Mark Knopfler’s stolen sunburst Schecter Strat of Tunnel of Love

Posted on Posted in Guitars, Mark Knopfler gear

In 1980 Mark Knopfler bought some Schecter guitars (probably 4 Strats and a Telecaster) at Rudy’s Music Stop in New York. These were two red Strats (see my article about these here), one blue Strat, a black Telecaster, and a wonderful sunburst Strat. The last was the guitar that was played on the song Tunnel of Love on the Making Movies album. It seems he liked especially this one very much, he even said in an interview that it was possibly the best sounding guitar he ever had (however, this is something he used to say rather often about the latest guitar he got 😉 ).

Unfortunately this guitar was stolen soon after the recording of Making Movies (if I remember correctly out of the car in Deptford, possibly after a rehearsal). This was some time before the first gig of the Making Movies tour because on this tour he played another sunburst Schecter Strat that he bought as a direct replacement for the stolen one. Both were similar, had probably the same pick-ups and the same basic features. Some differences that make both easy to distinguish on pictures are the dot markers (the first one had them while the second one was without) and the location of the output jack (the first had the normal Strat type recessed output jack, the second one had it on the body side, just like a Telecaster).

There are not too many details that are known about the stolen Schecter. The pick-ups  were most likely Schecter F500Ts (quarter inch alnico magnets, the T stands for tapped coil), just like in the replacement guitar. According to Tom Anderson (former employee at Schecter who now builds his own guitars) the body of the sunburst Strat was birch (unfortunately we don’t know of which of the two sunburst Strats). The neck was beautifully figured bird’s eye maple.

As he did not have it for a long time, there is only a small number of pictures of this guitar which all seem to be from the same photo session. To me this guitar looked incredibly cool, I love the two-tone sunburst which looks for some reason much better than on the replacement Strat. Below you can see all pictures I have of this guitar.

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12 thoughts on “Mark Knopfler’s stolen sunburst Schecter Strat of Tunnel of Love

  1. I don’t know about any differences, both had a golden metal pickguard, and should be loaded with the same electronics. The metal quickly corrodes, you have to polish it a lot to keep it shiny I guess, so at least on later pictures of the replacement Strat it looks different, rather dull.

  2. Ok, I’m sure you are right. I’ve always thought that the stolen one had a white pickguard, but that’s probably because it was new and shiny, so it looked white on the few photos available. Thanks again, Ingo!

  3. They were polished brass, the polish naturally gets tarnished with sweating fingers on it, in the 1980 Dortmund DVD you can see it’s very shiny compared to later concerts 83-85 etc. I have the same assembly plus a NOS vintage schecter brass bridge in an Eric Johnson sunburst strat and it’s nice 🙂 I love the 500Ts, they seem better behaved than most strat pickups, more rounded, but use the them tapped mostly and only untapped when at higher volumes or when distortion is used for blues.

    BTW – brilliant picture of schecter sunburst #1 Ingo, if you any more please stick em up thanks!

  4. Thanks for the article, I’ve been looking for more info on the sunburst schecter for yonks.
    I had a guitar made by John Suhr to get as close to the spirit of this guitar as possible – well, actually a hybrid of this one, and his replacement one. Sadly they wouldn’t do the steel pickguard…
    But it does have the birdseye maple neck (dotless), gold hardwear, side jack, and 3 toggle swithches. Absolutely beautiful. I’ll send some picks to you if you like! Sadly I can’t play it within an order of magnitude as the the man himself. I bought it just for tunnel of love, which I have spent most of my adolescent life learning!
    Cheers dude!
    Bobby

  5. Does anyone know where i can get a wiring diagram for the schect strat? With the three switches instead of standard slider. Thanks

  6. Fantastic!! Thanks. I didn’t realise Knopfler had one of these. I have an old guitar book from 1982: ‘The complete guitar guide’ (ISBN 0 907080 391) which has a feature on a Chandler guitar/Schecter “Strat”, im sure it is the same as Knopfler’s.

    I am attempting to recreate this guitar – hence the reason for trying to find the wiring diagram. Although im having difficulty trying to find a brass scratchplate, i think i am going to have to make it myself. Thanks again and have a nice xmas and new year 🙂

  7. Jack Sonni used the replacement one for Going home in 85-86 as we can see on the Wembley videos (with Hank Marvin, or with Pete Townshend), and on Sydney too I think (not sure).

  8. many years ago, I picked up a Schechter/Fender hybrid (tobacco sunburst) strat in south carolina. the neck is a fender transition maple cap, fender pickups and Schechter body. Were these a production model or maybe mine is a frankstein guitar. I’ve been offered a pretty good chunk of change just for the maple cap neck.

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