They all look the same – How to tell Mark Knopfler’s different signature Strats apart

While working on the new gear database – especially on the pages about the different MK Signature Strats – I felt it difficult to tell from a picture which of his different signature Strats it is  (Mark used alone three of these on the 2008 tour, and generally seems to use even more here and there). So I had to dig a bit deeper into the numerous pictures and viceo clips to find any hints how to distinguish between these. What was finally most helpful was Guy Fletcher’s video interview with Glenn Saggers, Mark’s guitar technician, in which we see the three MK sig Strats one next to the other.

Generally, they almost look the same, although e.g. one of them – which was borrowed from Mark’s bass player Glen Worf – has a different, lighter colour – but even this is almost impossible to see with all the lights on  stage pictures. One thing that is abit different on all Strats is the exact position of the Fender decal as this water slide decal is placed by hand on the headstock, and the position might vary up to half an inch or so. Similarly, the position of the string butterfly that holds down the e and b strings, and the position of the Mark Knopfler signature decal vary to some extent. With the help of these positions you can clearly tell from a (good!) picture which guitar you see. Take a look at the following pictures demonstrate  what I mean.

Mark Knopfler Signature Strat SE 00000 (2nd from left) - Note the string holder that is almost on the height of the tuner for the a string
The “d” of the word “Fender” is towards the d string tuner, there is a noticably gap between the string holder and the “d”
Mark Knopfler Signature Strat SE00001 (left) - Note how close together the string holder and the "d" of "Fender" are, the "d" is roughly in the middle between the a and d string tuners.
Glen Worf's MK Signature Strat (2nd from right) - note how the string holder and the "d" of Fender are also close together, but the "d" is more towards the d string tuner.
Glen Worf's guitar is lighter than the other Signature Strats - however this can only be seen on pictures when both are next to each other
The hints discussed in the previous pictures clearly show that this is Mark's SE00000 Strat. Besides the rather long distance between the string holder and the "d" in "Fender", this guitar can also be identified with a little ding at the side near the lower cutaway (in the centre of the circle)
Although we cannot see the decal here, the ding (circle) tells that this is again SE00000.
The sring holder and the "d" are close together and towards the d string tuner - this is Glen Worf's MK Signature Strat. Note that the decal with Knopfler's signature is also at a slightly different position, more towards the floor.

4 thoughts on “They all look the same – How to tell Mark Knopfler’s different signature Strats apart

  1. Ingo, what pickups would be in the prototype Strat used on the Hurlington club and in the interview with Phil Cunningham? To me, the prototype Strat sounds different than the normal MK sig Strat. It was played through the Tone King Imperial so it should gave a good comparison to the normal sig Strat.

    1. The prototype Strat is definitely different to the Signature Strat.
      The Sig has the medium jumbo frets:
      The prototype appears to have vintage frets:

      The prototype has a butterfly string tree between the B and G tuner machine heads. Custom Shop Strats would have them below the B tuner machine head. This indicates the possibility for this to be a 1962 American Vintage Reissue neck.

      Pickups are tricky to determine. I believe to see a gentle bevel on them, particularly the middle pickup:

      Texas Specials are clearly not beveled and also have a more prominent stagger. This would point at potentially different pickups. But the quality might not be good enough to see that.

  2. There is another way how to tell apart them. 00000 and Glenn`s Strats have different sraps. 00001 has a vintage style strap. But this method works only since 2013, because before that all 3 strats had ame ply straps

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