Zen and the art of playing the guitar

Zen – a word sometimes heard, but only rarely explained. Those who practice Zen say that “Zen is what cannot be explained” – not really helpful. So what is it, what does it have to do with art, and what with playing the guitar? Basically Zen is a Japanese form of Buddhism. It is not a religion – you don’t have to believe in any gods or in Buddha. Instead […]

Recommended listening: Amazing Rhythm Aces – “The End is not in Sight”

Whenever people are listed who influenced Mark Knopfler to come up with that Dire Straits sound, you more or less will find the same names: J.J. Cale, Bob Dylan, Hank Marvin, Ry Cooder, Eric Clapton, sometimes Django Reinhardt or Richard Thompson, etc. I remember that I was surprised to hear another name, a band that I had never heard of before. This was in the “Unauthorized Mark Knopfler Biography” by […]

Suggestions what you would like to see here

This weekend is a rather busy one, so not too much time for the blog so far:( This blog is online for less than two weeks, and the number of readers is steadily increasing, thank you a lot. I was wondering if I can go on blogging about this stuff forever or if I will run out of topics or ideas , so I made a list with concrete blog […]

Pictures from Hamburg Oct. 28, 1978 (?)

Edit 2012: I had to correct myself. These pictures were probably from the next day, October 29, 1978, when they played in Berlin (compare this blog post). Unlike these days, when each concert is not only recorded on audio or video, not to mention all pictures made by a million people it seems, there are hardly pictures from those early Dire Straits concerts. Too bad digital cams were not invented […]

The Circle of Fifths: What is it for? – plus: example analysis of Knopfler songs

What is the Circle of Fifths and what do I need it for? Every guitar player pretty soon realizes that certain chords seem to belong together, they are related in a way, while other chords are only rarely used within the same song. The chords C , F, and G seem to be such related chords – these are not only the chords you would use for a blues tune […]

What tuning is Setting me up by Dire Straits, and what guitar?

The guitar playing on Setting me up from Dire Straits’ first album is a true masterpiece. The recording features three guitar tracks: the opening riff, the lead guitar (both played by Mark), and a strummed ryhthm guitar by Mark’s brother David. On Youtube you can find countless attempts by different players to play this riff. Most of them try it with standard tuning, which also works more or less. However, […]

Eastbound Train: opening chord analysis

The song Eastbound Train is a boogie groove in the key of E. It was the b-side of Dire Straits’ first Single Sultans of Swing, and has been played live on most concerts during the first two years of Dire Straits. Below you will find an explanation of the opening chord (listen to sample, live at the Hope&Anchor, London, 1977). In blues-based tunes – and a boogie is often just […]

Hello world

So, here is my first post in this new blog. The idea behind this blog is to write about some things I am fascinated in, namely electric guitar and playing it in the style of the unique Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits fame. I created the Dire Straits Guitar Page, one of the earliest and best-known sites about this topic, in 1996. It was soon quoted and copied almost everywhere. […]