Spinal Tap, the fictional British rock band, famously turned their guitar amplifiers up to 11.

But now auctioneers have discovered that at least one real-life British rock god preferred altogether more sedate settings on his equipment.

During an inspection of amplifiers owned by the late rock and blues guitarist Gary Moore, auctioneers in Wiltshire have found pen markings made by Moore on panels to indicate where each control knob should be set.

Alas, nothing went higher than nine.

The amplifiers and guitars are part of the largest collection of Gary Moore-owned equipment ever to come up for auction since his death eight years ago.

Gary Moore equipment
Pen markings made by Gary Moore on his amp to indicate where each control knob should be set (Gardiner Houlgate/PA)

They go on sale on December 11 at Wiltshire-based Gardiner Houlgate, a specialist in guitars.

The 87 lots include Moore’s amplifiers, stage equipment, effects pedals, synthesizers and a range of guitars, including the 2001 Gibson ES-335 featured on the cover of his 2006 album Close As You Can Get.

Most items were either used by Moore on stage or in the studio.

Auctioneer Luke Hobbs said: “It was a little eerie to find the pen markings made by Gary Moore. They look like they could have been drawn on yesterday.

“The whole turn-it-up-to-11-thing has become part of popular culture since Spinal Tap, so it’s good to know that their real-life contemporaries like Moore treated their equipment with a little more sophistication.

“With such a wide range of items up for sale, guitarists and fans have a great chance to own a piece of Gary Moore history for a very affordable price.

“It’s very hard to estimate the total value of a collection like this but we’re thinking it’s in the range of £30,000 to £40,000.

Gary Moore with guitar
Gary Moore holding his Gibson ES-335 guitar (Sam Scott-Hunter/PA)

“While Moore was most well-known in the UK, he was a big name in Europe during the 80s, so we’re expecting considerable international interest.”

Moore is perhaps most famous for his solo hits Parisienne Walkways, Out In The Fields and Still Got The Blues.

His prolific career included stints with Thin Lizzy, Skid Row and Colosseum II as well as collaborations with musicians like BB King, Jack Bruce and George Harrison.

Belfast-born Moore also worked regularly with Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott, whom he first met when he moved to Dublin as a teenager.

Less well known is the fact that Moore played guitar on Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1978 hit album Variations, a fusion of classic music and rock, which produced the theme music for ITV’s long-running arts programme The South Bank Show.

He died of a heart attack in 2011 aged 58.

In the 1984 comedy film This Is Spinal Tap, the fictional British rock band’s guitarist Nigel Tufnell explained how settings on the band’s amplifiers “all go to 11”, which he claimed was “one louder”.