Essential Licks - Mark Knopfler

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When speaking of feeling and subtlety, Mark Knopfler is the top, being one of the most sensitive and expressive musicians ever heard. His licks are sometimes dramatic, sometimes parodical, sometimes venturous and always imaginative and perfectly motivated in the context of the song.

Knopfler uses his right-hand ring and little fingers to form a strong fixed anchor and the angle of the right wrist causes the thumb to touch the string with the left side only.

Here are two licks from Dire Straits' first album. The song is Down To the Waterline:

Down To the Waterline

The MIDI File

Hammer-ons and pull-offs from Love Over Gold:

Love Over Gold

The MIDI File

And another series of hammer-ons and pull-offs from Sultans Of Swing:

Sultans Of Swing

The MIDI File

In a more complex context from Lady Writer:

Lady Writer

The MIDI File

Bends also bring more feeling to the licks. From Sultans Of Swing:

Sultans Of Swing 2

The MIDI File

From Sultans Of Swing again, a short series of sixths:

Sultans Of Swing 3

The MIDI file

Another Knopfler trademark is his fast triads that he plays with the thumb, index and middle finger of his right hand. From Once Upon A Time In the West:

Once Upon A Time

The MIDI File

Knopfler is known for his striking breaks like this one from Calling Elvis:

Calling Elvis

The MIDI File

And another break from Tunnel Of Love:

TunnelOfLove

The MIDI File

We'll take a look now at some repetitive licks on two strings. First, this one from Telegraph Road:

Telegraph Road

The MIDI File

And from Tunnel Of Love:

Tunnel Of Love

The MIDI File

And the famous triads from Sultans Of Swing. Once again, look carefully at the right-hand fingering :

Sultans Of Swing 4

The MIDI File

Knopfler is a master of the chordal soloing in the tradition of American Country and early Rock'n'Roll Music. From Twisting By the Pool:

Twisting By the Pool

The MIDI File

It's interesting to see (and, most of all, to hear) how Knopfler follows the chord sequence in his solos. Here is Private Investigations:

Private Investigations

The MIDI File

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