Guitars

New Theory on the Sultans of Swing Sound: DiMarzio FS-1 Pickup in the Middle Position

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Mark Knopfler’s guitar sound on the first two Dire Straits albums is firmly associated to the 1 & 2 position (bridge & middle) of the 5-way switch. This position causes a special, nasal “out of phase” sound. The term out of phase is technically incorrect as both pickups are still in phase but – similar to a true out of phase wiring – certain frequencies are cancelled or at least decreased and others boosted so that the resulting sound of both pickups together is totally different from the sound of a single pickup. In one of his two red Fender Strats Mark had a DiMarzio FS-1 pickup (confirmed in a Guitar Player interview from early 1979). He often swapped the pickguards of his two Strats […]

Guitars

Tremolo Setup of the Sultans Strat

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When browsing Adrian Boot’s Dire Straits photos, I found one from early 1980 that allowed a very rare view on Mark’s 1961 “Sultans” Stratocaster: a view on the back of the guitar. As the tremolo cover plate is missing on this  guitar – back then and still today – we can see the inside of the tremolo cavity. From some other pictures or video stills, I already got the vague impression that Mark had five tremolo springs, but here it is finally proven. Besides we can see how the tremolo claw (the part that holds the springs) is adjusted. As you know, the two screws that hold the claw in the body allow to adjust the tension of the springs. The ditance between the claw […]