Other Players

Mark Knopfler’s Approach to Guitars

1

Wherein Mark demonstrates the five guitars (or is it six?) which have been all he's needed - the purposes, reasons, and joys of each.

3

Love it! So much of what he said about them (especially the Strat vs. the LP) I always thought this although I certainly could neither verbally articulate it nor support it with playing examples like him. The banjo comment about the National resonator too!

I had not seen this video but have seen others and he just seems to shine with enjoyment as if there is a magical quality to a guitar and seems to fall in love with it like one might at the first time they first hold and play one.

Great video and thanks for posting Tim. It certainly helps too that I'm a big fan.

4

Absolutely one of my favorites , saw him on his last two tours. Thanks for the vid.

5

Very nice...I like his disposition throughout.

You would think he would have Gretsch or two?

I've seen the Strat and the LP many times...

6

"Delightfully vulgar piece of equipment"---I'm gonna have to get a dobro.

He makes it look so easy!

7

"Delightfully vulgar piece of equipment"---I'm gonna have to get a dobro.

He makes it look so easy!

– wabash slim

I loved that description as well.

Really enjoyed that vid

8

Thanks for sharing this with us, Proteus. Mark is one of the humblest greats, and his evident joy in playing the guitar revives that ecstatic feeling the first time I played a chord I was trying to learn and it actually sounded like it was supposed to; I actually believed I could play a guitar in that moment. My first introduction to the sound of Knopfler was hearing "Sultan's of Swing" on my car radio one evening. I've seen it performed on video with a really drawn out jam at the end, and as much as I love that song, the most striking thing was the sheer joy of playing exhibited by Mark. It's absolutely infectious and reminds me of what it's all about-the joy of music and playing an instrument.

9

He seems like a simple guy. I’ve always enjoyed those first two DS albums heavily.

10

My favorite guitarist. Something so magical in his playing. Everything fits the “feel” of the song.

11

i tend to blow hot-and-cold about MK--who could fairly be credited with mainstreaming Richard Thompson's radical Brit-folk style into a more radio-friendly approach--but he's undeniably a great player. i liked albums 1 and 3 the most.

12

I like all the albums, and everything I know about the guy.

A great listen, if you don't know it, is his soundtrack music to the movie Cal. Amazing atmospheric airs, mostly acoustic and heavily celtic, played with a kind of calm, meditative nobility. Elegaic, like. Gorgeous melodies, lovingly rendered. Gentle, moody and reflective.

I think it's the guy's nature, as his material has tended further in that direction through his solo career.

And yes, the sheer joy he takes in playing: it's what made him an unlikely guitar hero during Dire Straits' heyday, and probably what's kept him at a lower profile through the time since. He doesn't need the adulation of the audience and the excitement of fame, because it's still all about the nourishment he gets from just playing.

I seem to remember an anecdote that early Dire Straits was the only rock band that had to be told to turn UP when they were playing club gigs. That fits with MK's profile, I think: modest, humble, playing mostly for himself.


I think of Dire Straits (and to an extent, The Police) as the quiet left hand of the "punk revolution" of the late 70s. Both movements were "back to the roots" and away from the complications and elaboration of prog and arena rock. We're so used to Strat sounds similar to Knopfler's now, but at the time it was almost shocking - and certainly refreshing - to hear naked unadorned, clean Strat-through-Music Man in a stripped-down deceptively simple format.

And where punk was all attitude and short blasts of malcontent, rebellion, and angst - played with at least the appearance of technical naivete - the best Knopfler songs (like the best Police songs) are vignettes of life delivered without commentary, like short stories. (And with clear and careful instrumental competence.)

That may have something to do with Knopfler and Sting both having been English teachers, and certainly everything to do with their being English gents of a somewhat literary bent. Both have considerable narrative skill, which makes for great songwriting. As you say, mac, it ties MK to the folk tradition. He's a story-teller, a troubadour, a folksinger - who happened also to be seduced by the sound and expressive possibilities of electric guitars, and has merged those talents in a unique way.

13

I know he played music with Chet, but, did Mark get a CGP?

14

Nosir. I don't think he was enough a part of that community, or enough of a Chettian fangerpacker.

15

Oh hell. he kissed his Les Paul. Mark is so talented. He really should have gotten a Gretsch years ago. It would make those multiple string vibratos way easier.

16

Thanks, Tim, for sharing this wonderful video! I've been a huge fan since "Brothers In Arms" days...

It is fun to see all his explanations for the guitars that he has and how he developed his style.

I especially liked the part around 12:00 where he takes a simple 1/4/5 and starts to explain how many different embellishments can happen within that form (blues).

The Man truly does Impressive stuff and then says 'I really haven't spent too much time with it'. Ouch!

18

That entire PBS "Soundbreaking" series is a must watch.

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Nosir. I don't think he was enough a part of that community, or enough of a Chettian fangerpacker.

– Proteus

I may be wrong, but I'm pretty certain he does indeed hold the CGP badge of honor.

20

I may be wrong, but I'm pretty certain he does indeed hold the CGP badge of honor.

– Opie

My bad,you's right. Jerry Reed, John Knowles, Tommy Emanuel,Steve Wariner and Paul Yandel, added after his death by Chet's daughter.No Knopler though.

22

He's got a Caddy green Club too.

23

And his 6121 from the early days.

He also had a red Super Chet that Chet give him.

24

Huge Dire Straits /Knopfler fan! Saw DS on their Brothers In Arms tour and the my wife and I traveled to London to see Knopfler at Royal Albert Hall. That was the tour he was playing while seated on a bar stool be a use of back issues? None the less a great evening. Knopfler is the complete package in my book.

25

We're so used to Strat sounds similar to Knopfler's now, but at the time it was almost shocking - and certainly refreshing - to hear naked unadorned, clean Strat-through-Music Man in a stripped-down deceptively simple format.


But wasn't Clapton dong this a few year earlier in his mid 70s Music Man phase


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