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Mark Knopfler signature strat sound

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Frans, Apr 13, 2018.

  1. Frans

    Frans Strat-Talk Member

    16
    Oct 14, 2015
    The Netherlands
    since two years I have this beautiful mk sign. strat and it plays very nice, light to carry but there's one thing bugging me, the sound...

    It has the Texas special pickups like it should but the sound is a bit 'nasal'.

    I also have a '50's classic player and I've put texas specials in that one and it sounds really nice, clear and truly like a single coil strat, this is what I'm missing in the Mark Knopfler strat.

    Also my 2004 50th anniv. strat has the right single coil, shadows like sound

    What does create the difference and what can I do about that ?

    Running 10-46 strings on all of them btw.
     

  2. Guy Named Sue

    Guy Named Sue Beer me up Scotty Strat-Talk Supporter

    Feb 11, 2015
    Sweden
    Same height on the pickups on the guitars?
     

  3. Black Strat Guy

    Black Strat Guy Strat-Talker

    139
    Mar 27, 2018
    Somewhere
    That's maybe just down to the differences between the guitars, mainly the woods, and eventually the hardware if it's at all different between the two.

    Every strat is different, no matter how everything on it is the same and set up the same. One pickup may sound amazing on a strat, and just OK on another no matter what you do.
    You can try and mess with the pickup heights, or even try other caps on the tone knobs. Either than that you just have to mess with EQ, either on the amp or pedals.
     

  4. Frans

    Frans Strat-Talk Member

    16
    Oct 14, 2015
    The Netherlands
    Yes, I played with pickup height but since this is a new instrument (bought it from a guy that kept it unplayed and unopened under his bed since 2008) I'm reluctant to lift the pickguard and put a solder iron to it, maybe try another set and mark of strings maybe.
    It does sound like Mark's guitar in sultans of swing with the selectorswitch between neck and middle pup
    though ;-)
     

  5. Black Strat Guy

    Black Strat Guy Strat-Talker

    139
    Mar 27, 2018
    Somewhere
    IMO, if you like the guitar but are trying to achieve the sound you have in your head with it, the fact that it's a new guitar or used guitar is irrelevant.
    Don't be overwhelmed just because it's a MK signature guitar, it's just a (great) strat, if you are not fully satisfied with the sound, and are handy in taking things apart and messing around and know how to solder, by all means try and change what you must in order to get it to sound and feel like you want it to, if you where unable to get there with the adjustment's you can make without changing anything.

    That's how i look at any of my strat's, regardless if new or used, regardless of what they costed, and regardless of any hypothetical "resale" value.

    If that worries you however, more than getting it to sound and play like you want it to, than just don't mess with it.
     

  6. ProSonicLive

    ProSonicLive Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    34
    Sep 4, 2016
    Texas
    The MK sig uses Tx specials? thats weird. seems counter intuitive.
    in any case, the two guitars have different bridges, ( different mass?)
    Both guitars have different tuners (different mass?)
    The 50s has a "synthetic bone" nut Not sure about the MK
    The 50's has a modern neck radius, which does not follow the Texas special stagger. The MK has a 7.25 that does. I would try using a wound 3rd string.
    You may like the outcome of the TS specials with a modern radius, but keep in mind it can alter the tone for better or worse.
     

  7. Frans

    Frans Strat-Talk Member

    16
    Oct 14, 2015
    The Netherlands
    AFAIK the 50s strat also does have a 7.25 radius only way smaller frets than the mk, the bridges are the same a well....
    20180413_120143_resized.jpg
     

  8. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    57
    Apr 21, 2010
    London, UK
    Texas Specials are controversial. They provoke string views. They are the Marmite of Strat pickups. Some people love them, some people hate them, few people are on the fence about them. I briefly liked them (when I was playing live) for more overdriven stuff, but I didn't much like them for clean sounds. Eventually I decided there were other, more vintage style, pickups that suited me better (Duncan SSL-1s, for example), so I removed them & sold them.

    If they don't suit you or the style of music you play, replace them with something more to your taste. They do seem like a strange choice for a Knopfler Signature Strat. I wonder whether Fender put pressure on the artists to specify pickups that Fender believe will be more popular in the mass market. As another example, the equally hot Tex-Mex pickups seem like an odd choice for the Jimmie Vaughan Strat. Luckily it's easy to change pickups.
     

  9. Black Strat Guy

    Black Strat Guy Strat-Talker

    139
    Mar 27, 2018
    Somewhere
    If your 50's is a MIM and has 7.25 radius and vintage frets then it's not a 50's Classic Player like you've said, it's a Classic Series 50's.
    The Classic Player has 9.5 radius and medium jumbo frets.

    And the bridge on the MIM's is not even close to being the same as the MK's, unless you changed it to a similar one.
    Not only the metal aloy is different for both the bridge plate and the sadles, but the MIM's have a zinc block, and the MK has a steel block.

    Nope, in this case it's not. It's a well known fact MK used the Texas Specials (or equivalent) on his early strat's, has been said in interviews decades ago, i remember reading about it in the 90's.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018

  10. Fretmeltkid

    Fretmeltkid Strat-Talker

    Age:
    56
    109
    Feb 10, 2018
    United Kingdom
    this is what mine sounds like....................pretty close to the man to my ears but open to others thoughts

     
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  11. Fuzzpop

    Fuzzpop Ryan-Ola Silver Member

    Age:
    36
    Aug 14, 2012
    Washington, D.C.
    The Texas Specials weren't introduced until the late 80s as far as I know, so I'm not sure how he used them early on. Maybe I'm misunderstanding you.
     
    stratman323 likes this.

  12. Pluckeverystring

    Pluckeverystring Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    26
    56
    Feb 13, 2018
    Toronto
    Pretty sure a lot of dire straits album tones are other guitars surprisingly. There’s a fantastic documentary by the bassist taking mark around London and USA talking about his different guitars, it’s on YouTube
     
    owenmoney likes this.

  13. Black Strat Guy

    Black Strat Guy Strat-Talker

    139
    Mar 27, 2018
    Somewhere
    I just remember those pickups being mentioned on several interviews at least since the 90's regarding his strat, whether he changed to them back then when they where introduced, or his originals have the same specs as them so they would refer to them as Texas Specials i don't know...
    In either case, what was used for the signature series i'm sure it wasn't just a "marketing decision" from Fender.


    FWIW i've listen to MK play Sultans on his 61, 62, Red Schecter, Burst Schecter, Pensa-Shur, Sig Strat, and it always sounds like him ;)



    :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018
    jjlemon, crawdaddy and Fuzzpop like this.

  14. Yves

    Yves Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 2, 2016
    London
    Are you 100% sure to have a set of TS pups in your MK Strat?

    I would lift the PG to take a peek.
     

  15. Synapse2k

    Synapse2k Strat-O-Master

    562
    Nov 13, 2015
    USA
    It’s a setup issue. I can guarantee you that. You need to painstakingly adjust the pickup height individually a drop at a time until you get a good sound out of them. Remember that no two pickups are 100% identical so simply reproducing the same setup from standard specs or another guitar won’t work.
     
    Guy Named Sue likes this.

  16. Fuzzpop

    Fuzzpop Ryan-Ola Silver Member

    Age:
    36
    Aug 14, 2012
    Washington, D.C.
    Thanks for that info!
     

  17. rhum66

    rhum66 Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    51
    68
    Nov 28, 2011
    France
    i have a MK since 2005, all stock, i have never changed the PU's for "commercial reasons" (keep it all stock for the day i would sold it...).
    I totally agree with you; TS are not the right PU's for the Mark knopfler signature sounds; Fender 57/62 would have done the job far better for example...

    On the MK strat, it gives a harshness on the middle position and mostly on the bridge pickup, playing clean in a blackface.

    BUT, the neck pickup is marvellous and awesome (one of the best neck pickup sounds on all strat have ever met...) and the two interpositions are great.
    the bridge and middle are totally the MK transparent bells tones.
    The neck and middle reminds me a lot the eric Clapton sounds during is slowhand album.

    Eventually, i find myself playing, most of the time, on those three marvellous positions.
    those three positions are so good that i have forget all my project about changing that TS set.

    note that one of the best keep secret for the MK sounds is the di-Marzio FS-1 (fat strat one...1978) on neck position, which delivers typical hot but clean sounds like "single handed sailor" or "lady writer".
    I have never understand why Fender didn't respect that specs., on the signature models (knowing that they did it for the gilmour strat with the SSL-5 on bridge...).
    it was a real choice coming from Mark... especially because he put it on the neck instead of the bridge as it is made for.
    They finally put the Texas spécial neck pup instead, which is one of the most powerful pickup for neck on the market to get closer to that killer fat strat one by Di-Marzio.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018

  18. crawdaddy

    crawdaddy Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 11, 2010
    Valley o Sun
    Thanks for posting the video....now....can I get you to write me note for my boss to explain why I'll be late getting to work???? ;);)

    That was a great video....MK seems like a really cool guy, one you could just and have a beer with....and though he is so out there and up front with his guitar playing, he seems like he is a very shy and humble man...

    thank you very much...
     

  19. Black Strat Guy

    Black Strat Guy Strat-Talker

    139
    Mar 27, 2018
    Somewhere
    Ahah... i know that feeling mate... ;)
    No prob, who shall i address the note to...? :p

    Yep he's a really cool and layed back guy.
    Still waiting for the new album that was supposed to be finished in Mach though... o_O still no news of it... guess it's a bit delayed