Rory Gallagher's Guitars and Gear

📅 Published :
🧑🏼 Author : Dan Kopilovic

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).

Rory Gallagher’s 1961 Stratocaster on display at the ‘Rock Chic’ exhibition. Held in Collins Barracks Museum, Dublin, Ireland, January 2007 (original source – Wikipedia)

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 slides, 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 ComboMarshall 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 DriverIbanez 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

Rory Gallagher's Electric Guitars

  • Rosetti Solid 7

    Rory Gallagher’s 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.


  • Hofner Colorama

    Rory Gallagher’s 1960s Hofner Colorama

    Rory used this guitar briefly while he played within the showband Fontana, sometime in the early sixties. The guitar wasn’t actually his but was borrowed because the only other guitar he had at the time was the Rosetti Solid Seven. Apparently, that guitar just didn’t cut it, and Rory soon invested in a Stratocaster.

    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.


    The Colorama that was most likely an early 60s model with double cutout body, featuring tremolo bridge and either one (Model 163) or two (Model 164) single-coil pickups. It was finished in red, as all of the Coloramas at that time were.

  • 1961 Fender Stratocaster

    Rory Gallagher’s 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

  • 1966 Fender Telecaster

    Rory Gallagher’s 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]

  • 1958/59 Fender Esquire

    Rory Gallagher’s 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].

  • 1957 Gretsch Corvette

    Rory Gallagher’s 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

  • 1968 Coral 3S19 Electric Sitar

    Rory Gallagher’s 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

  • 1979 Fender 25th Anniversary Stratocaster

    Rory Gallagher’s 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.

  • 1978 Fender Musicmaster

    Rory Gallagher’s 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.

    Embed from Getty Images

    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.

  • 1958 Fender Stratocaster

    Rory Gallagher 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.


Rory Gallagher's Acoustic Guitars

  • 1968 Martin D-35

    Rory Gallagher’s 1968 Martin D-35

    One of Rory’s main acoustic guitars was a 1968 Martin D-35, which he got second-hand in 1969. According to Rory, the intonation was not the best, as is often the case with late 60s Martins, so he had someone replace the bridge.

    I got the Martin in 1969, second-hand. A guy traded it in for a banjo or something and he claimed he picked it off the line at the Martin factory in Nazareth —whether that was a sales pitch or not, I don’t know, but it’s a good Martin. It’s not outrageous, but it’s getting better. I had to get the whole bridge re-made because the intonation was bad when I bought it — other than that it’s fine.

    Rory Gallagher, April 1977, issue of International Musician.

    Rory playing his D-35 Martin. Image source: Rory Gallagher on Facebook
    Rory playing his D-35 Martin. Image source: Rory Gallagher on Facebook

    According to the same interview linked in the quote above, Rory had his D-35 miced up with an Ibanez “The Bug” microphone going into a Barcys Berry preamp.

  • 1932 National Resonator

    Rory Gallagher’s 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.


Rory Gallagher's Amps

  • Selmer Little Giant Amplifier

    Rory Gallagher’s 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

  • Vox AC30

    Rory Gallagher’s Vox AC30 Amp

    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.


    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.

    Embed from Getty Images

  • Stramp K80

    Rory Gallagher’s Stramp K80 Powerbaby

    Rory used this amp between 1971 and 1973. He used a Stramp K80 – this is a 2×12 with an amp, and a Stramp K81 – which is a similar looking 2×12 but without the amp. On stage he would have these stacked on top of each other (see image below).

    While Rory has stuck with Fender and Vox he has experimented and tested several makes of amplifiers. Some of the more interesting makes he ran across were Stramp (a clean-sounding German amp which Leslie West used), Magnatone, Burns, and Vincent (an Italian brand). For studio work Rory also uses Fender — a small Deluxe which sounds rather fuzzy at the time of recording, but which comes across very clean on record.

    Zigzag magazine, November 1971

    Rory Gallager seen with two Stramp K80 amps at the Beat Club, 1971.
    Rory Gallager seen with a Stramp K80/K81 stack at the Beat Club, 1971.

    We’ve got a better p. a. system -it’s a German firm called Stramp, and the equipment is very powerful and very robust, but it’s compact… you don’t need great walls of speakers. But I still use a Vox AC 30, same as I always have. I got my old one stolen, but I got another second hand for £40.

    Rory Gallagher by Steve Rosen, Guitar Player (July 1974)

  • 1954 Fender Bassman

    Rory Gallagher’s 1954 Fender Bassman Amp

    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.

    Embed from Getty Images

    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

  • Fender Deluxe Tweed

    Rory Gallagher’s Fender Deluxe Tweed

    Rory used a Fender Deluxe tweed for studio work only. He used the amp since the early 70s and all the way up until the 90s.

    Nowadays, Gallagher uses his Bassman amp for recording, although the old AC-30 is still rolled in from time to time along with an ancient Fender Deluxe (with one 12” speaker) that he uses occasionally for overdubs.

    BRITISH ROCK GUITAR by Dan Hedges Guitar Player Books 1977

    I used the Vox AC-30 for years and years, and I used to use a Rangemaster treble booster on it, which was great. I still have one at home. Very primitive, but I used to use the normal input in the Vox, which was not known as the brilliance input. It wouldn’t be bright enough; therefore I used the Rangemaster. Then I went to a Fender Twin, a Tweed Twin, and I had a Deluxe which I bought for the studio.

    THE WEARING OF THE BLUES by Vivian Campbell, Guitar for the Practicing Musician, August 1991 issue.

  • Magnatone 190 Pro

    Rory Gallagher’s Magnatone 190 Pro

    Rory Gallagher used this amp in the 70s and had it fitted with Jensen loudspeakers. In an interview from 1976, he explained that he really like that the amp had a tremolo effect built in and that it reminded him of a Leslie speaker.

    I still have the AC30 and I’ve got this Magnetone, which is not a very well known American make. It’s got a very fast tremolo on it – almost like a Leslie effect – with a long tubular bar thing.

    When I got it the guy told me I’d have to get the valves changed, so I hung on to it for months, but it’s only this week that I’ve got it sorted out. It looks a bit like a Selmer. There’s two Jensens in the back, it’s got tremolo, reverb and the tremolo flickers a bit when it’s on. It’s a bit fancy but it’s a nice little amp.

    Interview from International Musician 1976

    Yes, same thing, plus I have an old Magnatone, which went out through Sears, Roebuck in the States. Generally, I end up using the AC-30 or one of the old Fenders. I like to do lead parts live, so you obviously have to have an amp that will be fairly loud, so the other guys in the studio can hear you.

    Guitar Player magazine, March 1978

    In 2017 this amp appeared on auction over at, According to the info posted there, the seller purchased an amplifier from the New King’s Road Guitar Emporium. This amplifier had previously been owned by the family of Rory Gallagher, who released some of their gear for sale. The receipt for the amplifier, which is included in the lot, is from a company called Strange Music.

  • 1950s Fender Twin Tweed

    Rory Gallagher’s 1950s Fender Twin Tweed

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

    Embed from Getty Images

    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

  • Oberheim Studio Amplifier

    Rory Gallagher’s Oberheim Studio Amplifier

    Rory used an Oberheim Studio Amplifier (serial no. 003) from the mid-1970s for practice and warming up before shows. The amp was sold by Rory’s family in 2014, to raise funds in aid of the RNLI Lifeboat of Ballycotton.

    (I use a) Fender Concert amp and a Fender Bassman amp, Hawk Tone Booster, (and) I also use an Oberheimer studio amp.

    Rory Gallagher, Issue 37 of Deuce Quarterly of August 1985

    Oberheim Studio Amplifier ad from 1975.

  • Dwarf Amp

    Rory Gallagher’s Dwarf Amp

    Rory Gallagher used a Dwarf amp as a practice amp, and just in general for warming up and for playing his electric guitar outside of a stage setup.

    I used to bring a Martin around with me, but now I’ve got a tune-up amp called a Dwarf, it’s like the Pig-nose, but you know the way the Pignose is very fuzzy. This one’s dead clean, but you can fuzz it up if you want.

    Rory Gallagher, International Musician 1976

    The Dwarf amp was produced from 1974 to 1079 by a company called Twenty-First Century Products located in Ignacio, CA. It was a small battery or cable-powered amp advertised as a “low-noise portable recording amplifier”.

  • 1960s Fender Concert Brownface

    Rory Gallagher’s 1960s Fender Concert Brownface

    Rory acquired a Fender Concert amp in 1976 and used it in 1976 and 1977 in combination with the Hawk booster and the Fender Bassman. As far as the years, based on the interviews posted on RoryOn, it was either a 1960 or 1961 model (or he had a couple of them).

    I ditched the AC30 about two years ago. It was very good, but with keyboards you need something stronger. What I’ve got now is a Fender Bassman and a Fender Concert linked together.

    Rory Gallagher, March 1977 issue of BEAT INSTRUMENTAL

    Then I got into a tweed Fender Bassman, and recently I got a Fender Concert, which is an old brown one, from around 1959, with four 10” speakers. I use a Hawk booster through that just to roughen it up a bit, or if it’s a quiet number I plug straight in and keep the guitar clean sounding.

    Rory Gallagher, March 1978 issue of Guitar Player

  • 1975 Ampeg VT-40

    Rory Gallagher’s 1975 Ampeg VT-40

    Rory started using a 1975 Ampeg VT-40 amp in 1978 for playing live.

    Recently I bought an Ampeg VT 40 and also that one has, it’s becoming a drag, four 10” speakers. It is possible that I’m going to use that one for a while. It has a good mid-range and the amplifier can be distorted really well when you crank up the volume. That’s about it; I’m still experimenting a bit.

    Rory Gallager, June 1978 issue of the Dutch publication Music Maker

    By 1979, Rory seemed to have figured out what he wanted from this setup, which he achieved by linking the VT-40 to another Ampeg amp – the VT-22. He used this setup probably until the early 80s when he moved to a Marshall 50-watt combo.

    For amplification, Rory has currently abandoned the old Fender gear he used to use in favor of Ampeg. He now has an Ampeg VT 40 which he links up with a VT 22. He finds that the Ampegs give him the mid-range response he’s looking for, which isn’t the case with, say, the Ritzy, but wallet-piercing Music Man units.

    March 1979 issue of BEAT Instrumental.

  • Ampeg VT-22

    Rory Gallagher’s Ampeg VT-22

    Rory started using an Ampeg VT-22 amp for live performances sometime around 1978. He had the amp linked to an Ampeg VT-40.

    As for amps, I still hear the old Vox AC30 in my head, though I’ve experimented with Marshall 50W combos and I have a couple of old “Tweed” Fender amps that I have a go on from time to time. I’ve also tried some of the Ampeg combos, like the VT40 and VT22. They’re great, but I do love the AC30.

    Rory Gallagher, GUITARIST JULY 1984

  • Marshall 2104 JMP MKII 50-watt Combo

    Rory Gallagher’s Marshall 2104 JMP MKII 50-watt Combo Amp

    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.


  • Marshall 100-watt Bass Head

    Rory Gallagher’s 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.

    Embed from Getty Images

    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.


  • Roland Cube

    Rory Gallagher’s Roland Cube

    Rory occasionally used this guitar amp in the 1980s for practice and leisure. In an interview with the International Musician and Recording World in 1982, he had only positive things to say about it and mentioned that it was the only solid-state amp that he enjoyed the sound of.

    I have changed: I started off with a Vox AC30, and I still have one which I use in the studio quite a bit. It’s still the best all-purpose amp that’s ever been made. I don’t go for Solid State amps, with the exception of the Roland Cube which is good, and I have one of those which I’m just messing around with at the moment. They’ve developed the transistor system now – this FET system and I’m no great technician, but they work in a similar way to valves.

    Rory Gallagher, Feb.1982 issue of International Musician and Recording World


Rory Gallagher's Effects

  • Dallas Rangemaster

    Rory Gallagher’s 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.

  • Boss DB-5 Driver

    Rory Gallagher’s 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.

  • Hawk II Tonal Expander/Booster

    Rory Gallagher’s Hawk II Tonal Expander/Booster

    Rory started using this treble booster around 1974 – or around the same time that he started using a Fender Bassman amp.

    I sometimes use a Rangemaster treble booster, though I’m using a Hawk II at the moment, which is much more expensive, but it gives more control.

    Basically, when I stopped using the AC-30, I stopped using the Rangemaster. Then I got the Fender Twin, and started plugging straight into it. I was happy with that slightly cleaner tone for a while, but I went back to using the booster again with the Bassman about a year ago. Ideally, I could still plug straight in if I played at a lower volume, but with the piano and everything else in the band, you need something to make the guitar more piercing.

    BRITISH ROCK GUITAR by Dan Hedges Guitar Player Books 1977

    At some point in the late 70s, it sounds like he stopped using boosters altogether because he was no longer using the Fender Bassman on stage.

    No. I usually use a pre-amp, to boost the amps and get those speakers flapping. I really only boost the mid-range. Up until recently, I was using a Hawk II, a small battery-operated treble and bass boost with three little graphic things on it which was quite handy, but with all these gadgets you always end up with slight noise from lights and so on, so I used to wrap that in tin foil.

    ‘I try to keep the balance between madness and technique’ Rory Gallagher talks to John Dalton, September 1978 issue of Guitar

  • MXR Phase 90

    Rory Gallagher’s MXR Phase 90

    Rory mentioned using this pedal in an interview he did with a Dutch publication Music Maker in 1978. Also, it is briefly mentioned in a Guitar Player article from 1977, where it was noted that Rory liked to use the pedal “just for fooling around with” (see BRITISH ROCK GUITAR by Dan Hedges Guitar Player Books 1977)

    I have a MXR phase 90 which I mess around with, on some of my records I have sometimes used the effect with accompaniment work.

    Rory Gallagher, June 1978, Music Maker

  • Furman PQ-3 Parametric EQ

    Rory Gallagher’s Furman PQ-3 Parametric EQ

    Rory started using a Furman PQ-3 Parametric EQ sometime around 1978, as a successor of the Hawk II Tonal Expander.

    At present I have a Firmin parametric unit, which I got in America, and the handy thing about it is it works on the mains instead of batteries or transistors. It’s an integrated circuit but it’s very advanced so you don’t get that transistorized sound which cuts away the bottom end of your sound if you use gadgets.

    It’s got a pre-amp which can boost 20dB or something, and then each of the three areas, bottom, mid and top-range, can be adjusted. I really only boost the mid range.

    Up until recently I was using a Hawk II, a small battery operated treble and bass boost with three little graphic things on it which was quite handy, but with all these gadgets you always end up with slight noise from lights and so on, so I used to wrap that in tin foil.

    Rory Gallagher, September 1978 issue of Guitar–the magazine for all guitarists

  • Boss GE-6 Graphic Equalizer

    Rory Gallagher’s 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.

  • DOD 680 Analog Delay

    Rory Gallagher’s DOD 680 Analog Delay

    Used regularly live. In the studio, however, Rory preferred to use a Watkins Copicat Tape Delay, which he thought sounded more authentic.

    And I’ve got a DOD analog. They’re back on the amps, and that’s set at the minimum setting, just for a little bit of slap-back.

    Kerrang No.15 May6-19, 1982

    I always have a small delay on one of my amps, like a Memory Man or a DOD.

    Kerrang No.15 May6-19, 1982

  • Boss FA-1 FET

    Rory Gallagher’s Boss FA-1 FET Amplifier Pedal

    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.

  • Watkins Copicat Tape Delay

    Rory Gallagher’s 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

  • MXR Dyna Comp Compressor

    Rory Gallagher’s 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

  • Boss OC-2 Octave

    Rory Gallagher’s Boss OC-2 Octave

    This was apparently one of Rory’s favorite effects.

    My favorite Boss effect is the Octave divider -the OC-2. That’s great, even with slide, for which I tend to boost it with the compressor.

    Rory Gallagher A Question of Taste

  • Boss BF-2 Flanger

    Rory Gallagher’s 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.

  • 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.

  • Boss ME-5

    Rory Gallagher’s Boss ME-5 Guitar Multiple Effects

    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

  • Boss ROD-20

    Boss ROD-20 Overdrive Distortion

    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

  • Boss OD-1 Overdrive

    Rory Gallagher’s 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


Rory Gallagher's Strings

  • Fender Rock’n’ Roll 150 Electric Guitar Strings

    Rory Gallagher’s 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

  • Martin Medium Gauge Acoustic Guitar Strings

    Rory Gallagher’s Martin Medium Gauge Acoustic Guitar Strings

    According to an interview Rory gave in 1991, he used Martin medium gauge strings on his acoustic guitars.

    Acoustic would be medium gauge Martin strings.

    guitar for the practicing musician, August 1991 issue.

    If you’re looking to buy a set for yourself, basically look for any decent .013 – .056 strings. If you want strictly Martin, go for their Martin MSP4200 SP Phosphor Bronze set.


Rory Gallagher's Accessories

  • Coricidin bottle (slide)

    Rory Gallagher’s 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.

  • Bill Russel Elastic Capo

    Rory Gallagher’s 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 book “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
  • Brass Guitar Slide

    Rory Gallagher’s 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

  • Hohner Echo Super Vamper

    Rory Gallagher’s Hohner Echo Super Vamper

    According to an interview posted on, Rory used a Hohner Echo Super Vamper harmonica. The interview unfortunately was conducted at an unknown date, so we don’t know when exactly Rory started using this harmonica, and we don’t know whether this is something he stuck with, or he used different models throughout his career.

  • Tortoiseshell (Celluloid) Picks

    Rory Gallagher’s 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

  • Herco Flex 75 Guitar Picks

    Rory Gallagher’s 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

  • Socket Wrench Slide

    Rory Gallagher’s Socket Wrench Slide

    Rory used a 5/8th inch or 7/8th inch socket wrench sometimes when playing slide guitar – like the ones from Craftsman sold by Sears and Roebuck.

    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.

    I have a 5/8th or 7/8th, because John Hammond told me he was using one, and Lowell George had one as well. They’re fantastic, but you really need very heavy strings. And if you’re playing more than a couple of numbers, they do wear your small finger down, and you don’t want to be tiring your hand.

    Rory Gallagher, June 1991 issue of Guitar Player


This gear list is a result of years of research and constant updates. It's a hobby project with the goal to eventually have the most complete and thorough gear list on the web - but that is only achievable with your help!

GroundGuitar counts on your criticism and feedback. If you have any knowledge or notice any mistakes, be sure to let us know!