MiscMK guitar style and licks

Sensational: Sultans of Swing guitar track solo – without backing tracks – from Guitar Hero 5

I reported about the vocals only and karaoke tracks of Sultans of Swing in the last post. If you read all the comments there you will already have heard the latest news: a guitar-only track is also available. They all seem to be from the Guitar Hero 5 game.

It seems the makers of the game had access to the multitrack recording of Sultans. The guitar track does not only include the lead guitar but also the rhathm guitars, switching between both which means you hear the rhythm guitars whenenever the lead guitar is not playing. When it is, you hear only the lead guitar. I guess this was done with a gate using a sidechain input. A gate is a device that can shut down another track while the input signal is above a specified level.

It is really amazing to hear the guitar alone, after knowing the song for over 30 years. There are many details which you simply couldn’t hear in the mix – lot’s of “noises” like scratche and dead notes, some low level tones etc. Also you can clearly hear the chorus effect, probably from the Roland Jazz Chorus, and there seems something like a compressor or rather limiter that even introduces some distortion.

As it seems you cannot buy these tracks but they are part of a game software, and as it is only one instrument and not a full composition – I guess it does not inflict with copyrights when I put in a sound clip here:


86 thoughts on “Sensational: Sultans of Swing guitar track solo – without backing tracks – from Guitar Hero 5

  1. This is just GREAT – Just discovered this blog – Keep up the good work… I wonder it sounds like he’s turning the chours off at some points and that it is more prominently “swelling” in some points. BTW is this a single performance or (most likely) done from various overdubs.

    In some points it seems like a rhythm track with the soloes being put in afterward – how do you hear these things?

  2. @ Jean-Francois, Ingo
    I agree with Rainer. Faded in for the main riff and turned down to the solo bits. So it can’t be a Roland Jazz Chorus or else the effect would be the same during the track.

    This chorus must come from an FX sent. Maybe a Roland RE 201 cause Rhett Davies liked this roland effect.
    Plus Chas Herington who was the engineer on both the demo and the single version of Sultans of Swing said Knopfler played a vibrolux recorded with a Neumann Microphone.

  3. This is sooo cool! I’m very happy Rainer brought up the chorus variation.

    In my endeavors trying to reproduce the SOS sound this has always been the most frustrating. It seems that the Vibrolux, the Orange Squeezer and the Aphex Exciter always come up in discussions, but rarely the chorus.

    And to me that was probably the most defining/hard to reproduce effect that is being used.

    I could never figure out what caused the chorus to be so much more pronounced in some places, and then pretty much non-existent in others.

    Now, thanks to Ingo putting up this blog post with the clean track, it’s finally clear that this effect really is not consistent throughout the track, and so was probably controlled by an engineer at the desk or applied later.

    I’ve been obsessive about trying to get “that” sound; to the point where I’ve been building my own Vibrolux and Orange Squeezer replicas. But I’ve never been able to figure out what to do about the chorus.

    I have to say though, this song is so amazing; after hearing it for days on end when trying to record for the puresolo contest (ah – the harsh reality that the true skill is still in the playing, not the equipment!), it still is a great song to listen to and it still brings back memories from when I first discovered the song.

  4. ingo please answer me for this question,

    Do you sure know that mk had a dimarzio fs-1 and a haessel vintage 1955 pickup on his maple neck strat, during the recording of sultans of swing? Cuz, I worked on it and maybe i have the answer… maybe he had this:

    a roland jazz chorus jc 120
    maple neck strat, with dimarzio fs1+haessel 1955 pickup
    dan armstrong orange squeezer
    a 3 way pickup switch

    if I have it right please tell, me or say what he had to.

  5. You got something wrong … Haeussel is an exclusive pickup winder from Germany who makes our VFS-1 pickups, a tapped (two different sounds switchable) pickup to cover both the sound of a DiMarzio and a Fender vintage pickup – ideal for the Schecter-style pickguards (mini switch down = DiMarzio sound, mini switch up = vintage sound).

    Mark had a DiMarzio in one of his two red Fenders back then, and (probably) a normal Strat pickup in the other. With the VFS-1 you can switch between both sounds, so you’ll get the fat DiMarzio sound but won’t lose the vintage Strat sound.

    In the youtube video I compared the VFS-1 (tapped coil) to a 1955 Strat pickup to find they really sound almost identical (!), and a DiMarzio to the VFS-1 (full coil), also almost identical (!), so it really works!!

  6. Mark knopfler’s maple strat was of the year 1961/1962. Mark’s maple strat had 57/62 pickups in the original white pickguard. He switched his white pickguard after the recording from sultans of swing with the pickguard of his rosewood strat(with the black volume knob).

  7. You can see on the sultans of swing clip he uses 57/62 pickups at the first solo. It’s hard to see but maybe if you have good eye’s you will notice it.

  8. >>but what is the normal strat pickup in the middle? Is that the 57/62 vintage single coils?


    >>yes so i’m right, the 57/62 vintage single coils are original pickups.

    He probably had the original pickups in his Strats (61 or 62 Fender Strat pickups), what do you mean with 57/62 pickups? The vintage pickup reissues that Fender introduced in 1981 for their vintage Strat reissues (that was years after Sultans!)??

  9. what i mean is… mark knopfler had fender vintage strat pickups in his white pickguard. Fender calls it at this time 57/62 pickups, and that will make the same old sound (because it are reissues, and the make it like they made it in 1957/1962).
    this pickups were 1962 pickups too. These pickups are the only 1961/2 pickups that fender makes.

  10. fender costum shop has also 69 pickups, but mark has a 62 fender strat.
    i’m glad they make 57/62’s, cause they make a fine knopfler sound.

  11. ingo maybe can i have you’re email, so we can talk about some more knopfler stuff. okej? Than you can have my email adress too.

  12. Hi Ingo, I’ve been enjoying your site for a long time so thanks for all the info and hard work.

    I’ve just noticed that (unless I’m doing something seriously wrong) this recording and the original is either played with a slightly higher tuning than Concert E or was speeded up when mastered. Despite Mark’s well documented ability to finger pick, this might explain why it sounds SO tight, crisp and punchy. Would you agree?

    All the best.

    1. Ha Ha Ha – copied and recopied stories stolen from other neighbouring cultures. Not to mention the ones that ended up on the cutting room floor. OT was a fake history to give the Hebrews a way to be different from their fellow Canaanites. NT was written over 100 years after supposed events, not one eyewitness. As real as Robin Hood.

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