Mark Knopfler Guitar / My Knowledge of guitar

Songs that Mark Knopfler plays with a pick

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Easy stuff for beginners, MK guitar style and licks


This  blog post was written by Jean-François. Thank you J.F. ! 🙂 [some comments by Ingo in brackets]


Mark Knopfler has always been associated with fingerpicking. His totally unique right hand technique has become his landmark since the first Dire Straits album in 1978. However, Mark also sometimes plays with a guitar pick – not only but mostly during his solo career.

Among his childhood guitar heroes, Chet Atkins and Hank Marvin were probably the most important for him. From Chet he learned the fingerpicking style. Hank started the desire to get a red Strat, but also to play the twang style i.e using the tremolo arm at the end of each lick instead of using the left hand vibrato. That’s a style he used to play more and more during late years, trying to reproduce that Hank style, most of the time with his ’54 Fender sunburst Stratocaster aka “the Jurassic strat”.

Twang! The combination of a pick and whammy bar on the ’54 Strat

It’s interesting to notice that there are also songs with that “twang-vibrato” touch but played with fingers : I’m the fool, So far away (except in 2006 and 2008 when he used a pick for this song), and in a certain way why worry or nobody’s got the gun… A liitle bit like Mike Oldfield who played on many songs in a certain Marvin-style with a clean-reverbed tone and the whammy bar, but with fingers instead of pick.

Besides this Hank style, Mark played with a pick on many songs during DS and solo days, mainly in studio, rarely live. It was mostly for strummed acoustic guitars or rhythm parts.
Sometimes, he makes a “virtual” pick with his nails. He does this very often when he wants more power, e.g. at the end of Money for nothing (see Live Aid 85 at 6:50) , or even Private investigations on nylon acoustic (see WEMBLEY 85 at 6:26)

He does it also during the firts part of Tunnel of love (and especially during the break) and for the intro on So far away (except in 2006 and 2008 when he used a pick for this song).

If Mark uses a pick live he kept it during the whole song (expresso love, our shangri-la, fizzy and the still, So far away in 2006 and 2008, let it all go, True love will never fade, The man’s too strong…)

I never saw him alternate pick and fingers in the same song, EXCEPT for news/Private Investigations final in 1980-81, he took the pick just for outro (at 4:18)
[Ingo: I think he changes from pick to fingers on Tunnel of Love where he played the first two or so verses with a pick and then changed to a semi-lead/riff style played with the fingers]


List of songs  played with a pick

Below is an attempt to list all songs from DS/solo/NHB on which he uses a pick. Question marks stand for not 100% sure.

1976 Pre-Dire Straits

He used a pick with the Café Racers because “it was a combination of rhythm and lead playing “as he explains in the Oldfield book. “I used more the pick at the time”

So we can assume that most of covers performed with Café Racers were played with a pick, on the Gibson LP special
[Mark said he played with a pick in the Mick Green style then]


1978 Dire Straits

southbound again : accent chords
[Ingo: not sure]

1979 Communique

where do you think you’re going : acoustic part ?
Live he played it with fingers, but the acoustic part on studio version sounds like being strummed ?

A pick jammed behind the pickguard in late 1979

1979 tour

Bernadette ?
In my car ?
Twisting by the pool

–>  Blog post about pick in 1979


1980 Making movies

Tunnel of love : acoustic and electric rhythm parts
Expresso love : rhythm parts and solo
Hand in hand : riff ?

1980-1981 tour

News outro (which became later the Private Investigations outro) DORTMUND 1980
Expresso love


1982 Love over gold

Private investigations : electric part VIDEO CLIP


Playing the solo in Espresso Love with a pick on 1983

1983 ExtendedPlay (EP)

Twisting by the pool VIDEO CLIP
If I had you : acoustic (played by Mark or Hal ?)   [I guess the electric guitar that opens the song with that E chord is played with a pick, too]

1982-1983 tour

Expresso love ALCHEMY
Twisting by the pool

1985 Brothers in arms

So far away : rhythm part (or played by Jack Sonni ?)
The man’s too strong : acoustic part (Ovation)

1985-1986 tour

Expresso love WEMBLEY 85
The man’s too strong : acoustic part (Ovation) WEMBLEY 85
Note : So far away was played with fingers during 1985 tour WEMBLEY 85

1990 Notting Hillbillies

Will you miss me : lead part VIDEO CLIP
acoustic parts on several songs

1991 On every street

On every street : lick at the end of each verse (just after “on every street”)
Ticket to heaven : electric chords, acoustic rhythm (or played by phil Palmer ?)

1996 Golden heart

Nobody’s got the gun : acoustic rhythm part
What have I got to do : acoustic rhythm part

2000 Sailing to Philapdelphia

What it is : acoustic rhythm
Who s’ your baby now : acoustic rhythm
Camerado : lead part

2001 tour

Who s’ your baby now TORONTO 2001

Note : So far away was played with fingers during 2001 tour LYON, PHILADELPHIA

2002 The ragpicker’s dream

Why aye man : accent chords on the chorus (played live by Guy Fletcher on the 68 sunburst Telecaster)
You don’t know you’re born : end solo
Dady’s gone to knoxwille : acoustic rhythm

2004 Shangri-la

Our Shangri-la : lead part
Everybody pays : lead part
Don’t crash the ambulance : lead part
Summer of love : rhythm

Note : Our Shangri-la was played with fingers during 2005 tour HANNOVER, ERFURT
Note : So far away was played with fingers during 2005 tour MILAN, LONDON

2006 All the roadrunning

Rollin on : lead part
Beyond my wildest dreams : acoustic rhythm and tremolo chords (or played by Richard ?)
All the roadrunning: acoustic rhythm (or played by Richard ?)

2006 tour

Born to run VERONA

2007 Kill to get crimson

True love will never fade : lead
The scaffolder’s wife : acoustic rhythm part ?
The fizzy and the still : lead part for sure, but rhythm part ?
A heart full of holes : electric licks
We can get wild: lead and rhythm parts
Punish the monkey : lead and rhythm parts
Let it all go : lead and rhythm parts
The fish and the bird : electric chords
In the sky : electric chords

2007 promo tour

True love will never fade BERLIN
The fizzy and the still BASEL_
Let it all go BERLIN, BASEL
Our Shangri-la BASEL

2008 tour

True love will never fade PARIS
Our Shangri-la ATARFE
So far away PARIS

2009 Get lucky

Border reiver : acoustic rhythm part and accent chords on the blonde telecaster
Hard shoulder : lead part and acoustic rhythm part
The car was the one : lead part and mandolin
Remembrance day : mini martin
So far from the clyde : acoustic rhythm part and accent chords on the blonde telecaster
Piper to the end : acoustic rhythm part
Early bird : wah-wah licks
Time in the sun : acoustic rhythm part

2010 tour

Our Shangri-la ? (no video found)

Note : So far away was played with fingers during 2010 tour CORDOBA

2011 tour

Our Shangri-la ? (no video found)
Note : So far away was played with fingers during 2011 tour ROMA

2012 tour

Our Shangri-la ? (no video found)

Note : So far away was played with fingers during 2012 tour BERKELEY

2012 Privateering

Redbud tree : acoustic rhythm part and accent chords (left channel)
Yon two crows : electric chords (left and right channel)
Seattle : lead part and acoustic rhythm part

2013 tour

Our Shangri-la RAH
Seattle PARIS, RAH

Note : So far away was played with fingers during 2013 tour RAH29/05, RAH30/05


Click here for all guitar parts on all songs on all albums :

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Interested in video tutorials or lessons to play the Mark Knopfler guitar style?

Posted on 5 CommentsPosted in Easy stuff for beginners, MK guitar style and licks, Understanding music

I often get emails from people who ask me for help with playing some particular Mark Knopfler stuff, for tutorial videos, or for personal video tutoring via e.g. Skype. In fact I have been thinking about this for some time but am not sure yet in which direction to go (DVDs, online tutoring,…), or how many fans are out there who might be interested in this.

If you are interested you can help me to get this clear and do this quick survey. If I see that there is much interest, I will put more effort in preparing this stuff and get something running soon.

Just tick the best answer (or several answers). There are some text fields where you can enter additional information in case none of the provided answers matches your needs, or to leave a comment or make suggestions.
You can leave out any of the individual questions if you feel to.

(Sorry, the layout of this survey is not ideal yet – need to find the associated CSS styles and edit these… –  but it should be alright for now.)


Online Guitar Tutoring

What kind of lessons are you interested in?

What exactly do you want to learn?

What else do you want to learn?

How many lessons?

What are you willing to pay for an individual 30 min video lesson?

What are you willing to pay for a tutorial DVD (e.g 60 minutes) with basic MK stuff?

What are you willing to pay for a DVD (e.g. 60 min) with advanced ("secrets") MK techniques?

Would you be interested in group lessons (e.g. 3 - 5 students) at lower costs?

Are you a beginner or advanced player?

You can enter your email here to be informed when the tutoring project starts or add any comments or suggestions

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Keys for all Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits songs

Posted on 5 CommentsPosted in Easy stuff for beginners, MK guitar style and licks, Understanding music

I found this in the AMIT forum and thought it might be very useful info for us guitar players. The author – nickname foma – allowed copying it, so here it is, a list of all keys with the songs in that key. It even included the songs of Privateering, Mark’s coming album (to be released September 2012).

Thank you, foma 🙂



It’s the statistics of almost all Mark’s songs and scores keys.
Don’t know when (and why lol) I’ve done this, probably five years ago.

So, here it is (I’m working on list constantly, so it’s becomes accurately and hopefully will be spot-on):

31 in D MAJOR (D-dur): Water of Love, Wild West End, Skateaway, Les Boys, It Never Rains, Ticket To Heaven, How Long, The Rocks and the Thunder, Whistle Theme, Smooching, Going Home, Irish Love, A Secret Place Where Will You Go, Waiting For Her, Last Exit To Brooklyn, Victims, Wag The Dog, Imelda, Are We In Trouble Now, Do America, The Long Highway, Kingdom Come, Devil Baby, Coyote, Donegan’s Gone, Red Staggerwing, If This Is Goodbye, Let It All Go, The Car Was The One, Miss You Blues, Go Love
24 in E MAJOR (E-Dur): Real Girl, Eastbound Train, If I Had You, So Far Away, Walk Of Life, Why Worry, The Bug, Heavy Fuel, The Way it All Starts, In The Heartland, Cannibals, The Last Laugh, Gravy Train, The Next Time I’m In Town, The Ragpicker’s Dream, Everybody Pays, Our Shangri-La, Whoop De Doo, Beyond My Wildest Dreams, Heart Full Of Holes, Monteleone, Remembrance Day, I Used To Could, Today Is Okay
19 in G MAJOR (G-dur): Angel Of Mercy, Two Young Lovers, When It Comes To You, Freeway Flier, Irish Boy, The Road, Father And Son, Potato Picking, The Long Road, Annick, Metroland Instrumental Theme, Drooling National, Golden Heart, Don’t You Get It, Tall Order Baby, The Other Side of the Moon, Who’s Your Baby Now, Daddy’s Gone To Knoxville, The Fizzy And The Still
23 in C MAJOR (C-dur): Portobello Belle, Hand In Hand, Love Over Gold, Wild Theme, Boomtown, Metroland, We’re Going To War, I’m The Fool, Nobody’s Got The Gun, One More Matinee, My Clame To Fame, Beachcombing, Donkey Town, All The Roadrunning, True Love Will Never Fade, Secondary Waltz, Hard Shoulder, You Can’t Beat The House, Piper To The End, Haul Away, Don’t Forget Your Hat, Corned Beef City, Hot or What
17 in D MINOR (D-moll): Sultans of Swing, Making Movies, Single Handed Sailor, Tunnel Of Love, Expresso Love, Telegraph Road, The Man’s Too Strong, Fade To Back, Think Fast, Comfort, Joy, Silvertown Blues, Your Own Sweet Way, Why Aye Man, You Don’t Know You’re Born, Sucker Row, Punish The Monkey
16 in E MINOR (E-moll): News, Follow Me Home, Private Investigations, Private Dancer, Ride Across The River, One World, My Parties, A Fistful Of Ice Cream, He’s the Man, Down Day, A Walk In Paris, She’s Gone, El Macho, Camerado, Hill Farmer’s Blues, Summer of Love
15 in A MINOR (A-moll): Six Blade Knife, Southbound Again, Once Upon A Time In The West, Where Do You Think You’re Going, On Every Street, Planet Of New Orleans, An American Hero, Tralala, No Can Do, Rudiger, Speedway At Nazareth, Say Too Much, A Place Where We Used To Live, Behind With The Rent, Before Gas And TV
14 in B MINOR (B-moll): Down to the Waterline, Lions, Millonaire Blues, Iron Hand, Just Instinct, Je Suis Desole, Baloney Again, Florin Dance, Let’s See You, Back To Tupelo, Don’t Crash The Ambulance, I Dug Up A Diamond, We Can Get Wild, Madame Geneva’s
14 in A MAJOR (A-dur): Setting me Up, Communique, Solid Rock, Industrial Disease, Twisting By The Pool, Brats, Meeting Under the Trees, A Love Idea, Working On It, Darling Pretty, Sailing To Philadelphia, Vic And Ray, A Night In Summer Long Ago, Time In The Sun
11 in F MAJOR (F-dur): Romeo And Juliet, The Ceilidh And The Northern Lights, Stargazer, Badges Posters Stickers T-Shirts, What I Have Got To Do, Quality Shoe, In The Sky, Good As Gold, Redbud Tree, Yon Two Crows, Seattle
7 in C MINOR (C-moll): Prairie Wedding, Sands Of Nevada, Fare Thee Well Northumberland, Scaffolder’s Wife, The Fish And The Bird, Border River, Early Bird
8 in B MAJOR (B-dur): Calling Elvis, Sons of Scotland, Four in a Row, Quiet Theme, Stand Up Guy, Get Lucky, Got To Have Something, Radio City Serenade
5 in G MINOR (G-moll): Money For Nothing, You And Your Friend, Marbletown, Boom Like That, The Trawlersman’s Song
4 in G-Sharp MINOR (G#-moll): Brothers in Arms, Stretching Out, Training, Rollin’ On
4 in B-Flat MINOR (Bb-moll): In the Gallery, Junkie Doll, Postcards From Paraguay, So Far From The Clyde
3 in F-Sharp MINOR (F#-moll): Wanderlust, What It Is, Two Brothers And A Stranger
8 in E-Flat MAJOR (Eb-dur): The Rocks And The Water, All That I Have in the World, 5:15 a.m., All That Matters, Privateering, Dream of The Drowned Submariner, After the Beanstalk
3 in D-Flat MAJOR (Db-dur): This Is Us, Cleaning My Gun, Pulling Down the Ride
4 in B-Flat MAJOR (Bb-dur): Done With Bonaparte, Hard Cases, Gator Blood, Blood and Water
3 in C-Sharp MINOR (C#-moll): Lady Writer, Your Latest Trick, Kingdom of Gold
2 in F-Sharp MAJOR (F#-dur): Old Pigweed, Home Boy
1 in E-Flat MINOR (Eb-moll): The New Laird, Bluebird
1 in F MINOR (F-moll): Small Potatoes
1 in A-Flat MAJOR (Ab-moll): Right Now

All 24 keys are used. Mark is like Bach Smiley

154 majors and 91 minors.

Hope it can be interesting for someone.


Quote end

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