While Mark Knopfler is strongly associated with playing fingerstyle, we know he always used a pick occasionally as well. Before he started Dire Straits, he did a lot of fingerpicking- e.g. on his National resonator guitar – but also used a pick much more than he did later. With his band before Dire Straits – the Cafe Racers – he mainly played with a pick on his 1959 Gibson Les Paul Special.
With Dire Straits, he used a pick on the song Expresso Love in 1980 and later, but in fact he used one before for Twisting by the pool which was played live in late 1979. I recently found the first pictures showing a pick on stage in 1979. It was pinched behind the pickguard through most parts of the concert it seems (several pictures of the gig were available). The gig should be Ney York, Palladium, September 11 [wow, a famous date together with the right place!!].
A pick on Bernadette?
I wonder why he did it this way, and why we have never seen a pick there on other late 1979 pictures or videos. Maybe he used it not only on Twisting but on another song? A good candidate might be Bernadette which was only played on that US tour I think (a song composed and sung by David Knopfler). I listened to it again (there are three recordings with this song), and yes, it might be a pick (at least no clear finger-style techniques or sounds on this one).
Decide for yourself (let us know with the comment function): pick or fingers?
Adrian Boot is one of Britain’s best-known music photographers. You might know his name from pictures in magazines (e.g. in NME or Melody Maker) or books – e.g. from the Dire Straits book by Michael Oldfield which features a lot of his pictures.
While searching the web for unknown Dire Straits pictures, I recently found a website – urbanimage.tv – which has about 65 pictures of Dire Straits / Mark Knopfler by Adrian Boot. I have seen many of them before but I was surprised to also find many which I did not know. As you know I am always investigating on all aspects of Mark’s gear – especially the gear used in the old days of Dire Straits. So I was pleased about some pictures from their rehearsal room that e.g. showed Mark’s 1961 Fender Strat from the back (5 tremolo springs, more details about this in one of the next blog posts), or some of the stolen sunburst Schecter Strat (it seems Adrian’s pictures from this photo session are in fact the only ones that exist of this guitar).
You can buy the pictures there, for personal or commercial use. Prices for personal use depend on the resolution, and are 10, 20, or 30 GBP. As I was hoping to find some new details, and being also curious about what is possible to see at the highest resolution of a professional photo, I decided to buy one. After paying with Paypal, you can immediately download the picture in a size of 2,500 pixels, and you will get a link to the full resolution picture (the resolution displayed below each pictures) in an email a bit later.
It is really fascinating how good the quality of such a picture is compared to the versions we see in a magazine. I was almost able to read the serial number of the guitar (at least if you already know it, for some reason the 68354 rather looked a bit like 68345 to me).
Personal use includes the right to print a picture (your favoured picture as a poster on your wall), use it as screen saver, or in the classroom etc. The price for a commercial licence is of course higher and depends on many aspects, like the place and type of your company, picture size, duration, and purpose.