| dire straights | mark knopfler
Learn Guitar Online, Dire Straights - Three Tips For Creating The Mark Knopfler Sound
The unique guitar style of Mark Knopfler is an important part of
Dire Straights instantly recognizable sound.
Apart from his work with the group Dire Straights, Mark has
guested on works by other well-known artists such as Chet Atkins,
John Fogerty, Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton.
While Knopfler is known predominantly for his finger style guitar
playing, during recording sessions Mark uses a pick for the
rhythm guitar parts to give the guitar more definition.
Here are three tips to help create that famous Dire Straights
Tip 1: triads played on the 2nd,3rd and 4th strings.
A significant part of Mark's style revolves around triad playing.
Triads are simply three note chords, this very basic theoretical
concept can be found everywhere in keyboard study methods,
however it's hardly mentioned and certainly not developed to it's
full potential in mainstream guitar study material.
The concept is to stack the notes of a scale on top of each
other, much like a layer cake. By stacking the notes using the
interval of a third the diatonic scale in the key of C major
creates the following chords.
Chord 1 = C major (C-E-G), Chord 2 = D minor (D-F-A), chord 3 = E
minor (E-G-B), chord four = F major (F-A-C), chord 5 = G major
(G-B-D), chord 6 = A minor (A-C-E), chord 7 = B diminished (B-D-
F), chord eight is the same chord as chord one C major (C-E-G),
only one octave higher.
If we take these triads and play them on the 2nd,3rd and 4th
strings of the guitar you will immediately hear how Mark Knopfler
creates his clear guitar chord style. This triad style of chord
playing is so clear and defined because there is no note
duplication of notes in the chord.
To convert these triads to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th strings we will
need to invert the chords, this is simply a matter of placing the
lowest note in each chord at the top of the chord, in other words
we re-arrange the note sequence in the chord.
Playing the triads produced from the C major diatonic scale on
the 2nd,3rd & 4th would produce the following inversions: C major
(E-G-C), the "E" is played on the fourth string, "G" is played
third string open and the "C" is played on the second string.
Preceding to the D minor chord on the same string set we would
arrive at the following: D minor (F-A-D), "F" played on the
fourth string, "A" played on the third string and "D" played on
the second string.
Tip 2: Harmonic minor scale
Mark Knopfler favors the harmonic minor scale to produce
contrast and tension in his playing. The harmonic scale is simply
the natural minor scale with a sharpened 7th note.
Here is a quick way to get your head (and fingers) around this
C major = C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C
has a relative minor scale (the "A" natural minor scale) that
contains exactly the same notes only in a different order.
A natural minor = A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A
to create the "A" harmonic minor scale we only need to sharpen
the 7th note.
hence the "A" harmonic scale = A, B, C, D, E, F, G#, A
Tip 3: learn to recognize chord progressions
One of the most popular Dire Straights songs would have to be
"Sultans Of Swing" which is based on the same chord progression
No wonder people like this song, it is because we're comfortable
with the chord progression, there is something familiar about it.
The group Metallica use this same chord progression for their
song "Nothing Else Matters".
Here is the progression:
Dm/// | C/Bb/ | A7/// | A7/// ||
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