Mark Knopfler Style
|What you learn:
Rusty: In this lesson we will
explore more ideas based around the chords and key signatures. The lesson
example is a ballad. The licks will emphasize the chords all through the song.
We will explore some ideas based around thirds, fourths, and fifths. They make
nice combinations for songs such as this. Some good Mark Knopfler ballads are
"So Far Away", "Romeo and Juliet", and "Why Worry". That's just a few. He really
shines on ballads either as a guitar player or a
Rusty: There is
no rhythm guitar but this is the chord progression. You can use it as a guide for building
your licks or examining the ones provided.
Verse: E / C#min / A / E
E / C#min / A / E
Chorus: F#min / A / E / E
F#min / A / E /
A6 / E / B7 / E
First we want to look at our key signature which is E
major. The notes that make up E major
E - F#
- G# - A - B - C# - D#
We also have a chord built off of each note:
Rusty: Our rhythm section doesn't play
every chord but for the lead we will play a voicing or inversion of each chord
passing from one chord to the next, making a lick or melody. Also we play backwards
with relation to our scale. I've chose to start with voicings that
begin on the 4th and end on the 2nd string. MK plays these voicings on just
about every song he writes complimenting the key of the
We omit playing the root notes by starting with the 4th string. This makes an inversion of the chord but I look at it is if we are playing the
full chord and name it that way. So if you get lost on how I call
something an E when to you it looks like it should be a B, take a look back at
the Chord Diagram for help. Lick 1&2 are variations of each
other. They use the inversions tabbed
previously tabbed out to make the licks. Notice I'm descending straight through
the scale while using the chords.
Rusty: By breaking them up into single notes or
double stops we get closer to the way MK plays. The combinations that you can come up with are limitless. When your jamming with
the track try other voicings and combinations that I didn't use. Lick 3 & 4 arpeggiate down the F#
minor ending over the C# minor voicing which also works over the E
chord. On the last part of the licks I start by
trying to play soft and then gradually build up for the next change. Playing
this gives the example more dynamics.
Rusty: This lick is used twice but once for the
first chorus and again on the second
Rusty: Here we play over the G#
min. It's the 3
major chord, which is also used quite often in any genre of music. Throwing in the major 3 chord has many useful properties. One it adds a dynamic
twist to the song as in our example. Think of Sultans Of Swing, that song is
in F and in the verse you'll find an A major. The same thing happened in the example from lesson 2 over the "Your Latest
Trick" example. We can also stick to playing 3rds. This gets it's name from the distance between
the two notes played.
Rusty: It is either a major 3rd or a minor 3rd.
For this description of 3rds the root
notes are on the 1st string and are circled. For lick 6 & 7 I play through the
3rds first descending and then ascending.
You can try more slides as well as bends like in Lesson 3. Again you should be able to come up with your own combination of licks by
looking back at the Thirds Diagram. This is an example of fifths. They are made of two notes that are 5
tones away from each other.
Rusty: In this example the way you play the two
will be the same. The root note is circled on the high E. I left the diminished voicing
out. Lick 8 use the fifths just described.
Notice how they have an oriental sound when played together like this.
You can play 3rd's with the root note on the 2nd string. Here is another example
of playing thirds with the root on the 2nd string. I use that over lick 9 and parts in
other licks as well. The last lick over the G# major is the same as lick
Rusty: It's any
easy lesson and one that you can get really creative with. The material I gave
you can cover a large area depending on your taste of music. The thirds are
commonly used in country and any type of ballad. The fifths can get you close to
some R&B. You have several places where you can add some chromatic
notes into the licks. That will lean more towards Blues and Rock. Also, these
examples work great on the acoustic. Good luck and have fun!