Which strings for the Sultans of Swing sound? – Comparing 010 and 009 strings

Listening to Sultans of Swing in 1979 was one of the reasons I started to learn the guitar. From this time on I wanted to get that magic guitar sound. One major component for a guitar sound is the right string gauge. I guess you all have heard about using heavier strings to get a fuller sound. On the other hand thinner strings are easier to play, and they give […]

New Theory on the Sultans of Swing Sound: DiMarzio FS-1 Pickup in the Middle Position

Mark Knopfler’s guitar sound on the first two Dire Straits albums is firmly associated to the 1 & 2 position (bridge & middle) of the 5-way switch. This position causes a special, nasal “out of phase” sound. The term out of phase is technically incorrect as both pickups are still in phase but – similar to a true out of phase wiring – certain frequencies are cancelled or at least […]

Alternate Sultans of Swing solo take from first album session – unheard before – exclusively on mk-guitar.com

Here you will find an alternate take of the Sultans of Swing first  solo from the recording session for the first album at Basing Street Studios in February 1978. Unfortunately the quality is more than poor, you might guess where it is coming from… It is not so much different, but it is for sure not the take  that was released. This can maybe heard best between 0:15 and 0:22 […]

Trying to recreate that Sultans of Swing sound – The gear I used on the Puresolo competition.

Like many others,  I recorded an entry for the Puresolo competition (you could play your solo over one of the following backing tracks:  Sulans of Swing, Calling Elvis, or Speedway at Nazareth). I always find it a bit frustrating to take part in such a competition because as it seems nobody knows before who decides basing on what criteria (authenticity, accuracy, originality, creativity, …??) Anyway, as the backing track was […]

Rasgueado and other flamenco techniques in Sultans of Swing

Sultans of Swing from Dire Straits’  first album is surely one of THE songs that comes to mind when talking about fingerstyle guitar playing. In addition to Mark Knopfler’s unique playing style it also features some striking Spanish-sounding elements, starting from the chord  progression itself to some flamenco-like strumming techniques – which is this blog article, or rather the embedded video, is about. The typical flamenco stroke is called Rasgueado […]

Rhett Davies and the sound of the first Dire Straits album

In the blog post about the Sultans of Swing lead guitar track that was made available through the Guitar Hero 5 game we had some interesting discussions about some technical aspects of the guitar sound. One was whether the effects we hear (compression, chorus, reverb) were added later in the mix or were recorded right with the instrument track. Unfortunately there is no direct information available so we will probably […]

Sensational: Sultans of Swing guitar track solo – without backing tracks – from Guitar Hero 5

I reported about the vocals only and karaoke tracks of Sultans of Swing in the last post. If you read all the comments there you will already have heard the latest news: a guitar-only track is also available. They all seem to be from the Guitar Hero 5 game. It seems the makers of the game had access to the multitrack recording of Sultans. The guitar track does not only […]

Sultans of Swing: Studio version vocals alone, karaoke track, plus the last seconds – unheard before

Found a link in the amarkintime forum today to three audio clips of Sultans of Swing: a) complete b) only vocals (!!), and c) without vocals. Those tracks must be made from the original multitrack recording, and they are even a few seconds longer than what is one the CD. No fade out – instead another lick unheard before. I have no idea yet where these come from, but very […]