MK guitar style and licks

The one-man band – Playing both rhythm and lead guitar together

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The video in today’s post demonstrates an important aspect of Mark Knopfler’s unique guitar style: the blend of rhythm and lead guitar playing. I remember the day I first saw Mark Knopfler on TV in the late 70ies. I knew their stuff from the records, and I heard his lead guitar playing on these. What was striking when seeing him play was that his hands were apparently doing something all the time, he did not pause between all those lead licks on e.g. Sultans of Swing, he was constantly playing something – although you mainly heard the lead licks. In this respect his playing is like an ice-berg: what you see is only the top of it, while the biggest part is under water. Just […]

MK guitar style and licks

Dire Straits Eastbound Train – Rhythm riff, licks and solo explained

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Eastbound Train was one of Dire Straits’ first songs. It was recorded as a demo before the first album was recorded, and it is the song of the earliest Dire Straits live recording that exists (from the Hope & Anchor, London, December 1977). This live version was released as the b-side of the single Sultans of Swing in 1978, but with exception of the demo (that has a totally different groove) it was never recorded in the studio. Eastbound Train was an encore in most Dire Straits concerts between 1977 and 1979, but it was never played again later. It is a simple boogie groove in the key of E major, and features not only a cool rhythm guitar riff played by Mark Knopfler, but […]

MK guitar style and licks

Mark Knopfler licks using the b5 note

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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 […]