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).