GuitarsMark Knopfler gear

A few remarks on the Tracker film by Henrik Hansen

The deluxe box set of Mark’s new Tracker album features a short film by the Danish director Henrik Hansen. It is already available on Youtube:

I think it is a nice film which shows Mark at work, developing songs for the new record, and at leisure, walking his dogs. I am sure you will enjoy the film very much.

With this blog post, I want to discuss a few guitar details seen in this film – well, this is a guitar site 🙂 . At the beginning of the film we see Mark in a side house of his home at the English south coast,  sitting at a table with a beautiful look on the ocean (which in fact is just 20 meters away). He plays Basil on an acoustic guitar, his vintage Martin D18 (this should be the one pictured in this blog post). On the table we see stuff like a variety of bottlenecks – both brass and glass-, a guitar cable, two books about guitars (Gibson Electrics by A. R. Duchossoir, and the ‘bible’ about National resonator guitars by Bob Brozman), a Mac notebook, and more. I should be a good guess to say that it is here where Mark composes some of his songs.

At 0:37 we see the same place from outside the window. Here we can see the peghead of a Strat, it seems Mark does not only use acoustic guitars at home but also electrics. Apparently it is his white 1964 Strat, the one used on e.g. Sailing to Philadelphia (we can see it at 1:54 or around 2:49, played in the same room). I wondered if he has certain guitars which he always keeps at home, as it seems most of the electrics are located in the room over his British Grove studio in London, a nearly two hours drive away.

Well, we can see him playing the same guitar at British Grove studio, around 2:24. The song seems to be Lights of Taormina. (I say it seems as I have not heard the album yet, although the first download links have apparently appeared in the web – I ordered my copy of the box set so that I have something to look forward to in March 🙂 ). The condition of this vintage guitar is amazing! Note that Mark put strings with a wound g-string on it – it seems to be Mark’s favourite for slide now (he played Gator Blood with bottleneck on it on the last tour).

white-1964-strat
The white 1964 Strat – note the Money for Nothing bottleneck 🙂
white-1964-strat-2
Here you can see the pickups height adjustement nicely – also note wound g-string

 

 

The next guitar that appears in the film is the 1958 Les Paul. Here is a picture that shows some setup details, like the height of the stop tailpiece, the pickups, or strings. Note that the stop tailpiece is very low.

les-paul-58-setup

les-paul-58-head
The head of the 1958 Les Paul, note details like the laquer checking

 

Another interesting detail is the view on the software mixer, at 1:20. Mark’s electric guitar are the purple mixer rails. Here we see that they recorded the guitar to three parallel tracks, probably one for each microphone they used. The tracks are mixed together with  -4.0 dB, -9.8 dB, and -23.5 dB for the three tracks, all panned into the center. The label below says ‘mk-elecgtr_57’ for two of the tracks, and ‘mk-elecgtr_67’  for the one in the middle. My guess is that two were recorded with a Shure SM57, and one with a Neumann U67.

tracker-mixer

Like always, use the comment function below to add your comments, or more details that might be worth discussing.

13 thoughts on “A few remarks on the Tracker film by Henrik Hansen

    1. Many people know where he lives … the route planer in google maps told me how long it takes …
      But we should respect Mark’s right for privacy so let’s better not go into any more details about his home and let’s better focus on guitars I’d suggest 🙂

      1. Lol actually I only know where he lived in London…
        Anyway, you’re right! Let’s focus on the guitars 🙂
        Why , with all your work and dedication, you didn’t get an invitation to meet him or something? 🙂
        Anyway, greetings from France!

  1. Hi Ingo and fans,

    I think that this video gives us a good opportunity to discuss about one part of the guitar that is key for the playability and feeling of a guitar: the frets! 🙂

    I am guessing which are the frets installed on the 1964 Strat and the 1958 Les Paul.

    I have or I have played different Fenders, Custom Shop Fenders, Custom Shop Gibsons etc. guitars with Fender vintage frets, Fender medium jumbo frets, Fender-Dunlop 6105 frets and the regular Custom Shop Gibson 1958 reissue frets.

    I would say that the frets on the 1964 Strat are close to Dunlop 6105 frets, but I am not completely sure about that. The top of the frets looks more rounded than the 6105 frets I have in my Custom Shop Fender Strat (mine are more like train rails I mean), but the height and width of them are really close to mine. What do you think?

    Regarding the 1958 Les Paul, in some parts of the film they look larger, but at 4:27 they look almost the same as in the 1964 Strat. Your opinions?

    I think if Mark has a preference for the frets, it is logic to have them installed on all the guitars…

    Let us know your thoughts and preferences on frets!

    Thanks!

    Eduard

    1. Yes, there are a few close-up pictures of the frets of the white Strat in the film. I am not sure in how far we might be able to see the fret type from these, remember that the ends of the frets (and slightly also the top) are always rounded by the luthier after installing the frets.
      I would also think – as we know Mark generally prefers 6105 – that these are also in the white Strat, and probably in all of his guitars.

  2. Hi Ingo,

    Nice article. Do you know which is that amp on Mark’s desk? The amp in question comes in at 0:52 seconds into the film.

    Many thanks,
    Firdaus

      1. Come on Ingo, you must have been there personally 😉
        Really amazing what details you find out and feed us with interesting news.
        Keep up your great work, really really appreciated!
        All the best,
        Chris

      2. Thank you so much Ingo. You truly are a credit and a great source of information for all MK fans.

        Best regards,
        Firdaus

  3. Hi Ingo,

    Would it be reasonable to presume that the pickup height on the Strat is set in conjunction with the action of the strings, with the whole lot being relatively high as the guitar was used on Tracker primarily for slide pieces?

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