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, and prior to Rory, it spent some time with Jim Conlon of the Royal Showband. Over the years, Rory modified his Stratocaster somewhat extensively – most importantly changing the pickups, and moving over to the master tone configuration.
Aside from the Stratocaster, he often used a 1960s Fender Telecaster as well as 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, and he often pickup up his red 1957 Gretsch Corvette for slide, on occasions even preferring it to the Esquire.
Regarding acoustic guitar, Rory most often used a 1968 Martin D-35, which was probably 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. However, he most liked the combination of his trusty AC30 and a vintage Fender Bassman 4×10.
As far as effects, even though most people wouldn’t expect this since Rory is viewed as an old-school guitarist, according to his nephew Daniel, Rory archive counts more than 100 effect pedals. Most of these were probably bought out of curiosity and weren’t used much, but Rory did count heavily on a number of them.
For example, he used Dallas Rangebooster extensively during the 70s. When the pedal went out of production and became harder to find, he began using various “drive” pedals such as Boss DB-5 Driver, Ibanez Tube-Screamer, and the unique and rare Boss FA-1 FET. He also used compression extensively (MXR Dyna Comp), and occasionally used a flanger (usually a Boss BF-2).
Chronological list of Guitars, Amps, Effects, and Accessories used by Rory Gallagher
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Rory Gallagher's 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 […]
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. Origin Story 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 […]
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 appears with this guitar is the Isle of Wight concert in August 1970. At that point, […]
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 […]
Purchased for $80 in a Pawnshop in the late 70s. This 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, […]
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 […]
Rory acquired this guitar upon visiting 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 […]
Rory was first seen using this guitar around 1982. 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 […]
Rory owned a vintage 1957 maple-neck Stratocaster that he used only in the studio. This information comes from the 1998 article published in 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, on which specific tracks he used it.
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. 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 […]
This was the first amplifier that Rory got, 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, 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. […]
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 […]
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 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 […]
In a 1989 interview, Rory mentioned that one of his main pedals is a Boss BD-1 Drive, which he has been 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Mentioned in a few interviews by 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 […]
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
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 […]
In an interview conducted just before the Fresh Evidence came out, Rory stated that he really enjoyed using the Boss VB-1 vibrato pedal. Unfortunately, on the web, there’s doesn’t seem to be much info about this VB-1 version the of the Vibrato pedal. If you happen to know anything about it, be sure to leave a comment below. The other thing I particularly like is the Boss Vibrato pedal (the […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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). […]
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.
For slide on an electric guitar, Rory used Coricidin bottles identical to ones that Duane Allman popularized. 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]