this song has been out of my reach since I started playing guitar. Once I started analysing it, it's more astounding than I first thought. Amazing how many different ways MK plays the basic 3 chord progression (4 really but F and Dm are very similar chords).

Anyone else see this kind of thing in their studies?
I learned it when it first came out on a classical guitar with nylon strings. Still hard to play 30 years later on a good electric...loads of chords, finger picked, fast...not an easy song to master. He uses chords and leads together, chorded melodic runs, leads and fills, and sings at the same time...while finger picking it all...tremendous guitar player...

To get the sound, use a standard SSS strat in the 1st out of phase setting, bridge and middle pickups, through a clean amp. I think I read a while back he was using either a Twin Reverb or Vibrolux at that time. My Squier strat and Super Reverb will almost duplicate his sound on that song. Keep it clean as possible.

It takes a lot of time and practice, to pick that song you have to be very accurate, since it's really clean. Any mistakes, you will hear it...Take your time, work out one section at a time, it will come together but it takes a while. I taught a friend who wanted to learn it, took him most of a year. With a good guitar...That's the way we did it, a little at a time. IN several cases I Had to really slow it down a lot and show him exactly which notes to play, he would go home and work on that section then add it to what he already knew, and speed it up gradually. I was finally able to play rhythm one day and let him take all the leads and fills, COOL...

Almost forgot...be sure and work out the rhythm part first and remember the chord change for the 2nd lead. The first lead is Dmin, C, Bb, A. The 2nd lead is Dmin, Bb, C.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
Last edited by Paleo Pete at Jun 22, 2015,
One of the performances ever both rhythmically and solo wise. Paleo Pete obviously has it together on this and he's right in saying this is one song that will take a long time to get right. Every time I started to learn this song I give up after getting about 1/3 of it down. The tone is awesome and as clean as anything I ever heard. I saw a band a few years ago in a club playing this song and while I thought the band was pretty good they rocked my opinion when they played this song. The rhythm and vocals were good but the lead guitar player tried to play the lead not-for-note with quite a bit of distortion. It was a disaster.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
there are some you tubes of MK and co doing the song...the way he plays while singing is quite amazing..crisp clean and tasty runs and chords..there is also a vid of him playing with chet atkins...well worth a look..
play well

What's amazing to me, about this tune, is how much guitar work there is besides the two guitar solos. A fair amount of it, in the rhythm part and the fills before the solo, is how he makes use of the inversions of the riffs themselves. My goal for this song is not to learn it note for note as clean as the original, but it seems to be headed that way. I like a little grit on the tone too much to be MK clean. It's all about the phrasing and the structure really. I have been practicing it at 50% tempo. It's coming along nicely.

When I wrote my original post, I forgot about that A to A7 in the verse. So, 5 chords. He uses 3 for 90% of the chart.
I think you'll find any dirty in the sound won't do it justice, this is one that has to be clean as possible. I love a dirty sound, but I clean it up as much as I possibly can for this song.

And yeah the guitar is doing a whole lot the entire song. I think it was his brother doing the rhythm part, and did a great job of it, Mark did all the rest. I've seen a few live clips too, it's amazing to watch Knopfler play all that and sing too...I Have a really hard time with it and don't get some of the fills right, and in a couple of cases do my own fills, but I do the leads almost note for note. The only part I can't get is the last really fast repeating run, a tendon injury from 40 years ago limits my left hand a lot, I can't get that hammer on the way he does. Otherwise I try to get it note for note and clean as I can get it. What I usually do is try to use the overdrive as a clean boost, which helps bring out the finger picking better, but I make sure it adds no dirty at all.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
Dire Straits doing this song at the Live Aid was incredible. It was still the original band and the video of that performance is excellent. I agree that "ultra" clean is the thing to shoot for. It's a large part of what makes this whole thing so great. It's one of the purest guitar tones I have ever heard and for me it's that tone that puts Mark's solo front and center and makes it so different. Personally I am a crunchy, overdrive kind of player but that song needs to be clean or you lose part of it's essence. Good luck, you picked a great one.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.