Santana Cover Samba Pa Ti – On clean fingerpicked Strat

Watch me playing a version of the Santana classic ‘Samba Pa Ti’. The original stands for a distorted guitar sound on a humbucker guitar – so I tried with a clean guitar sound on my self-built Bubinga / Pao Ferro Strat instead.

Santana normally plays with a pick – I played Knopfler-style fingerpicking here. But did you know that Santana also plays this song with bare fingers – at least on a more recent version I watched lately on Youtube?

Lions – Intro and Solo Cover – On three different guitars

In his video I am playing the intro and the 1st solo of ‘Lions’ (from the 1978 first Dire Straits album) over a backing track. I am playing both parts three times, using a different ‘classic-Knopfler’ guitar each time.

These are my ‘Partocaster’ for the Fender sound, a Suhr to represent Knopfler’s 90ies sound (no matter that Lions was never performed in the 90ies), and my self-built clone of a Schecter Dream Machine Strat for the 80ies sound (note that in 1981 Mark played his red Schecter with non-tapped Seymour Duncan pickups but at least in 1980 he used pickups like in this guitar on ‘Lions’ on stage).

I did not try to recreate a 100% original-sounding ‘copy’ of the song – so I changed some stuff, like a different 2nd rhythm guitar later in the recording, a different bass line, drums in the 2nd and 3rd ‘intro’, some different guitar licks etc.

All guitars were recorded through my Soundcraft UI24R digital mixing desk, and I used ALL effects and amp emulations from this device.

Here is some detail info on the three guitars:

A) Fender sound

This is one of my two ‘Partocasters’ – you will see both frequently in my Youtube videos (the other is a bit darker red, and has no black volume knob). It has a body from a 1983 JV (‘Japanese vintage’) Squier Strat, a neck from another Squier, same model (bought on ebay), a Squier tremolo with a Callaham steel block, and a mint-greenish pickguard with a Fender Strat pickup at the neck, a DiMarzio FS-1 in the middle, and a MK61 at the bridge. Both the neck and neck are nitro laquer.

The combination of a vintage-style bridge pickup and the fatter DiMarzio in the middle used here creates a sound different from two vintage pickups, and it also reacts differently on the volume and tone pot settings. I actually used both to change the sound to what I am looking for – while I normally had both fully up in the past but I find that rolling back the volume pot removes some harshness, and I prefer a bright amp setting with the tone pot rolled back until I find a pleasing sound.

The guitar has 09 nickel strings.

B) Suhr MK-1

This is a nice Suhr featured in some other of my videos before. It has no bindings but the ‘scratched’ edges which give a somewhat similar look. It has stainless steel frets (which also changes the tone a bit). I used the neck & middle pickup combo instead of bridge & middle normally associated with the Knopfler sound, like Mark often did when he played his Pensa Suhr in the 90ies.

The licks I played are more like what Mark played on some of the 1981 live versions of the song.

The guitar has 10 nickel-plated strings.

C) Schecter

Not a real Schecter, I built this guitar completely myself, from a block of Bubinga wood (very hard and VERY heavy, it is the heavies Strat I ever played I think), and Pao Ferro for the neck. It has a brass Dream Machine Tremolo, and a ‘Making Movies’ brass pickguard with the F500T replicas.

The hard and heavy wood give the guitar a unique sound, it sounds great for all kind of different stuff. The tapped pickups allow 26 different sound combinations, but here I play the simple bridge & middle combination, both with the mini switches down which means the tapped coil on both pickups.

The volume pot has treble bleed capacitor which means the sound becomes thinner when the volume is turned down a bit like in this video. The tone pot is also not fully up.

The guitar has 09 nickel-plated strings.

Simple trick to jam over major 7 chords

In this video I am explaining a simple trick how to improvize over major 7 chords using standard minor scales.

I made a backing track with Fmaj7 and Cmaj7 chord changes and jammed over it using my self-built Dream Machine Strat. It is the very first I have ever built, with a flamed birch body and a birds-eye maple neck.

I am also explaining how I got the guitar sound in this video, and at the end of the video there is the backing track for your own improvisation. Have fun 🙂

Check out this unbelievable guitar collection – A ‘Must-See’ for all Mark Knopfler fans

With this blog post I want to feature a website that hosts one of the most astonishing guitar collections in the world: Guitar Motel –

It is not only a collection with many great vintage guitars like Fenders or Gibsons but also with exactly those guitars that are ‘the ones’ for us Knopfler fans – like Van-Nuys era Schecters (I guess the biggest collection of these in the world), or Pensa Suhrs (plus many Pensas and many Suhrs). This is as the collectors who run this site are big MK fans themselves. 🙂
For a start, you might see the ‘Showroom’, then select a manufacturer from the drop-down list.


Ever seen so many Dream Machine Schecters? (click on the picture to open the Guitar Motel page in new tab)


Pensa Suhr (click on the picture to open the Guitar Motel page in new tab)


And here are two absolute highlights for us Knopfler fans:

The Pensa Suhr which is on the album cover of the Neck & Neck CD by Mark Knopfler and Chet Atkins

The Neck & Neck Pensa Suhr (opens album in new tab on Guitar Motel)


And finally … the MK S8001 sunburst Alchemy Schecter. Check out the album with unseen pictures of this guitar:

The famous MK S8001 Schecter (opens album in new tab on Guitar Motel)

Two great Bob Dylan videos from the Infidels recording session

Here are two videos from the official Bob Dylan Youtube channel, posted some months ago already. It is only a mimic session for a promotional video but it is from the original recording session at the New York Power station recording studio in  April/May 1983. And it features an alternate mix of the two songs, plus various other differences from the released album version, like different vocal takes.

For ‘gear-investigators’ like us, the shooting from the recording session reveals a lot of interesting details. Mark plays his red Schecter, more of Mark’s guitars can be seen standing behind him: the sunburst S8001 Schecter, the blue Fernandes, the Gibson Chet Atkins electric-classical, and a red Schecter with a red headstock, a rosewood fingerboard, and golden (I think) hardware that was never seen before, or after. On about 3:00 in the video of ‘Don’t fall apart on me tonight’ you can also see the 212 Music Man amp Mark used a lot in those days.

There are guitar cases, gear, cables and stuff all over the place (who says rock stars cannot be messy too), let us know if you find more interesting stuff in the comments here.

Mark was the producer of the album but he was not present when the mixing was done, and when Dylan re-recorded some vocals, as Mark had to tour in Germany in May ’83. Mark said he was not that happy with the final mix, and that he has some rough mixes – I guess like these two – that were amazing, including two different versions (band version and Mark/Dylan accoustic version) of one of his favourite songs from the session, ‘Blind Willie McTell’.


Ingo Raven – Whales

I decided to release a video of a song that I recorded 20 years ago. It is less Knopfler-stylish than the guitar videos I normally post here but more in the mood of some Pink Floyd tunes. However, the long outro guitar solo on a Les Paul is of course inspired by Mark’s playing style and technique.

Making the video which is based mostly on a slide show was much fun for me. I hope you will enjoy the result.

Before you ask for the gear: For the last solo I used a 1974 Les Paul Custom through a Fender Princeton tweed amp clone that I built from scratch myself about 30 years ago. No effects besides the usual stuff in the recording software (reverb, delay, compression). Everything was recorded with a system called tripleDAT by CreamWare. I was working for this company back then when I recorded the song.

Money for Nothing – Riffs / Cover

I made another video some weeks ago where I talked about doubling guitar riffs for a fatter sound. I played a Japanese Erlewine Automatic, a very cool guitar with one humbucker, and dialed in a sound similar to the Dire Straits classic Money for Nothing. I did not try to get as close as possible to the original sound which is very much a typical 80ies sound, bright with some phase cancellation effect. I rather wanted the sound a bit more natural and softer.

This week I recorded some Money for Nothing riffs with this sound, again with two doubled guitar tracks. The video focusses on the guitar riffs and sound so I only programmed some unintrusive drums, and some occasional bass notes but no keyboards, no permanent drum beats, no fancy stuff.

The gear, effects (Hotcake distortion pedal and software effects), and doubling technique are identical to the ones explained in detail in my video about doubling riffs.

Where Mark Knopfler’s blue Fernandes Strat is today

In the early 80ies – in the Love over Gold / Local Hero / Infidels era – Mark Knopfler used a metallic blue Japanese Fernandes Strat copy with Seymour Duncan pickups in the studio. John Suhr once told me that in his opinion Mark created some of his best guitar sounds of that time with this guitar.

If you wonder what happened to this guitar or where it is today, the following videos will tell.

First Sound Test of another Knopfler Style Strat

Here are two videos I recorded to try out another guitar I am building on: a Schecter Dream Machine-like Strat with an ash body and a birdseye-maple neck, with a brass tremolo and a ‘Making Movies’ pickguard. In other words, a Strat inspired by Mark Knopfler’s S8001 Schecter Strat.

It is not finished but assembled for tests of sound, playability, and stability. And I must say, I am very impressed by the warm and clear sound of it. I think it is a winner,  and the body / neck combination will remain (if I didn’t like the sound I would try the neck on another body, until I find something I like).

The guitar was recorded directly in a digital Soundcraft UI24R mixing desk. The amp emulation was from this device, and so are the effects which are EQ, compressor, reverb, and delay.

The music is inspired by an instrumental part that Dire Straits added into Tunnel of Love on stage on the Brothers in Arm and On Every Street tours when they introduced all the band members. The instruments are all virtual VST instruments by Native Instruments, recorded into Cubase.

Here is another video, Six Blade Knife. I switched the pickup mini switches to the tapped coil now, in the video before they were switched to full coil (see what is a tapped pickup).

Let me know what you think of the sound of the guitar – comment here (no registration required) or on Youtube.