Jimi hendrix was once asked, "What is it like being the greatest living guitarist?" Jimi looked up and said, "I don't know. Ask Rory Gallagher that question, sir."
That says it all for me.
1948 - 1995
Gallagher was always associated with his well-worn sunburst 1961 Stratocaster, which his brother Donal has officially retired. It was reputedly the first in Ireland, and was ordered from Fender by Jim Connolly, a showband member performing with The Irish Showband. Connolly ordered a cherry red Stratocaster through a music shop in Cork. When Fender shipped a sunburst Stratocaster instead, it went on sale as a second-hand instrument, which Gallagher bought for just shy of £100 at Crowley's Music Store on Cork's McCurtain Street. The guitar was extensively modified by Gallagher. The tuning pegs, for a start, are odd (5 Sperzel pegs and one Gotoh), and all of these have been found to be replacements. Secondly, it is thought that the nut has been replaced and interchanged a number of times. Thirdly, the scratchplate was changed during Gallagher's time with Taste. Another change was made regarding the pickups, of which none are original. The final modification was that of the wiring: Gallagher disconnected the bottom tone pot and rewired it so he had just a master tone control along with the master volume control. He also installed a 5-way selector switch in place of the vintage 3-way one. The most notable effect that years of touring have had is the almost complete removal of the guitar's original sunburst finish, due to Gallaghers rare blood type which caused his sweat to be unusually acidic. Although the Strat was left abandoned in a ditch, in the rain, for days after being stolen, this isn't believed to have caused any of the effect. All of the wear is caused by playing, not misuse. It also had a period of time of having a replacement neck, with the original bowing due to the amount of moisture it absorbed during continuous touring. The neck was taken off the strat and left to settle, and was eventually reunited with the Strat after returning to its correct shape. Other quirks include a 'hump' in the scratch plate which moves the neck pickup closer to the neck on the bass side and a replacement of all of the pickups, though this replacement was due to damage rather than a perception of a tonal inadequacy. One final point of interest is that one of the clay double-dot inlays at the 12th fret fell out and was replaced with a plastic one, which is why it is whiter than the other clay inlays. (Source: Wikipedia)