer.

New Musical Express November 9, 1974

The amp, unfortunately, wasn’t for too long with Rory, as he stated in a later interview that he wished that he still had it.

I had a Selmer Little Giant 4-watt amplifier, too, which I would really love to have now for a practice amp. It sounded something like one of those Pignose things.

BRITISH ROCK GUITAR by Dan Hedges Guitar Player Books 1977

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Vox AC30

Rory first got his hands on a Vox AC30 way back in the early sixties, when he was playing in a showband called Fontana. This was around the same time when he acquired his first Fender Stratocaster – so 1963.

When I joined the showband, after a few months I got a Strat. It took me four years to pay it off on HP. I`d borrowed a Hofner Colorama for a while, which wasn’t bad. Anyhow, I sold the Solid Seven when I got the Fender and borrowed a Vox AC30 from the bass player in the band.

…RORY GALLAGHER talks to NICK ROBERTSHAW

Short after Rory acquired his own Vox AC30, and used it exclusively up until the mid-70s – when he started adding more amps to the chain.

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1954 Fender Bassman

Rory first started using a Fender Bassman combo amp sometime in 1974. On most photos from that year, and from 1975, there seems to be a Bassman sitting right behind Rory on stage, and a small Tweed Twin sitting to the right of it.

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For me, it’s a battle between the Vox AC30 and the 4×10 Fender Bassman. The warmth of the Fenders and the character of the Voxes are pretty hard to beat.

July 1999 issue of Guitar Player

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1950s Fender Twin Tweed

Rory used this amp around 1974/75 together with a Fender Bassman.

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Around 1975, the amp caught fire on stage. From Rory’s words, it sounds like he ended up repairing it, but it is unknown whether this exact amp was ever used again. Do note that he did probably own more than just one Twin Tweed.

I turned around and realized that my amplifier had gone on fire. The flames were shooting out from it. There was a cooling fan at the back and that only helped spread the fire. I didn’t know what to do so I just stayed calm, hoped for the best and played on. The Towering Inferno wasn’t in it. The roadies came running onto the stage with extinguishers to try and put the fire out, and they managed to plug me into a spare amplifier.

Seeing my little amplifier on fire nearly broke my heart. The amp is about 20 years old, a real collector’s item. I insisted on having it repaired.

December 20, 1975 issue of Melody Maker

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Marshall 2104 JMP MKII 50-watt Combo

This amp was used by Rory during the early 80s, together with Rory’s Vox AC30.

At the moment, I’m using an AC30 and a Marshall 50 watt combo together. I plug the guitar into a junction box because a splitter lead or a V chord tends to put the amps out of phase with each other so you can never be sure of the sound you’re getting.

However, the setup wasn’t necessarily consistent, and Rory did experiments with a few different amps – including a 100-watt Marshall bass head.

When it comes to amps I tend to vary things about every six months. I started with a Vox AC30 combo, and that model is still in my set-up, but I go through different phases when it comes to the other amps I use. At the moment, though, I’m still using my Vox AC30 with a Vox 50-watt combo as my third amp. My second amp is a 4 x 12 Marshall speaker cabinet with a converted 100-watt bass amp, on loan from Gerry McAvoy (Rory’s longstanding bass player). I really only use the Marshall to give my sound some body because I usually hear myself through the Vox for the most part.

POWER TOOLS SOUND ADVISE PURE GENIUS… by Phil Alexander

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Marshall 100-watt Bass Head

This amp was used by Rory during the 80s, usually in combination with a Marshall 50W combo, and Rory’s trusty Vox AC30.

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But even though he used it somewhat extensively, the amp wasn’t actually Rory’s but was borrowed from Gerry McAvoy.

When it comes to amps I tend to vary things about every six months. I started with a Vox AC30 combo, and that model is still in my set-up, but I go through different phases when it comes to the other amps I use. At the moment, though, I’m still using my Vox AC30 with a Vox 50-watt combo as my third amp. My second amp is a 4 x 12 Marshall speaker cabinet with a converted 100-watt bass amp, on loan from Gerry McAvoy (Rory’s longstanding bass player). I really only use the Marshall to give my sound some body because I usually hear myself through the Vox for the most part.

POWER TOOLS SOUND ADVISE PURE GENIUS… by Phil Alexander

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Effects

Dallas Rangemaster

Rory used a Dallas Rangemaster treble booster extensively with his VOX AC30 amp. According to his own words, the Rangemaster added a little extra to the Strat sound.

I’ve stuck with a Strat because I like the treble and clarity of it. I also use a Rangemaster treble booster to give it an extra lift. It doesn’t have the natural sustain of a Gibson’s, but then a Gibson hasn’t got the clarity of a Strat.

April 26, 1975 issue of Record Mirror

Rory Gallagher playing a Stratocaster guitar. Behind him is visible his VOX AC30 amp, and a Dallas Rangemaster treble booster
Dallas Rangemaster is seen sitting on top of a VOX AC30. Rory Gallagher, 1971 at the Musikhalle in Hamburg, Germany. Photo by Heinrich Klaffs.

Eventually, the Rangemaster pedal became less available, since they’ve gone out of production, and Rory had to resort to using other pedals. Over the years, he used a few different models, but it seems like nothing ever really replaced the original treble booster for Rory.

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Boss DB-5 Driver

In a 1989 interview, Rory mentioned that one of his main pedals is a Boss BD-1 Drive, which he has used basically from the beginning.

About the first one I got was the Boss BD-1 Driver, which I still use. It’s a big green box (rather like the old Boss CE-1) with three settings: Distortion, Fuzz, and a third which is almost straight -a plain graphic and overall volume boost, which is the setting best suited to me. It can really change the character of your guitar.

Rory Gallagher A Question of Taste

However, what’s confusing is that there doesn’t seem to exist such a pedal.

To figure out what’s going on – in the quote above, Rory mentions that the unit in question resembles a CE-1 (photo below) and that it’s green. Of course, scouring the internet for vintage Boss models returns no results, nor does there seem to exist something called a BD-1.

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Boss GE-6 Graphic Equalizer

Rory used an EQ pedal to get more mid-range from his amps. As far as the exact model, on Rory’s official website there are photos of the Boss GE-6. Since this pedal was produced from around 1978, it could be that Rory used it for the majority of his career.

I’ve also got a couple of Boss effects which I think are very good, a chorus, flanger, overdrive and a graphic which beefs up the mid range on the Marshall. Boss are the best effects around I think

1981 issue of Music Magazine, UK

However, in a later interview, Rory states that he uses an old green Boss EQ. He was probably referring to the Boss DB-5, which was a sort of Overdrive and EQ packed in one pedal.

So the truth is that he probably juggled between these two.

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Watkins Copicat Tape Delay

Mentioned briefly in a 1982 interview by Rory, as his main go-to delay for an old-school rock sound.

I always have a small delay on one of my amps, like a Memory Man or a DOD, but if you want anything like that authentic Rock ‘n’ Roll sound, then you have to have tape echo. The Copicat is great for that, but you can also set it with a very shallow delay and it can compensate for dead halls.

Kerrang No.15 May6-19, 1982

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Boss FA-1 FET

Mentioned by Rory in 1982, as something he was using at the time as a replacement for Dallas Rangeboost that he was used extensively up until then.

I use the Boss FET pedal which, although a transistor, has been designed to sound as much like a valve as possible. It still can’t beat the old Dallas Rangemaster that was doing the rounds in the ‘sixties though.

Kerrang No.15  May6-19, 1982

Interestingly, the pedal is still accounted for – see Rory Gallagher | The Official Website – Amps & Effects Archive.

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MXR Dyna Comp Compressor

Mentioned in a few interviews with Rory as an effect that he uses pretty much all the time.

In the studio, I bring in an old WEM Copycat, and the old red MXR Dynacomp compressor – that’s a great gadget, even an old raunchy amplifier will get a bit of nice crispness.

October 1987 issue of Making Music

I also use a Dynacomp sound compressor, that is on almost all the time, to cater for the long guitar lead wire that I use; this acts as a signal booster as much as anything else.

RAW Magazine November 1988. 

I’ve got a Dyna-comp, which is on all the time, to drive the songs from the leads. It’s not for effect. It’s a form of compression and I have it at a setting where the compression’s really low on it.

guitar for the practicing musician, August 1991 issue

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Boss BF-2 Flanger

According to a 1989 interview, Rory liked to use flangers over chorus pedals. At that particular point of time, he was using the Boss BF-2.

I don’t use chorus – I prefer flanging (I use the BF-2).

Rory Gallagher A Question of Taste

There’s also a quote from him from the early 90s on the subject of flanger versus chorus, which is a bit confusing. Depending on how you read the sentence below, he either used flanger regularly and a chorus sparingly, or he used flanger sparingly, and chorus not at all.

I’ve got a Boss flanger, as opposed to a chorus, which I use sparingly, I use that only in “Shadow Play” and “Moon Child,” and one other song.

Guitar for the practicing musician, August 1991 issue.

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Boss VB-1 Vibrato

In an interview conducted just before the Fresh Evidence came out, Rory stated that he really enjoyed using the Boss VB-1 vibrato pedal.

The other thing I particularly like is the Boss Vibrato pedal (the VB-1)- it’s different from tremolo proper and I use it rather than a tremolo or flanger (which would be a bit of a compromise) when I want that Bo Diddley type of sound.

July 29,1989 issue of SOUNDS

Unfortunately, on the web, there doesn’t seem to be much info about this VB-1 version of the Vibrato pedal. There’s a VB-2 version widely available, so one would think that the number “2” means that there was once upon a time a “1” version. But, if you try searching for the VB-1 – it’s almost like that thing never even existed. So if you happen to know anything about it, leave a comment below.

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Boss ME-5

Rory mentioned using the effect pedal in an interview conducted in mid-1989. Given the subject and the timing of the interview, the pedal was most likely used on Fresh Evidence album.

I have got a Boss ME-5 -the programmable effects board. I know what it will do and what I want it to do, but I don’t actually bother programming it. I leave all that up to an engineer. I’ve never really been into programming, but I’m learning.

The BE-5 is another matter. You just set it up as you need it. I’m enjoying using that in the studio because it allows you to work at the sound as you go along.

July 29,1989 issue of SOUNDS

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Boss ROD-20

Mention in a 1989 interview as the only rack effect that Rory used at the time.

Generally, I’m not over keen on rack-mounted gear. There’s enough to do on stage without having to peer at LED displays, and anyway, […] However, one exception is ROD-20. I have used a wah-wah as a tone control- not pedaling it, but using it to set the mid-frequency for solos. The trouble is that you encounter the gypsy factor -either you get it right or you don’t. There’s no second chance. With the ROD-20, I use settings 1 and 2, patched in from a remote footswitch, to work on the midrange rather than the fuzz setting – there are a lot of midrange possibilities from the equalizer section, particularly with a single-coil pick-up on the guitar.

July 29,1989 issue of SOUNDS

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Boss OD-1 Overdrive

Used occasionally towards the latter part of his career.

I usually use a Tube Screamer, which broke down on me. Last night I was using a Boss overdrive. I use them for some solos, not all solos. I was against using them for years. If I was doing a solo, I had to look at the monitor guy to turn it up and all this.

Guitar for the practicing musician, August 1991 issue

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Strings

Fender Rock’n’ Roll 150 Electric Guitar Strings

On most of this guitars, Rory used the standard set of Fender Rock’n’ Rolls (.010, .013, .015, .026, .032, .038). In Fender Catalogs From 1953 to 1979 (specifically from 1968), you’ll find the information that Fender branded this specific set (150) as “Spanish Guitar light gauge Rock ‘N’ Roll”.

On the guitars that were set-up for slide he used a custom mixture of Fender Rock’n’ Rolls (.013, .015, .018, .026, .032, .038). [International Musician and Recording World, April 1977]. Rory also stated that he wasn’t completely satisfied with the standardized set, and would sometime change the bottom two or the top ones even on the guitars that weren’t used for slide.

Well, I use a mixture of Fender Rock’n’ Rolls. The first is a .013. the second is a .015, and I used to buy wound .020 strings for the 3rd, but I found it was best to stick to unwounds for tuning and so I use an .018 for a 3rd. Then the 4th is a standard 4th, as is the 5th and 6th. I’d put heavier on if I was tuning down, but I generally tune the Tele to A or E and use a capo. Whereas, if I was playing in D, like Ry Cooder does a lot, I use acoustic. D is a bit low on electric sometimes. I could always get another guitar and have it tuned down, whereupon you would need heavier strings.

International Musician and Recording World, April 1977

Occasionally I change bottom strings to beef them up, on a Gibson scale guitar I’ll probably go slightly lighter on top, slightly heavier on bottom.

Rory Gallagher, Words by Max Kay, Photos by Barry Plummer

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Accessories

Coricidin bottle (slide)

For slide on an electric guitar, Rory used Coricidin bottles – similar to those that Duane Allman popularized. Based on the photos Rory used the child-proof versions made after 1971, which differed somewhat to the ones which Allman used.

Duane Allman used to use this sort of thing, and I think Toddy Daniels too. It’s very handy because it doesn’t fall off your finger, and for one dollar 79 you get a great bottleneck. I’ve had various wine bottlenecks, but I find this is really the best, because it’s so smooth. I buy as many as I can when I’m over there because you can’t get them here.

‘I try to keep the balance between madness and technique’ – Rory Gallagher talks to John Dalton

He would sometimes refer to these as Aspirin bottles [Rory Gallagher interview (‘Cologne 76’-full interview )], although in most of the interviews he does call them by their right name.

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Bill Russel Elastic Capo

Used most notably at the Isle of Wight Festival in August 1970 (see photos below on Sinner Boy and Gambling Blues.

According to The Guitarist’s Guide to the Capo by Rikky Rooksby, this was one of the earliest mass-marketed capos. It was made of an elastic material with a metal bar attached to it. The capo is still available on the market today, in form of the Dunlop Bill Russell Elastic Double Heavy Capo.

According to Tony Bacon’s The Telecaster Guitar Book (Second Edition 2012, pp. 2-3), Muddy Waters used the exact same model.

Rory Gallagher using a Bill Russel Elastic Capo during Isle of Wight Festival in August 1970.
Rory Gallagher, Live at Isle of Wight Festival. Screencap YouTube
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Brass Guitar Slide

On his National Duolian Resonator Rory used a brass slide.

I use a brass slide if I’m playing a National. If I’m playing a straight [standard tuned] electric, I use a steel bottleneck. The sound of glass is more smooth and sweet. The brass or copper is very harsh-if you want to get the Son House sort of attack-but it’s almost too harsh all the time. Steel is a good compromise and socket wrenches are ideal.

Rory Gallagher The Irish Blues-Rocker Slides Again by Jas Obrecht

In the early years, Rory even made slides himself from a copper pipe or a part from a microphone stand.

I’ve used ones I’ve made myself from microphone stands, cutting off a few inches, but usually you find there’s only the one. Ry Cooder uses only a wine bottle, and John Hammond and Lowell George use these socket wrenches from Sears Roebuck, an American department store. They use six/eight inch wrenches which fit the small ringer, and they’re really heavy, and very good.

‘I try to keep the balance between madness and technique’ – Rory Gallagher talks to John Dalton

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Tortoiseshell (Celluloid) Picks

While playing acoustic guitars Rory preferred to used tortoiseshell picks, as opposed to Herco Flex 75s that he used on electrics.

As using genuine tortoiseshell was banned in the early 70s, Rory of course, most likely referred to the standard celluloid picks, such as the one manufacturers like Fender still produce today – see Fender 351 Shape Classic Picks.

I use Herco grey picks, which are a hard, heavy nylon type. […] For acoustic I prefer a tortoiseshell for crispness.

February 1985 issue of Guitarist

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Herco Flex 75 Guitar Picks

Based on Rory’s description, the guitar picks that he used in the 90s were the grey (charcoal) Herco Flex 75s. These are quite popular among the “old-school” players, such as Jimmy Page, David Gilmour, and Gary Moore – just to name a few.

If you’re looking to get yourself a pack, this is the current version manufactured by Dunlop – Herco HE211P Flex 75 Nylon Flat Pick.

[I use] Charcoal Herco grey picks. I guess they’re called 75 or something.

Guitar for the practicing musician, August 1991 issue

I use Herco grey picks, which are a hard, heavy nylon type. I sometimes use the serrated grip for solo parts.

February 1985 issue of Guitarist

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