Guitar in general

Another key element of the Mark Knopfler guitar style: Quarter note triplets – with example tabs

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Quarter note triplets are notes of a certain duration, or in other words they produce a certain rhythimcal effect. Such a note is shorter than a quarter note but longer than an eighth note. They do not “fit” into the normal grid of half, quarter, eighth or sixteenth notes; they break out of the normal rhythm scheme, thus highlighting a melody or a phrase. However, they have nothing to do […]

Amps

Sultans of Swing – The alternate single version and the demo version – sound and gear

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Dire Straits’ first hit was Sultans of Swing, recorded in Basing Street studios, February 1978. But did you know that there was a different studio recording before (demo version, Pathway Studios, July 1977), and also a later recording (Pathway Studios, April 1978) that was recorded to be released as a single in some countries? The demo version This version was recorded on July 2, 1977, together with four other song […]

MK guitar style and licks

Sultans of Swing solo

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Last weekend we had guests and one of them had this new photo camera – a Panasonic Lumix FX 37 which costs less than 200,- €. Besides taking great photos you can also record videos in HD quality (1280 x 720 pixels). As I was curious what these look like with my stuff I played Sultans for them and we filmed it. The result is really amazing – much better […]

Amps

Gear on Dire Straits’ first TV appearance at Old Grey Whiste Test

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I recently watched the video clips of Dire Straits performing Sultans of Swing and Lions live on the British Old Grey Whistle Test again.  It is one of the earliest videos that exist, recorded in Manchester on May 15, 1978, about three months after the first CD. Sultans of Swing Lions Let’s have a look at the gear we can see in this clip. Knopfler plays his red maple neck […]

MK guitar style and licks

The one-man band – Playing both rhythm and lead guitar together

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The video in today’s post demonstrates an important aspect of Mark Knopfler’s unique guitar style: the blend of rhythm and lead guitar playing. I remember the day I first saw Mark Knopfler on TV in the late 70ies. I knew their stuff from the records, and I heard his lead guitar playing on these. What was striking when seeing him play was that his hands were apparently doing something all […]

Easy stuff for beginners

Some Mark Knopfler licks using double-string bends

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What I mean with double-string bends are licks that are played on two or more strings and one or more of these are bent. Such licks appear in countless Mark Knopfler or Dire Straits songs. The following video clip demonstrates how to use such licks, and their relation to the chords they are based upon. Note that the last licks (Once Upon a time and Sultans of Swing) were covered […]

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 […]

MK guitar style and licks

Unusual double-string bend in Sultans of Swing and Once Upon a Time

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Remember the guitar lick In Sultans of Swing following “and Harry doesn’t mind..” ? In songbooks or tabs you will find something like: (play b-string at fret 8, plus g-string at 7th fret, bend g-string one whole note, notes g and d, the d is bent to e) In fact this is the way Knopfler seems to play it on many old or new live recordings. I suspect that on […]