Gear on album Brothers in arms

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Contributors: Jean-François Convert, Ingo Raven



Amps and effects on this album




Track 1 – So far away


Guitar one – lead – center channel

Mark Knopfler [100%], MK fingerstylePensa-Suhr R – Custom (Synth guitar controler)
standardSynclavier by NEDno info available

Guitar two – rhythm- center channel

Mark Knopfler [~50%], Jack Sonni [~50%], strummed, pick

no info available

Related blog posts:

The Synclavier – The guitar sound of Dire Straits So far away


Track 2 – Money for nothing


Guitar one – lead – left channel

Mark Knopfler [100%], MK fingerstyle,
Gibson Les Paul Standard 1984 (reissue of a late 50ies)
bridge ?standard?
Marshall  JTM45

Guitar two -lead  – right


Mark Knopfler [100%], MK fingerstyleGibson Les Paul Standard 1984 (reissue of a late 50ies)bridge ?standard?
Marshall  JTM45

Related blog posts:

Money for Nothing on Guitar Hero Warriors of Rock

Mark Knopfler’s JTM 45 Marshall amp of Money for Nothing and Brothers in Arms

Mark Knopfler chord shape of Vic and Ray and for a lick in Money for Nothing live intro

Suhr Custom MK-1 and Pensa Custom MK-1

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



Track 3 – Walk of life


Guitar one – riff- center channel

Comes in at 00:35

Mark Knopfler [100%], MK fingerstyleSchecter Telecaster metallic red S8703neck+ middlestandardcompression/limiter, reverbno info available

Guitar two- strummed chords – center channel

Comes in at 00:12

Mark Knopfler [~50%], Jack Sonni [~50%], strummed, pickacoustic guitar (Ovation ? as seen in the clip)

Related blog posts:

Walk of Life Pickups available now – Reviving the legendary Schecter F520T / F521T Tele Pickups



Track 4 – Your latest trick


Guitar one – lead – left channel

Comes in at 00:32

Mark Knopfler [100%], MK fingerstyleSchecter Stratocaster sunburst ? or Schecter Stratocaster CAR  S8218 ? or Fender Stratocaster ? or Fernandes Strat ? Or Gibson Les Paul Standard 1984 ?neck PU ?
standardcompression/limiter, reverbno info available



Track 5 – Why worry


Guitar one – lead – center

Mark Knopfler [100%], MK fingerstyleSchecter Stratocaster CAR  S8218 ?neck+ middlestandardcompression/limiter, reverbno info available

Guitar two – rhythm – left channel

Mark Knopfler [100%], MK fingerstyleSchecter Stratocaster CAR  S8218 ?neck+ middlestandardcompression/limiter, reverbno info available

Guitar three – rhythm – right channel

Mark Knopfler [100%], MK fingerstyleSchecter Stratocaster CAR  S8218 ?neck+ middlestandardcompression/limiter, reverbno info available



Track 6 – Ride across the river


Guitar one – lead – center channel

Mark Knopfler [100%], MK fingerstyleSchecter Stratocaster sunburst ? or Pensa-Suhr R – Custom (Synth guitar controler) ?middle
standardcompression/limiter,reverbno info available

Guitar two – lead – center channel

comes in at 5:59

Mark Knopfler [100%],
MK fingerstyle
Schecter Stratocaster sunburst ? or Pensa-Suhr R – Custom (Synth guitar controler) ?middle
standardcompression/limiter,reverbno info available



Track 7 – The man’s too strong


Guitar one – lead – center channel

Comes in at 00:38

Mark Knopfler [100%], MK fingerstyle, bottle neckNational steel guitar,1937 Style O or 1928 Tricone

Guitar two – rhythm – center channel

Mark Knopfler [100%], strummed, pick
acoustic guitar (Ovation Adamas ?)standardreverb



Track 8 – One world


Guitar one – lead – center channel

Mark Knopfler[100%],MK fingerstyleJack Sonni’s foam green Schecter Stratmiddle+bridgestandardcompression/limiter,reverbJim Kelley

Related blog posts:

Guitar and amp used for the solos on One World



Track 9 – Brothers in arms


Guitar one – lead – center channel

Mark Knopfler[100%], MK fingerstyleGibson Les Paul Standard 1984 (reissue of a late 50ies)neck
standardcompression/limiter,reverbMarshall  JTM45

Related blog posts:

Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms – Cover by Ingo Raven

Soundcheck Brothers in Arms – the Music Man 212 HD 130 for distortion

Mark Knopfler’s JTM 45 Marshall amp of Money for Nothing and Brothers in Arms



20 thoughts on “Gear on album Brothers in arms

  1. Hi,

    some informations need fixed.
    MK’s Schecter Telecaster is Vermillion red not Candy Apple Red.
    Telecasters and Les Pauls has 2 pickups there isnt middle+bridge position on that guitars.
    You mean middle position (bridge+neck pickups)?

  2. Hi,
    as you can see, these pages about gear on all albums are still under construction.
    So indeed, it’s not finissh yet.
    I’ve wrote some content, and I must admit that I can have made some mistakes.
    Of course you’re right, there isn’t middle+bridge position on LP and Tele.
    I meant neck + bridge.
    I will try to change this (and many other things) this WE if I find the time.
    About the Schecter Telecaster, I didn’t know the exact color,I relied on Ingo’s infos (the “old” DS guitar page).
    Thanks for reading and helping making this database the more accurate as possible.

  3. Yes I thought the same, but sometimes it’s difficult to say if it’s bridge+middle or neck+middle, depending on the guitar used.
    And I tend to think that at this time, in the 80’s, Mark used more often bridge+middle (TR, TOL, Sultans…) than neck+middle like he used from 90’s and nowadays : on latest tours, e.g. TR was played on neck+middle, and Sultans was too on OES tour.

    And indeed, I got a similary tone better with middle+neck than middle +bridge, but Mark did get this clear tone sometimes by using middle+bridge.

    Remember that these pages are full of speculations, and maybe we never know the exact truth… (maybe is it another guitar we didn’t think off)

  4. I agree with you friend, but for why worry and wdytyg is neck+middle. These songs are fatter and sweeter. And sometimes I wonder how I get these tones on these songs with all my pickups vintage, while mark had the hotter fs1 in neck..

  5. If you take a look at the video of ‘Walk of Life’ you can see that Mark used the bridge pickup only but I’d also vote for bridge and middle as he used this combination live during the OES tour, too. But i cant’t recognize if he played with both pickups during the Brothers In Arms tour, too.

  6. The received wisdom seems to be that Money For Nothing was recorded with a Les Paul Standard. Obviously, the iconic video and subsequent live performances have further contributed to this.
    Interestingly enough, these articles suggest that it was actually a Les Paul Junior (P90 pickup) and that there was some sort of phasing issue caused by the unorthodox mic positioning rather than any sort of “static wah” pedal or other effect causing the distinctive tone. The quotes come from Neil Dorfsman, the co-producer and his recollections seem very detailed. However there do seem to be inconsistencies – one interview says it was a Laney Amp, the other a Kelly!
    Interesting nevertheless:

  7. Hi Ingo,

    are you really sure “brothers in arms” is the middle-position on the Les Paul out of phase? Peter Green used this on early Fleetwood Mac tunes because his tech disassembled the PAF and accidentally reversed the magnet when putting it back together. Jimmy Page had a switch on one of his LPs in the late 70s but other than those two this mod was not really too common. It would not be what you would do to a Les Paul in the 80s. Nowadays such configurations are readily available from certain boutique vendors and there’s even a “Peter Green”-model in the Historic-Line of the Gibson Custom Shop. But I really doubt Mark used an out-of-phase-sound on Brothers in Arms. He always used the neck-pickup live and the record sounds just like that as well.

    On my Gibson Historic I have a set of Throback Pickups – most authentic PAF clones ever – and I flipped the magnet on the neck-pu because I like the Peter Green sound. It is indeed a very interesting sound on a Les Paul but not much like Knopfler.

    In the picture of Marks JTM45 that you posted a while ago you can see he sets the Bass very low on his Marshall. This is the key to get a hollow but not mushy sound even with the neck-PU of a LP. I’ve recently aquired a Marshall Class 5 which is basically a Plexi sound in a much smaller package. When I turn the bass down, middle and treble way up and crank the volume, this sounds exactely like Brothers in Arms with the neck PU of my Les Paul.

  8. Hi Rainer,

    you are right, BiA is not out-of-phase. There was even some explicit info on this in some interview I read years ago: Mark indeed had his Les Paul reissue modified to have an out-of-phase switch via a push-pull poti. He tried it on BiA, but it was the engineer Neil Dorfsman who did not like it and convinced Mark not to use it.

    He later played the out-of-phase thing on You and your friend from the On Every Street album.

    This page was thought as some kind of Wiki page, and the biggest part of it was compiled by Jean-Francois. I don’t know if he has some more or other info that made him believe it was out-of-phase.

    I will edit it now and change to neck PU.

  9. Hi Rainer and Ingo,

    No I don’t have more info. I guess I had read the Dorfsman thing, and maybe misunderstood it.
    Maybe by writing the BIA and OES pages, I thought that the setting was the same on BIA and YAYF, but after listening again to the 2 songs, you’re right indeed, the BIA sound is not the same as YAYF.

    I may have done some other mistakes on these gear pages, and I’d be very happy if we could debate about all songs ! 🙂

  10. I was listening to Paris 2008 in the car this afternoon, and I found guitar sound on BIA more agressive than on last tours.
    In fact guitar sound on BIA is like that on all promotionnal tour in 2007 and tour in 2008 : more agressive, more treble, not as dark as in 96 or 2001.
    So I was wondering : I agree that he played on neck only on GH and STP tour, but did he play BIA on bridge +neck in 2007-2008 ?
    The sound since 2007 is more like on the pensa in 88-93, or more like on BIA tour. Didn’t he play on neck+bridge in wembley 85 ?
    But maybe is it only the amp sound which is different (different amp, different EQ), not the PU combination.
    What do you think ?

  11. Also let’s not forget that with the bridge & neck position on a Les Paul you can also use the two volume controls on the guitar to mix the sound from both PUs, for example 100% neck plus 50% bridge, and so on.

  12. Hi Jean-Francois,

    I never heard the version you mentioned. Is that 2008 Paris concert online available somewhere? If I could have a listen maybe I could say more.

    There are a few things to consider though:
    AFAIK Mark owns three Les Pauls. Two vintage original Bursts and the reissue from the 80s. Maybe he just carried a different guitar for that leg of the tour.

    Real PAFs are shockingly bright, much more than what you would expect from a humbucker. I remember when I first played a real Burst I nearly fell on the floor cause that thing sounded so bright, almost like a Telecaster. But those PAFs did vary a lot. Contrary to common believe they were not handwound – Gibson used a winding machine with a mechanic traverse and a counter which would stop when a certain count was reached – but they did several kinds of pickups on only two machines and hence they would have to retool frequently. So the number of the turns varied as did the winding pattern after each retool. BTW: Seymour Duncon used to have one of the actual winding machines he got directly from Gibson when they moved the shop.

    Marks 80s LP would have the pickups Tim Shaw did for Gibson as a first shot to get back to the old PAF formula. Though they were among the best what could be had new back then, they’re not exactely like old PAFs. Heck, the whole guitar was not really an exact reissue of a original Burst. The neck pickup of this guitar would be significantly darker than his bursts and even his bursts might sound completely different.

    If you listen to the Montserrat Concert he is playing BIA on one of his bursts and seemingly on a AC30 amp and this sounds significantly different from the studio recording or the Live Aid stuff.

    Maybe he is just using his original Burst and was using the reissue on the other recordings you mentioned. That would explain a lot.

    The middle-position of a Les Paul is easy to spot though, so it should be possible to figure out somehow.

  13. Hi everyone.

    I wonder if it’s possible that the final part of Why Worry (lead guitar, which was ommited on LP version) might have been played on a Telecaster using Bridge + Neck pickups. For me that sound is very similar to many heard on the Soundtrack for the film CAL, and I heard it was recorded using his red Schecter Tele.

  14. I think mMoney for Nothin is played whith wah pedal on certain sweetspot and noisgate after that. Only way to me get so musch midle to sound.

    1. Yes you are right, but’s that’s the way to get it on live show. In the studio, “bad” mic positionning in front of the amp can generate out of phase phenomena, and frequencies cancelations, so you get something like a frequencies filter, like what the wha does when you set it in a particular spot. As it’s quite difficult (impossible according to Mark and Neil) to set in every show (and you need at least 2 mics for the amp), and as you don’t need this kind of tone in all songs, it’s way easyier to use the wha or a frequencies filter to cut the frequencies you want to avoid. But for the recording of the song, it’s seems that there was no wha.

  15. I’m interested in the opinion of what was used on MfN in the studio. It’s long been accepted that the JTM45 was the amp used but in an interview article (I forget which one but it might even be linked above) with Neil Dorfsman it was stated that a Laney amp, not the Marshall was used on that recording.
    John Illsley’s recent book, My Life in Dire Straits, also corroborates that it was a Laney.
    There also seems to be ambiguity over which guitar was used, the accepted fact is that a Les Paul standard was used, but again Neil Dorfsman (I think) has stated it was a Les Paul Junior of some kind?
    I don’t know what to make of the conflicting information. I’ve seen very few actual photos from that recording session and I’ve never seen this Laney amp in any photo, nor the Les Paul Junior, although I have seen Les Pauls and the JTM45 is quite well documented, but does this mean both John and Neil are wrong, or is it just one of those things where the passage of time causes people’s memories and recollection to fade?

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