Amps and Gear on the Dire Straits Bootleg Leeds 1978

Posted on 6 CommentsPosted in Amps, Dire Straits/ Mark Knopfler live pictures and videos, Effects, Guitars, Mark Knopfler gear

The bootleg Dire Straits – Leeds – January 30 (31?), 1978 is one of the earliest Dire Straits live recordings (actually the only earlier live recording is  only one song – Eastbound Train from the Hope & Anchor pub, London, December 1977). This bootleg concert was recorded about one week before the recoding sessions for the very first Dire Straits album. This gig was the last of a short England tour, where Dire Straits played support for the Talking Heads. For this reason they did not play a full-length concert set.

The bootleg is from a soundboard recording on a tape cassette and contains the following songs: Southbound Again – Eastbound Train – Down to the Waterline – In the Gallery – Water of Love – Setting me up – Me and my friends – Real Girl – Sultans of Swing

Unfortunately the original tape  was damaged in the solo of the first song – Southbound Again – the reason why the last part of this song is missing. It continues with Eastbound Train (first seconds also missing), but we don’t know how long it took to fix the tape problem (or even to notice the problem) so we don’t know whether there have been any other songs in between or not.

There are no pictures or videos of this concert, but there are a few pictures around from the concert one day before, January 29, at the Roundhouse in London. These pictures are all black&white, but on some you can see a part of the backline gear, which has been very likely the same for all concerts on that tour. The best picture is the following, a rather small picture from a story in Q magazine from 1987.

It is rather hard to see any details. What you can see are three amps. The one in the middle (behind Knopfler’s head) is the brown Fender Vibrolux (he still owns this amp and uses it in his British Grove studios). The square-shaped amp on the left of it is also a Fender, as it seems a black face, and according to the proportions a 4 x 10″ combo. I first suspected it to be a Super Reverb, but meanwhile think it is a Fender Concert Amp (no reverb). The amp on the right is a Music Man, and is probably played by Mark’s brother David. It is not the 212 Music Man that Knopfler used later this year because this would be higher than the Vibrolux. It must be a 2 x 10″ combo.

The guitar is Mark’s maple-neck Fender # 80470, with its white non-original pickguard (see this article for more information on the pickguard issue). The guitar behind Mark seems to be his rosewood Fender # 68354, I suspect it is still bare wood finish here, I assume it was painted red not before summer that year.

As it seems David plays his Fender Strat, the one that later was black, but here it is also still wood finish (possibly both were refinished at the same time). Unfortunately you cannot see any effects or other details.

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Guitar portrait: 1983 Squier Stratocaster JV pink metallic

Posted on 8 CommentsPosted in Vintage guitars

After the portrait of the fiesta red 1983 Squier Stratocaster, today’s article features another Japanese vintage Squier, this time an ultra-rare model in all original pink metallic finish.

Since all important facts about that great JV series that was available in 1982-83 only have been mentioned in two previous articles (the mentioned portrait of the  fiesta red 1983 Squier Stratocaster, and the article about Japanese vintage guitars), I will not repeat these things and concentrate only on this particular guitar.

It is the only one in metallic pink I have seen, and before I did not even know that this colour was available. In fact the first Squier Strats were all sunburst, and in 1983 fiesta red, black, and white were added. These were all the colours those Squiers for the world-wide market (the export models) were produced in, but there were a few more for models for the domestic (the Japanese) market: California blue, candy-apple red (CAR), and pink metallic (which replaced CAR in late 1983). There are a few rather small differences between the domestic and the export models, with the most striking beeing the pick-ups which were not the US made Fender pick-ups but Japanese pick-ups called SQ-5 which are excellent and should not be considered as inferior.

The finish is thick glossy poly, just like on the export Squiers. Another difference however is the fretboard curve which is probably 9″ as compared to the 7.25″ of the export models or a Fender vintage Strat. I personally like that 9″ radius because it allows a lower action without string buzzing but still feels like a typical Strat. It seems most CAR Squiers had a shorter scale but this guitar has standard scale length.

It sounds great (like most of these JV Squiers) and I like it a lot.

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Romeo and Juliet on National Style-O

Posted on 17 CommentsPosted in MK guitar style and licks, Vintage guitars

This week was again a rather busy one, so not much time for the next article. All I have is a video of me playing Romeo and Juliet on that National Style-O (read style-“Oh”, the letter not the number, see this article for some detail pictures of this guitar), but there are no instructions or explanation. If you want you can check it out nevertheless, see below.

This guitar is really nice. I had a steel-body Dobro before I got this one, it was the closest thing you could get in the late 80ies but it was nothing compared to the real thing. It is everything but easy to play, the neck is really huge, and you need a lot of left-hand pressure. It has many dings and dents, and the finish has been totally worn on some places. It is in much worse condition compared to Knopfler’s, and for this reason is not as valuable as his, actually it was comparingly cheap, less than one of those new Nationals.

With exception of the plastic tuner pegs it is all original. Unfortunately the resonator had some cracks and tiny rips. I prefered to fix these with clear super-glue or tiny pieces of adhesive tape, instead of replacing the resonator. The sound on the video is recorded by the camera so it is not the best quality, and without a/b comparision it is probably difficult to judge, but everyone who played it liked it.

Here is the video in youtube high-quality, if your internet connection is not fast enough, click here to watch it directly on youtube in standard quality. Unfortunately my high-quality videos have some sound artefacts (which the file I uploaded doesn’t have), no idea why (any help or suggestions are appreciated), it seems youtube uses some denoising algorithm that causes this.

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