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Rusty Cash >> Mark Knopfler Style >>
Lesson Subject: Mark Knopfler Style
What you learn: Lesson 2
Teacher: Rusty Cash

Go ahead and download the rhythm examples

Knopfler Example A

Knopfler Example B

Rusty: In this lesson we will look at some ideas based off of two Dire Strait songs. The first should sound similar to "Money For Nothing" and the second like "Your Latest Trick". We will go into detail later as we break up the examples.

Rusty: On the original "Money For Nothing" recording, Mark used a Gibson Les Paul that was equipped with a special tone pot or built in effect that gave him that unique tone for the song. There are two things you can do to get close to this sound. One is, you can roll off the tone with your control knob until it starts to sound dull and muffled. Let your ear be the judge as to what sounds good to you. Two is, you can leave a wah pedal on but leave it in the up position. This is what I did on the example. Add just a bit of distortion. You don't need too much. Last lesson we covered how our fingers have a different effect on the strings rather than a pick. That allows us to get some different tones. Now we have a new area to explore.

Rusty: Example B should sound close to "Your Latest Trick". This is one of Mark's songs that tends to lean towards jazz. The actual song has a sax playing the melody. Some of you had questions about how he plays rhythms to certain songs like Sultans Of Swing. The example should help you with that song in particular. All I did was rearrange the melody from "Your Latest Trick" and change the key to F (Sultans Of Swing). In the second part of the example the melody is mixed in the chords. Some of those same licks will help you with Sultans Of Swing plus they are typical licks that Mark might play.

Example A Guitar 1

Looping Sound Clip 1

Rusty: There are two guitars played on Example A. Our example is in the key of F but we are starting over the G minor. I'm going to send the chords to play the first guitar tabbed out.

Rusty: They are barre chords. For the G and F make sure you just play the lower 3 strings. We need to leave the g (3rd) string open in order to play the licks right. When we get into the licks, don't get confused with the numbers on the tab. All of the licks come out of the chords, meaning you can hold most of the chords while picking out the melody notes. Make sure to watch the videos. The licks are slowed down. The (*) on the tab designates playing with the thumb. You will also have to add in your index and middle finger to play the other strings.


Rusty: Lick 1 will cover the G minor and F.


Rusty: Lick 2 will cover the Eb and the F. That covered the 1st guitar, in the videos notice that I play straight through the chords. When I need an extra finger for the notes on the 3rd string I either use my 1st finger or roll my 4th finger over to grab those notes. But the whole time I hold the chords. Here is an extra jam track that has also has guitar 2. You can practice the 1st guitar part against it.

Looping Sound Clip 3

Example A Guitar Part 2

Rusty: The same rules apply for the next licks. Now we are playing against the same chords but over the higher strings.


Rusty: You can stay in one position for this lick.

Lick 4

Rusty: The same happens for this lick (one position) and then changing with the chord. Most of the work is in your right hand. Try to visualize each lick falling out of the chords.

Rusty: I have another jam track that you can practice that part against. This one features the first part we learned.

Looping Sound Clip 4

Example B

Rusty: For this example, I've given you three parts. The rhythm, the melody, and the melody licks. If you forgot what it sounds like, go back to the top of the page and listen to the lesson sample again. I don't want to get too involved in the rhythm. My main goal is to get to the melody licks. However; I realize the rhythm may be interesting but difficult to some. Just remember how example A worked. All of the notes we played came out of the chords. So just follow the progression changing with the chords.

Rusty: This is our progression:

Dm - Bb / C / Am / Dm / Gm / C / A / Dm - C


Rusty: If you have trouble playing with the example you could just strum the chords and come back later to work on the rhythm. One thing I should point out. Notice how playing with your fingers have a different percussive quality. Strumming with a pick has different factors also. They both have their limitations but I think playing with your fingers works great on beats such as this.


Lick 5

Rusty: This is the single note melody. It all falls out of the key of F until we play over the A major. There we just play with the change by playing an A major triad. That chord throws us out of the Key of F for a second but it adds a nice twist to the song. You can also find the same thing happening in Sultans of Swing although it may not stand out as much.

Melody Licks

Rusty: Now we want to combine that melody with the chords and play them both at the same time. In order to do that we will want to use different voicings of the same chords. Here they are:

Rusty: Now we have some typical Mark Knopfler licks. In other songs like Sultans Of Swing Mark may substitute the licks we just built for the chords.

Lick 6

Rusty: Although the licks may sound and look complicated, remember to focus on the chords. What makes them difficult is in the right hand. See you next lesson!

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