Dire Straits Water of Love guitar tutorial

In this blog post you will find another guitar tutorial video, this time not about a certain aspect of Mark Knopfler’s guitar playing but one that explains how to play a particular song again, similar to the ones I did about Down to the Waterline some time ago. As Down to the Waterline is the first song of Dire Straits’ first album, I thought why not go on with the second song, Water of Love (there might be another on on Setting me up – the third song –  in the future). Again my intention is not simply to demonstrate you which notes to play but also to explain what might be interesting or special about particular licks, or how things go together etc. And my intention is neither to show a particular version with 100% accuracy but a mix of licks he played on different versions, or the scales he used to build his licks.

I do not refer to the studio version but to live versions from 1978-79.The studio version was played on two different guitars, a National Tricone and a standard acoustic guitar, and Mark did not play his usual mix of rhythm and lead as he did on stage. Live Mark played the black Fender Telecaster Thinline (the f holes were closed by his friend Steve Phillips), which was tuned to open A)low to high: a – e- a- e- c# -e), capo’ed at the 5th fret to open D  (while the National was probably open G, capo’ed at the 7th fret).

The chords of Water of Love are like this:


D – D – C – C – G – G – Am – C
D – D – C – C – G – G – D – D


D- D – D – D – D – D – D – D
Am – Am – Am – Am – D – D – D – D


Am – Am – G – D
Am – Am – G – D

So, here is the video. You will find links to two different live version from 1978 in the video itself (at 1:17)

6 thoughts on “Dire Straits Water of Love guitar tutorial

  1. Another wonderful instructional vid Ingo, many thanks. Do you ever use that reel to reel in the background?

  2. The reel to reel – a 1/2″ Teac 80-8 made of wood and steel and only little plastic – was used in the early 90ies but less and less since we got the first affordable HD recording systems. Possibly we should use it again, the sound was always nice and special. I understand why Mark still prefers to record on analog tape first and then continues in the digital domain.

  3. very nice article and playing Ingo, well, as always 🙂

    I know it wasn’t your aim in this case, but I’d say that Mark’s tone on this song live was warmer. maybe a bit more gain on the amp ?

  4. There is so little gain on the amp so that it is not louder than my talking (the amp was a brown Vibrolux, no master volume on these)

    Actually it was extremely low, a part of what you hear is the sound directly from the strings.

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