Simply put, this professionally shot video—which was posted to YouTube about 4 years ago—shows three guitar masters at work. It’s an incredible and purely instrumental performance of Dire Straits’ “Sultans of Swing” by Tommy Emmanuel (right), John Jorgenson (standing) and Pedro Javier González.
They’re backed by Roger Blavia on percussion and Toni Terré on bass.The clip was directed by Maurizio Ongaro. As (hopefully) you all know by now, Emmanuel, the Australian acoustic master, has been gracing the pages of Guitar World lately with his “Emmanuel Dexterity” lesson column.
Jorgenson is best known for his work with Chris Hillman’s Desert Rose Band and, of course, the Hellecasters. He has played with everyone from the Byrds to Bob Dylan, Bob Seger, Johnny Cash, the Monkees’ Michael Nesmith and Bonnie Raitt.
Pedro Javier González is a Spanish flamenco, jazz and classical guitarist, composer and producer. He has crossed paths with a wide range of artists, from B.B. King to Paco de Lucia—which is worth noting, since this performance captures something of the vibe of Friday Night in San Francisco, a well-known live album by De Lucia, Al Di Meola and John McLaughlin.
“ ‘Sultans of Swing’ was originally written on a National Steel guitar in an open tuning, though I never performed it that way,” Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler told a few years ago. “I thought it was dull, but as soon as I bought my first Strat in 1977, the whole thing changed, though the lyrics remained the same. It just came alive as soon as I played it on that ’61 Strat which remained my main guitar for many years and was basically the only thing I played on the first album and the new chord changes just presented themselves and fell into place.
“It’s really a good example of how the music you make is shaped by what you play it on, and is a lesson for young players. If you feel that you’re not getting enough out of a song, change the instrument—go from an acoustic to an electric or vice versa, or try an open tuning. Do something to shake it up.”