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The Gallagher family settled in the Wartrace area in the 1820's. J.W. Gallagher was born in 1915 and lived in the same house in which he was born until his death in 1979. J.W. Gallagher first began woodworking as a cabinet maker in Wartrace in 1939. He made fine quality furniture. However, by 1965 J.W. Gallagher was making guitars exclusively.Don Gallagher, the fifth generation Gallagher in Wartrace was born in 1947. He literally grew up working in his father's shop. In the early 1960's he closely assisted his father in development of the guitar business. In 1976, Don Gallagher assumed the responsibility of operating the family business when his father semi-retired. Gallagher Guitars are built in very limited numbers. From 1965 to 1990 only 2064 instruments were made, indicative of the time and care given each instrument. Early Gallagher Guitars had paper labels. The serial number on these labels indicate the year and month the guitar was made. Starting at the first of 1970, the serial number indicates the actual number of guitars that have been built. This number, together with the model number, is stamped on the neck block inside every Gallagher guitar.There is no substitute for fine craftsmanship in a musical instrument. The workmanship on all Gallagher guitars is the same regardless of price or model.The difference in cost of the various models is governed by the cost of materials and the amount and type of trim used.
In 1963, J.W. Gallagher, a skilled woodworker, sawed a dreadnought guitar in half in order to figure out how it was made. J.W. had recently lost his job making scale-model airplanes and rockets when the Slingerland drum factory in Shelbyville, Tenn., hired him to set up a production line for their new Shelby guitar. The Shelby was an inexpensive guitar that served as Slingerland’s foray outside of drumstick making. J.W. and his son, Don, worked in the Slingerland factory for a few years, but J.W. wanted to build instruments with the same quality and care that he put into his furniture. So, in 1965, J.W. Gallagher built the first Gallagher guitar. The Gallagher Guitar Company has been producing quality handmade guitars ever since.
Wartrace, Tennessee
Steve Kaufman, Doc Watson, Steve Rector
75 Special, Steve Kaufman Signature, 72 Special, 71 Special, G-70, G-65, Doc Watson, Doc Watson Signature, G-50, G-45, GC-70, GA-70, A-70, Ragtime Special, GC-Short Scale, Classical
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