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.)
I recently realized that I used to play the foghorn chord wrong (the very first notes in the intro of Down to the Waterline). I played those foghorn sound on only the two lowest strings – this way I explained it in a Youtube tutorial on Down to the Waterline. In fact it is played on three strings. Not a big deal, and I guess many of you were already aware of this, but for me it was again one of those little bits that make such a nice effect, and I simply did not think about it at all before. By the way, the same chord appears in the intro of Radio City Serenade on Mark’s Privateering album.
The chord consists of the notes B, F, and A. With B being the root nore, it is a B7b5 chord (the F is a semitone below the fifth note of a Bm chord – the F# – and thus denoted as b5, while the A is the 7th). It is mainly the b5 that makes the mysterious, misty foghorn association. The interval from the B to the F is a so-called tritone. It was called the ‘Diabolus in Musica’ (devil in music) centuiries ago, and was avoided, almost banned, as it was regarded as evil. Tritone means three whole notes. The tritone divides an octave in two identical intervals, in other words, B – F is a tritone, and so is F – B.
In the following you will find a tab of a lick in the song Bluebird from Mark Knopfler’s last album Privateering. It is the lick the last solo starts with (2:40 – 2:43). I like this lick because I thought it sounds unusual and thus interesting when I first heard it. While I often immediately know on what scale or idea a MK lick is based when I hear it, I was lost a bit with this one. I was assuming something chromatic and was curious so that I figured it out today. Now looking at it, it does not really seem unusual anymore, it is based on the same scale as the lick in the break of Calling Elvis, but it is nice anyway.
The song Bluebird is in the key of Ebm / D#m (both Ebm or D#m have the same number (6) of sharps or flats, to my humble knowledge it is a matter of taste which one you prefer). The blues- scheme like chord progression consists of the chords Ebm , Abm, and Gb (or D#m, G#m, and F#). The lick runs over the last chord (Ebm / D#m) of the chord progression.
The chromatic feel I refered to is on fact only because of just one note, the flattened fifth (b5, here an A) that connects the Bb and the Ab (the blue note in the tab, in fact it is a “blue note” of the scale), all other notes are simply notes of the Ebm / D#M scale. Note how laid-back Mark plays the high Eb (the 11 in magenta)!
Make sure not to play too loud, play rather very softly but accentuated. I cannot say for sure if there are pull-offs or not (e.g. between the two first notes), when played with such soft attack it makes almost no audible difference. Lay your left hand index finger over all four strings, just like you do when playing barre chords, and keep it pressed down during the whole first bar. This helps to make the lick sound more legato.