Mark Knopfler gear

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

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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 you a different kind of attack which can be nice as well. For most of the big guitarists we know which brand and gauge they played during the different stages in their career. Of course we know a lot about Mark Knopfler’s strings, too, but unfortunately there is almost no information about his strings during […]


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

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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 decreased and others boosted so that the resulting sound of both pickups together is totally different from the sound of a single pickup. In one of his two red Fender Strats Mark had a DiMarzio FS-1 pickup (confirmed in a Guitar Player interview from early 1979). He often swapped the pickguards of his two Strats […]

Guitar in general

First demo of the VFS-1 pickguard

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After the last video in which I already  compared the VFS-1 pickup to a 1955 Fender Strat pickup and to the DiMarzio FS-1, here is a first demo of the complete Schecter-style pickguard with the VFS-1 pickups. I was jamming in the Mark Knopfler style over a self-produced 2 chords backing groove on my metallic pink Strat, which is mainly a 1983 Japanese vintage Squier but with a new bird’s eye maple neck. You are hearing the combination of neck & middle pickups, the switches are in the up position (tapped coil). More demos of others of the 26 possible sound combinations will follow.