Mark Knopfler technique?

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Manly wimp 17, May 3, 2017.

  1. Manly wimp 17

    Manly wimp 17 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    19
    Posts:
    24
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2017
    Location:
    Slovenia
    Okay, I'm a beginner guitarist and I always thought that hard rock and metal songs were the ones I wanted to be able to play (mostly because of me being familiar with different songs from these fields and guitarists like Zakk Wylde...). About a week ago I discovered the Dire Straits and I'm in love with the sound of it all. So, naturally, I really want to be able to play songs like Sultans of swing. The problem is that I don't know where to begin. Please, do you know where I can find lessons on Knopfler's guitar technique and how to be able to play like him (even if his technique is almost impossible to master, I want to learn it, because I am certain that playing this type of music will bring the most joy to me).

    I also found a youtuber who plays in this style that I find interesting (). His name is Josh Turner.
     
  2. Lobomov

    Lobomov Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,890
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2013
    Location:
    Europa
    LOL .. no offence I can understand where you are coming from, as I worshipped MK when I was 15 and would sit at night and marvel at his playing not understanding, how he made those sounds.

    But it's not magic and at some point you suddenly start sounding like him.

    The early Mark Knopfler sound is basically a guitar (preferably a strat in 2. position (middle+bridge), but any guitar will do) and a nice clean amp.

    Then there is the chicking picking demonstrated nicely by Greg Koch here: (Starting at 3:30)



    Have fun :)
     
  3. cboutilier

    cboutilier Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    28
    Posts:
    1,361
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2015
    Location:
    Halifax, NS, Canada
  4. Flakey

    Flakey Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,600
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2011
    Location:
    The Land of 10,000 Lakes
    From the man himself:



    Mark was influenced by a lot of country pickers like Chet Atkins and Merle Travis.
     
  5. boredguy6060

    boredguy6060 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,833
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2012
    Location:
    Sou Cal
    Josh Turner is young but he's no beginner.
     
    SnidelyWhiplash and McGlamRock like this.
  6. richiek65

    richiek65 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,175
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2012
    Location:
    Sydney NSW Australia


    Knopfler impresses even the best of the best..including these young upstarts..
     
    JustABluesGuy and texastengu like this.
  7. boredguy6060

    boredguy6060 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,833
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2012
    Location:
    Sou Cal
    Tommy Emmanuel is maybe the best player on the planet, and between the two brother he got all the looks too...sorry Phil
     
  8. brenn

    brenn Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,369
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2013
    Location:
    Kentucky
    We'd all like to sound like Mark Knopfler - most of us just settle for something easy, like Clapton or Hendrix.
     
  9. richiek65

    richiek65 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,175
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2012
    Location:
    Sydney NSW Australia
    Harsh but fair...
     
  10. zimbo

    zimbo Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,597
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
  11. Grant Austin

    Grant Austin Tele-Meister

    Age:
    37
    Posts:
    252
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2016
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Something that helped me immeasurably in all sorts of ways, but especially fingerstyle, is taking classical guitar lessons for about 6 months. I got some basic technique down and am now able to pervert it to fit more casual fingerstyle techniques.

    It isn't easy and I'm nowhere near where I want to be. But the progress was motivating.
     
    JustABluesGuy and Round Bale like this.
  12. Manly wimp 17

    Manly wimp 17 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    19
    Posts:
    24
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2017
    Location:
    Slovenia
    I took classical lessons for 5 years. I can read notes and know the basics of theory. I can play fingerstyle but isn't Knopfler playing in a different technique?
     
    Grant Austin likes this.
  13. Jack S

    Jack S Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,921
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    Location:
    Berwyn, IL
    Knopfler plays with his fingers just like the video you posted with the kid playing.
     
  14. Brokenpick

    Brokenpick Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,441
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    Location:
    Dixie
    Mr. Knopfler is SUCH a fine player.
    Though "not the way he plays" he CAN play so much classic stuff... He's spent so much time learning from the other greats, just quietly gaining insights and abilities... and working, working, working.
    It is all such a life process. These really truly great guys aren't just focused on the way we think of them playing... they are so into other folks' stylings and so driven to play.
    There are gifts... and there are years of hard work... and we are blessed to be given a peek at it!
     
  15. Grant Austin

    Grant Austin Tele-Meister

    Age:
    37
    Posts:
    252
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2016
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Indeed. But it's a fairly simple one. My novice opinion is it can be seen as a simplification of classical technique. Mostly pim. Basically no rest stroke.

    Classical training gives you finger independence and ergonomics. A lot of finger style techniques you see in practice seem more inefficient, limited subsets. And sometimes that's what makes them distinctive.
     
  16. Superrock

    Superrock Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    284
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Location:
    Midwest
    First you need an old Schecter guitar, if that's all you can afford... and get a daytime job so you're doing all right. :)
     
  17. Flyinlow

    Flyinlow Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    233
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2017
    Location:
    NE Indiana
    Just go on a steady diet of his stuff and be diligent about it, and in time, you'll have it.
    In a way, Knopfler is like SRV, where the best way to really capture what he's doing is to make his playing the primary focus of what you study. At least that's how it works for me. If I go on to something else for too long, I may still be able to play the riffs, but lose touch with how to make it "feel" that way. Every riff is fully playable and decipherable, but a lot of the subtleties get away if it isn't a big part of your practice. I hope I'm not sounding overly simplistic.
     
    pixeljammer likes this.
  18. Flakey

    Flakey Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,600
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2011
    Location:
    The Land of 10,000 Lakes
    Don't over think it. In another video MK talks about how the Strat changed Sultan's of Swing from a county blues to what we know it as today. For a long time he just worked on the alternating bass done by the thumb and the rake of the higher four string with the index and middle finger. Kind of like Carter Picking. Knopfler worked at simply getting a rhythm going first. Secondly, work on your vibrato.

    And if I can offer my own advice on how I learned to finger pick; NEVER EVER CARRY A GUITAR PICK WITH YOU!

     
    Last edited: May 4, 2017
    P Thought likes this.
  19. FattoneTele

    FattoneTele Tele-Meister

    Age:
    17
    Posts:
    171
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2016
    Location:
    Jena, LA
  20. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,750
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    Location:
    Western Canada
    It needs to be said that Josh Turner does a great job of the song in that video... but he is not playing with Knopfler technique. He has arranged the song for "fingerstyle" (no drums, bass, or rhythm) and has re-voiced a lot of the chords and licks. Even the iconic "ending lick" of the song is not played the way Knopfler plays it... the notes are there, but the "style" (ie: nuance, positioning, fingering, etc...) is not.

    Again - I'm not dissing Josh in any way, that's a fabulous cut... just don't confuse it with Knopfler technique.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.