In the following you will find a tab of a lick in the song Bluebird from Mark Knopfler’s last album Privateering. It is the lick the last solo starts with (2:40 – 2:43). I like this lick because I thought it sounds unusual and thus interesting when I first heard it. While I often immediately know on what scale or idea a MK lick is based when I hear it, I was lost a bit with this one. I was assuming something chromatic and was curious so that I figured it out today. Now looking at it, it does not really seem unusual anymore, it is based on the same scale as the lick in the break of Calling Elvis, but it is nice anyway.
The song Bluebird is in the key of Ebm / D#m (both Ebm or D#m have the same number (6) of sharps or flats, to my humble knowledge it is a matter of taste which one you prefer). The blues- scheme like chord progression consists of the chords Ebm , Abm, and Gb (or D#m, G#m, and F#). The lick runs over the last chord (Ebm / D#m) of the chord progression.
The chromatic feel I refered to is on fact only because of just one note, the flattened fifth (b5, here an A) that connects the Bb and the Ab (the blue note in the tab, in fact it is a “blue note” of the scale), all other notes are simply notes of the Ebm / D#M scale. Note how laid-back Mark plays the high Eb (the 11 in magenta)!
Make sure not to play too loud, play rather very softly but accentuated. I cannot say for sure if there are pull-offs or not (e.g. between the two first notes), when played with such soft attack it makes almost no audible difference. Lay your left hand index finger over all four strings, just like you do when playing barre chords, and keep it pressed down during the whole first bar. This helps to make the lick sound more legato.