Easy stuff for beginners

The 6/#9 chord – Mark Knopfler’s Train Chord

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Imitating the sound of a freight train whistle seems to be an obligatory part of all blues players’ vocabulary. For this purpose Mark Knopfler often uses a particular chord, a chord that appears on songs like Eastbound Train or Gravy Train (live), but also on the The Bug. The chord in question is often called a 6/#9  chord (sometimes also denoted as 6/10). Remember, the numbers indicate the interval from […]

Guitar in general

Zen and the art of playing the guitar

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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 […]

Guitar in general

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

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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 […]

Easy stuff for beginners

Suggestions what you would like to see here

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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 […]

Easy stuff for beginners

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

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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 […]

MK guitar style and licks

Eastbound Train: opening chord analysis

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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 […]

Guitar in general

Hello world

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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. […]