What Guitar Does Rory Gallagher Use

What Guitar Does Rory Gallagher Use?

Rory Gallagher was without doubt the best blues guitarist ever to be born in Ireland. During the period now referred to as “the troubles” in Northern Ireland when most artists wouldn’t tour due to the very real threat of death and destruction, Rory toured the whole country at least once a year, every year.

This saw his popularity increase with an ever growing number of thousands of fans and inspiring others to become guitarists. In early 1975 the Rolling Stones were auditioning for a replacement guitarist for Mick Taylor, Rory went and jammed with them in his words “Just to see what was going on”. Preferring to pursue his solo career, he never joined the band.

Rory’s early influences include; Lonnie Donegan, Big Bill Broonzy, Lead Belly and Woody Guthrie. As a youngster, and while still at school he taught himself to play slide guitar, and by his mid teenage years he was experimenting with various blues styles and techniques.

What Kind Of Guitar Does Rory Gallagher Play?

Rory’s first guitar was a cheap acoustic parlour guitar, his first electric guitar was a Rosetti Solid 7 (similar to the one Paul McCartney owned). Then once he started playing with the Fontana showband, he borrowed a Hohner Colorama, but as he said, “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 bought that Sunburst Fender Stratocaster on Hire Purchase and it took him 4 years to pay for it. He bought it from a music store in Cork called Crowleys. It is claimed to have been the first Strat to ever reach Ireland.

The story goes that Jim Conlan, an Irish guitarist with the Royal showband ordered a red Stratocaster from the US, but the sunburst turned up instead. He apparently had to use it for around 18 months until the red one turned up. Once the red Strat arrived Conlan apparently sold the sunburst to Crowley who then sold it to Rory on HP. Rory paid £100 for the Strat which was a lot of money in 1963.

Rory has also played;

  • 1964 “JB Hutto” Res-O-Glass Airline Guitar
  • 1978 Fender Duo-Sonic
  • 1979 Fender Stratocaster 25th Anniversary in Pearl White
  • Gretsch G6121 Chet Atkins Duo Jet
  • Gibson Melody Maker Electric Guitar
  • Fender Esquire
  • Gibson SG Special Electric Guitar
  • 1966 Fender Telecaster White
  • 1963 Gretsch Corvette
  • JS Berlin Legend
  • 1978 Fender Musicmaster White
  • Danelectro 3021 Shorthorn Guitar

Rory also played acoustic guitars including;

  • Martin D-35
  • Harmony Stella H912 (12-string)
  • 1932 National Triolian Resonator Guitar
Playing The Guitar

Who Has Rory Gallagher Worked With During His Long Career?

Rory has played with the following;

  • Rolling Stones
  • Jerry Lee Lewis
  • Muddy Waters
  • Lonnie Donegan
  • Little Feat
  • Roger McGuinn
  • Gerry McAvoy
  • Wilgar Campbell
  • Lou Martin
  • Brendan O’Neill
  • Mark Feltham
  • David Levy
  • Phil Lynott
  • Paul Brady
  • Bono
  • John Cooke
  • Jim Leverton
  • Richard Newman

What Strings Does Rory Gallagher Use?

Rory Gallagher used Fender Rock’N’Roll 150 strings with the following string gauge;

10,13,15,26,32,38. These are a custom set with medium gauge treble strings and light gauge bass strings. On his acoustic guitars Rory used Martin medium gauge strings.

What Amps Does Rory Gallagher Use?

Fender guitar amp

Rory’s first amp was a Selmer Little Giant amp, which he got rid of because it had too much distortion (which he regretted later on) because at the time everyone wanted a clean sound. He also used;

  • Vox AC30 Guitar Combo Amp
  • Ampeg VT-40 Amplifier
  • 1973 Marshall JMP 50 Watt Lead Tube Amp
  • Ampeg VT-22 Amplifier
  • 1950s Fender Twin
  • Fender Bassman
  • Stramp Amp 2100A
  • Boss FA-1 FET Amplifier
  • Fender Concert 4×10 Brownface
  • Marshall JMP 2104 50W 2×12 Combo

What Effects Pedals Does Rory Gallagher Use?

Rory was once asked by a young Brian May how he got his sound he replied that he used a Rangemaster treble booster and a Vox AC30 amp. He also used;

  • Hawk II Tonal Expander
  • Boss OD-1 OverDrive
  • Boss OC-2 Octave
  • Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer
  • Boss BF-2 Flanger
  • DOD Analog Delay 680
  • Vox V846 Wah
  • Boss ME-5
  • MXR Custom Shop CSP028 Vintage Dyna Comp
  • Boss CE-2 Chorus
  • TC Electronic Booster + Line Driver & Distortion
  • Dallas Rangemaster Treble Booster

What Pickups Does Rory Gallagher Use?

Rory used the original pick-ups that were fitted to his guitars which include, Fender single-coils, humbuckers, P90s and DiMarzio Fat Strat (FS1).

What Chords Does Rory Gallagher Use?

Rory was predominantly a blues guitarist, and he played using blues scales. Some of the chords Rory used were what are now known as power chords (E5) he also used jazz chords (E9) Some of Rory’s songs are in the key of G blues, E blues, he was more of a lead player but he did play rhythm too as he told his mother when he got in debt for the Strat, “I can play both parts, rhythm and lead, we won’t need a rhythm player so I can earn more money and pay it off”.

What Pick Does Rory Gallagher Use?

Rory used Herco Flex 75 picks as did many of his contemporaries including  Jimmy Page, David Gilmour, and Gary Moore.

What Kind Of Music Does Rory Gallagher Play?

Rory was very well known as a blues guitarist but he also played folk, jazz, rock and blues rock.

How To Play Guitar Like Rory Gallagher

To get the sound of Rory Gallagher you’ll need a Fender Stratocaster (or similar sounding guitar), AC30 amp (or maybe a smaller Vox like the AC10 if you don’t want to disturb the neighbours), Dallas Rangemaster Treble Booster (or equivalent). 

Then it’s all about the way he played, he used pentatonic scales – both major and minor, major scales and pentatonic scales with an added 9th. He also used the E major scale that many bluesmen don’t go near but in Rory’s hands with all the added bends etc it becomes a blues scale.

There is a well known rumour that when asked how it felt to be the greatest guitarist in the world, Jimi Hendrix Is supposed to have replied “ I don’t know, go ask Rory Gallagher”. Whether that’s true or not, it is true that Rory was one of the greatest guitarists of the 20th century, and Eric Clapton once said that Rory Gallagher was responsible for “getting me back into the blues”.

What Age Did Rory Gallagher Learn Guitar?

Rory got his first guitar at the age of 9 by when he could already play the ukulele. He went on to learn mandolin as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

What guitar pick did Rory Gallagher use?

Rory Gallagher used Herco flex 75 picks.

What guitar strings did Rory Gallagher use?

Rory Gallagher used Fender rock’n’roll 150 strings on his electric guitars and Martin medium gauge on his acoustic guitars.

What kind of amp did Rory Gallagher use?

Rory Gallagher used a number of amps over the years but he is most associated with the Vox AC30 and the Fender Bassman.

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