Easy stuff for beginners

Calling Elvis chord analysis – Major, minor, no-third, power chords

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This time I will start with some very basic stuff: major and minor chords. Every guitar beginner soon learns that there is e.g. an A major chord, and an A minor chord. Obviously they are similar, they just differ in one single note (in case of the first position chords, in the example it is either the 2nd (A) or 1st (Am) fret on the b string). You need to […]

Effects

The Dan Armstrong Orange Squeezer compressor – Did Mark Knopfler really use it?

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Today the Orange Squeezer compressor by Dan Armstrong is an almost legendardy guitar effect. An essential portion of this fame is probably due to the fact that it is often named as an ingredient for the early Mark Knopfler / Dire Straits sound. Ironically this goes back to my old Dire Straits Guitar Page which was the first site in the web to mention the Orange Squeezer as part of […]

Guitars

Detail pictures of 1936 National Style-0

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One of Mark Knopfler’s most famous guitars is surely his National Style-O (read “style – oh”). This is the guitar on the cover of Brothers in Arms. AFAIK he bought this guitar from his buddy Steve Phillips long before Dire Straits, it was his second National (the first was a Tricone from the late 20ies which he bought from an old man in Wales). What makes a National unique is […]

Effects

Mark Knopfler’s Morley Volume Pedal

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After the other article about Knopfler’s Ernie Ball volume pedal, this time I want to feature the volume pedal he played before, which means during the Dire Straits days until the end of the Making Movies tour in 1981. The pedal I am talking about is the silver Morley Volume Pedal. Morley made a whole range of effect foot pedals, including a very popular wha-wha or even models with built-in […]

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 […]

Easy stuff for beginners

Mark Knopfler licks on an acoustic – How to practice electric guitar on your acoustic

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(At the end of this article you will find a matching video for all who prefer watching to reading) An acoustic guitar has normally heavier strings than an electric guitar because you want a loud and rich sound. With an electric guitar you don’t need that much volume because you can adjust the sound easily with the amp. Consequently playing the acoustic requires more strength and finger pressure, and some […]

Mark Knopfler gear

How to get that Sultans of Swing Sound – Mark Knopfler played 08 strings?

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It cannot be answered with 100% certainty which string gauge or brand Mark Knopfler played on e.g. the first Dire Straits album or on Communique. There were a few interviews with major guitar magazines, but unfortunately none of these asked for strings. For a long time the earliest information was from the Making Movies tour book which listed Fender Extra Lights for this tour. However, this was late 1980 and […]