Great guitarists often make their mark by taking what came before them and making it their own. They put a stamp on the music they play. Mark Knopfler is unquestionably one such guitarist.
Mark Knopfler is most famous for his work in the British rock band Dire Straits as well as his solo work. His playing style, characterized chiefly by his unique fingerpicking, has made him a true guitar hero. His work as part of Dire Straits, on “Sultans of Swing,” “Money for Nothing” and “Romeo and Juliet” especially, showcase his signature technique.
Knopfler’s style is characterized by his riff and lead playing, in which he uses his picking hand to pluck barre chords with his first, second and third finger without a pick. He also mixes this technique with palm mutes for more dynamics.
Knopfler also uses what we call a passing chord between the two chords he’s playing. He only plays the passing chord for a quick second, most likely playing it with a hammer-on. This can work as a rhythm or as part of a solo.
Even though it often looks and sounds simple, imitating Knopfler’s style is easier said than done. Luckily for you, Guitar Tricks has an entire lesson on how to play in the style of Mark Knopfler. Be sure to watch the video below to learn all about it.
The guitarist also incorporates the use of the thumb to hit bass notes that help accentuate the rhythm. Each pluck is quick and feels like a chord stab. You can take this technique and apply it to any chord.