Mark Knopfler licks using the b5 note

Posted on 6 CommentsPosted in MK guitar style and licks, Understanding music

The b5 notes means the flattened fifth note of any scale. If we have e.g. a  C-major scale (c – d -e -f -g – a – b – c ), the fifth note is the g , and if this note is flattened, we get the gb. The same logic works with any major or minor (or other) scale.

The following video demonstrates the usage and the position of this note. You will find Mark Knopfler licks from Sultans of Swing (Alchemy version), Calling Elvis, In the Gallery, Down to the Waterline, and many more.

I did not tab these licks here, but I think you will not have problems to see how they are played. Remember, it is not important to play something authentically but rather to understand the idea behind what is being played. Only this way you will be able to transfer the licks into your own repertoire, and to use them for your own music.

The video is in high quality here. If you have bandwidth problems, click here to go to youtube and watch it at standard quality. Enjoy.

"Buy me a beer" - donate for the site via PayPal. Or buy a backing track in my online shop 🙂

50th Article

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Misc

With this post I am proud to annouce the 50th article of this blog, which went online on August 10, 2008.  50 articles in 104 days means an average of 0.49 article per day, or 3.4 articles every week.

In these three months the blog built up a reputation among Mark Knopfler fans and guitar players, and the number of daily visitors is still steadily rising.

Thanks to every visitor and to all who expressed how much they like this blog. Also thanks to all who commented here, and this way helped to make the blog really interactive.

I really enjoy writing about what I am interested in myself, so be sure that there will be many more articles in the future.

"Buy me a beer" - donate for the site via PayPal. Or buy a backing track in my online shop 🙂

Knopfler goes Jazz – Video with licks from Comfort and Joy soundtrack

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in MK guitar style and licks

In 1982 Dire Straits recorded their Love over Gold album in New York. According to Knopfler himself, he spent some time before with learning new chords and licks from a book by Mickey Baker. This circumstance, and the collaboration with Jazz musicians of the New York jazz scene – like Mike Mainierei, Michael & Randy Brecker or Tony Levin – seem to be the reason why sudenly more jazz elements appeared in his playing.

A short time later Knopfler recorded the Local Hero soundtrack, again some of these musicians appeared on tracks like Smooching. In 1984 the soundtrack for Comfort & Joy was released. The licks in the following video are from this 3-track soundtrack – from the track Joy (orginally released on a maxi vinyl single). They illustrate Knopfler’s jazzy approach -typical elements are chromatic notes, e.g. using the b5 note of the scale, or the swing rhythm.

I have not heard the soundtrack for years I must admit, and generally I do not care too much about playing 100% authentically, I rather try to catch the feel and play it the way it sounds good to me, so forgive me if some details are not accurate. Nevertheless the video should give you some insight of what is going on.

Video in high quality: (in case of bandwidth problems, click here to go directly to youtube and watch it at normal quality)

If you don’t know this rather rare soundtrack, you can hear the intro of the song Joy here:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

"Buy me a beer" - donate for the site via PayPal. Or buy a backing track in my online shop 🙂