MK guitar style and licks

Sultans of Swing solo

Last weekend we had guests and one of them had this new photo camera – a Panasonic Lumix FX 37 which costs less than 200,- €. Besides taking great photos you can also record videos in HD quality (1280 x 720 pixels). As I was curious what these look like with my stuff I played Sultans for them and we filmed it. The result is really amazing – much better than that old camcorder I normally use – and this from a small, pocket size camera.

I wanted to check what it looks like on youtube so I uploaded a part of the final Sultans of Swing solo. The audio is of course also recorded with the camera itself (I recorded audio on a special track for the Six Blade Knife cover I did a few days ago).

A few notes on what I am playing here

It is just a mixture of different licks from different live versions plus some improvisation here and there. I played some of those staccato things from the Alchemy version  at 0:30  – although it seems noone knows for sure how Knopfler did that exactly. The lick at 0:40 might be similar to one from Wembley 1985, I always liked this one. I am not sure myself about the next one at 0:43 – it was suddenly in my head one day, not sure if I heard it from Knopfler somewhere or not.

The next lick (0:46) is from one of the 1996 versions if I remember correctly.

I messed up the part around 0:57 a bit, I never know when the backing track goes for that bass string lick (I need to build in a small drum fill to identify this part for me).

At 2:00 you will find another example of Knopfler’s 6 chord – a shape he uses quite a lot lately.

The backing track I used – the only one of the ‘long’ version with the piano part in the middle – is available here.

21 thoughts on “Sultans of Swing solo

  1. The picture really is great but more than that I am impressed by the good sound quality coming from such a small camera. I would have expected some sort of sound-mud but it actually sounds pretty good.

    And you are SO right about the part in 0:30. I tried a real long time to figure out what on earth it is Knopfler is doing there but eventually gave up. Guess there are one or two things you just can’t copy 😉

  2. What a great cover!
    What is the secret of the “Knopfler-click-sound”? I mean for example 0:02 to 0:04 or 1:56 to 1:57.
    I do the Knopfler picking too but I think i do it the wrong way, because there isn’t this “click” sound.

  3. Not sure what you mean with click sound here, normally I would assume it means staccato licks or those muted “chick” sounds between some notes, but I can’ really find good examples for such a thing at the time positions you speciefied. Generally there is not really a secret except playing almost steadily with the right hand, which means often playing muted strokes between the ‘audible’ notes.

  4. Yeah, it is pretty hard to describe. I call it the Pensa-Suhr-sound, because I only noticed this sound on the Pensa Suhr. Just listen to the Basel version of Sultans of Swing or Telegraph Road, there is always a click between the sound. What you described as the muted “chick” sound is the downstroke.

  5. A friend of mine told me few years ago that some licks of the live solo of Sulatns made him thinking of Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
    You know, those staccato licks on the A and D strings, that are featuring in Sultans since Alchemy (or maybe 80-81 tour, I don’t remember), the ones starting at 4:33 on this video

    OK, my first reaction to my friend was :” What ?! but no ! Mark is of course picking, more subtil, more clear, more…. and Allen Collins si more raw, more rock, even hard rock and so on…”

    But when I listen to Free Bird again, especially live version, well I must say there are some similitaries :
    and around 6:30-6:40, you can hear some licks similars to the famous ones at the end of Sultans. Of course, it’s not the same style , the same sound, but I think it has a same idea to play fast licks around the same pattern.

    Of course, I don’t think Mark has copying whatever, it’s just a remark.

    to precise : my friend is a drummer and like very much the DS 78-79 period, but don’t like the stuff after the arrival ok keyboards. He’s a big fan of Pick Withers and don’t like Terry Williams, so it’s also a reason why he don’t like Alchemy for example.

    1. There is a spam filter to protect the blog from unwanted spam comments. Sometimes the filter mistakenly blocks real comments, especially when there are links in them. I need to approve them manually then, and sometimes I am not aware of blocked comments. Sorry.

  6. No probs Ingo, 🙂

    it was just to tell to the others, if they wanted to debate about the FreeBird- Sultans similarities 🙂

  7. In fact that Freebird lick is similar. It is also a pattern in sixteenth notes, here over a chord sequence G – Bb – C – C

    The notes vary a bit but are something like f – d – c – d. A conceptual difference is that the lick remains the same over all chords while in Sultans it changes with each chords. In this sense freebird is not really an arpeggio approach like Sultans.

    The ‘climax effect’ is similar however, maybe Mark had something like this in mind.

  8. Thank you very much for sharing. Your information always proves to be useful. I think your post is suitable for everyne, who is interested in valuable resources . I will keep following your posts.

  9. yea i too cant figure out that clicking part he plays. I have tried figuring it out for awhile, When you play it at 0:32 it sounds spot on, are you doing anything different with your fingers when you hit the strings. I originally thought he would hit the string twice really fast with his thumb then index finger for every note but that stll doesnt sound very right.

  10. >>are you doing anything different with your fingers when you hit the strings

    diferent than what? than before, well, i do ome funny stuff there which i did not play this way some years ago, and today I already play it differently. I might make some videos demonstrating such stuff in the near future.

  11. Well I dont know, just wondering if there is a technique that gives those notes such a distinct sound at that part of the solo. You do play extremely well and the solo sounded great.

  12. Hi Ingo

    just found this site – very interesting. I love the sound you have got. Is there anywhere you know that I can get a TAB for the section on your video 55 to 1:10. This is the only part of the solo I can’t quite get right

  13. Unfortunately I don’t have any tabs, never use them, but I think I have seen tabs of this part somewehere. I am sure you can find them in the web, or even some tutorials on youtube.

  14. Thanks Ingo

    I always try to work without tabs, butI have found this section hard to get close to. I only use some of the phrases and then improvise the rest but this part I find frustrating as I like how it sounds and you seem to have nailed it

  15. That lick on the bass strings is basically something like

    d3 (pull off to)d0 a5 d0 … (repeat),

    occasionally I might substitute one of these four notes groups with

    a3 (hammer on to) a5 d0 d0

  16. Great cover Ingo! As always you do.

    That lick at 0.23 is one of my favorite ones, but i want to know something.

    Did you have any tip to get to that alchemy sound? Like distorded or something? One of you pickups can do the job?


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