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Mark Knopfler signature strat sound

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

  1. inra311

    inra311 Strat-Talker

    281
    Oct 12, 2008
    Europe
    Mark got the Signature Strat about 2003 so he can't have talked about it in the 90ies ;)

    And he never talked about the TS pickups in any interview in the 90ies either.


    Yes, it always sounds great due to his great playing but still all of these guitars sound different when he played Sultans or whatever on them (of course the effects and amps were also different here)



    Early on was the 70ies, 1977-79. When people wonder what kind of pickups he had in his Strats then they obviously do not realize that back then there were hardly any pickups available at all. Fender had ONE (!) model - called Stratocaster pickup ;) . DiMarzio offered high-output pickups for the Strat (in fact Mark had one of these in one of his guitars then), Schecter and Mighty Mite offered some different sounding pickups, and that is all there was. The first vintage replica pickup I remember was the Seymour Duncan SSL1 that was available here in Germany in the early 80ies,I think a bit earlier in the US. These were the pickups that Mark put in one of his red Schecters in 1981 by the way.

    The harsh sound that some people tend to attribute to the TS pickups in the MK sign Strat is more likely a result of the other hardware. It is all rather trebly (ash body, steel block, nitro finish, Indian rswd,..)

    The MK sign Strat is not a copy of his old red Strats (the one with the rosewood fingerboard has an alder body, not ash, and no TS pickups of course). I guess Fender offered some choices, like ash or alder body, 57/62 or TS pickups, this or that, and Mark tried out and compared options and decided on this or that, what sounds and looks nice to him, and what seems to be a cool guitar he would give his name for, and would play on stage himself.
     

  2. lonegroover

    lonegroover Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    58
    Mar 5, 2016
    England
    The maple fingerboard will make a big difference.
     

  3. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    58
    Apr 21, 2010
    London, UK
    You believe that both Indian rosewood & a nitro finish make the guitar trebly? o_O
     

  4. Black Strat Guy

    Black Strat Guy Strat-Talker

    261
    Mar 27, 2018
    Somewhere
    I was obviously talking about his original 60's strats, not the signature.
    And i only remember that i read it on an interview in the 90's, probably early 2000's can't remember, or where, or if was actually himself that stated it. That's why the Texas Specials stuck in my mind as MK type pickup's early on...

    Anyway, i'm pretty sure you are far more knowledgeable on Mark's guitars than me... ;)
    My area of expertises on artist strat's/guitars is more Gilmour (and Brian May) oriented... :p
     

  5. Fuzzpop

    Fuzzpop Ryan-Ola Silver Member

    Age:
    36
    Aug 14, 2012
    Washington, D.C.
    Opinions on this will vary.
     

  6. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Squier-A-Holic Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    42
    Apr 19, 2014
    Windsor, Ontario, Canada
    So you think....until you realize that Dire Straits first album was recorded using a rosewood fretboard neck....an original 60s Fender Strat....he changed to an aftermarket neck soon after.....
     
    Fuzzpop and Paperback Rocker like this.

  7. Paperback Rocker

    Paperback Rocker Nitro-mancer Strat-Talk Supporter

    Sep 18, 2014
    Victoria TX
    Harshness of Specials is due to mids, not trebleys.
     

  8. Bazz Jass

    Bazz Jass Chairman of the Fingerboard Strat-Talk Supporter

    Nov 19, 2014
    Up a lazy river
    I had a Knopfler strat for a while - never really bonded with that one. Tried a whole bunch of pickups - Bare Knuckle Apaches, Texas Specials, 57/62 reissues, Duncan Antiquity 1 and 2 series. To my ear, and on that guitar, ranked as follows:

    Antiquity 2
    Antiquity 1
    Bare Knuckles
    Texas Specials
    57/62s

    Ended up selling it. I've had strats that sounded fantastic with any pickups in them. I really had to fight hard to get tones I liked out of the Knopfler.

    But as others are saying - no two guitars a re alike!
     
    Seymour Duncan and Fuzzpop like this.

  9. inra311

    inra311 Strat-Talker

    281
    Oct 12, 2008
    Europe
    No, he got the maple neck Strat at least two month before they recorded the first album. I am sure it was used extensively on that album
     
    lonegroover likes this.

  10. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Squier-A-Holic Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    42
    Apr 19, 2014
    Windsor, Ontario, Canada
    Sorry....that's incorrect

    He got the guitar in summer 1977, a Strat from 1961....serial 68354

    The one you're thinking of his his red '62 Strat with the 2 piece maple neck, with no skunk stripe...aftermarket neck or Japanese copy....
     

  11. inra311

    inra311 Strat-Talker

    281
    Oct 12, 2008
    Europe
    Please read what I wrote: he got the maple neck Strat in late 1977, before the first album (which was recorded in February 1978). You are right, the 1961 rosewood Strat he got before, it was his first Strat.

    So when they recorded the first album, he had two Strats and very likely both were used on the album. Probably the maple neck more than the 1961, as it was his favourite on stage both before and after the first album.
     

  12. lonegroover

    lonegroover Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    58
    Mar 5, 2016
    England
    Makes more sense. The guitars on that album certainly sound predominantly like a maple neck Strat.
     

  13. Frans

    Frans Strat-Talk Member

    19
    Oct 14, 2015
    The Netherlands
    Funny to see how these discussions derail all the time into a complete different topic :)

    You are totally right, I mix those 50's species together all the time, yes, it is the mexican one I have, the TS-pups I put in were a great upgrade, this axe is the cheapest of the bunch but sounds and plays excellent.

    I see that there is no real consensus about wich pickups to put in the MK, it's all personal taste and how you play it what makes the difference, haven't put much hours on the MK yet, maybe it's best we get to know eachother a little better before making changes,

    thank you all for your 2 cents ;-)
     

  14. owenmoney

    owenmoney Strat-Talker

    239
    Jun 21, 2013
    I always get a kick out of guitar players trying to cop someone’s sound that was created when they were an unknown. Short answer, Knopflers strat was probably an off the shelf standard model. His sound is mostly in his hands. He sounds like that no matter what he plays !
     
    Black Strat Guy likes this.

  15. Pluckeverystring

    Pluckeverystring Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    26
    56
    Feb 13, 2018
    Toronto
    Also Marky jumpered the inputs of his 2 channel marshal for at least the sultans tone. That makes a big difference to tone.
     

  16. Laganlad

    Laganlad New Member!

    5
    Mar 16, 2018
    Colorado
    There's a dude on the Bare Knuckle Forum called Stephan who does the best Knopfler style demos on YouTube who has a knopfler sig strat and Bare Knuckle Sultans. Alnico 2's. I think his username on YT is 11111 maybe one more or less 1's.
    Worth checking out
     

  17. wickdawg

    wickdawg Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    38
    15
    Feb 10, 2016
    los angeles
    Quite true. I was surprised to hear him playing Sultans on a Pensa-Suhr with EMG active pickups and it still sounded like him. If the Sultans sound is the only Knopfler sound you seek, there's no one exact way to achieve it. He has other sounds as well. Money for Nothing for instance, he said you need a Les Paul, a cranked Marshall and a cocked wah. He has many different sounds, played through many different guitars, but all are achieved mainly by his unique picking style and technique. It is so unique to him that getting his sound exactly is near impossible.
     

  18. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    58
    Apr 21, 2010
    London, UK
    And these same basic words could also be applied to so many other iconic players - Clapton, Gilmour, SRV, etc. etc.
     

  19. Black Strat Guy

    Black Strat Guy Strat-Talker

    261
    Mar 27, 2018
    Somewhere
    +1

    I think people tend to get to obsess too much with a specific recording's tone down to the minutia, usually the studio album, well... not only just the tone, but i don't want to open "that" can of worms... :rolleyes:

    What they tend to forget is all the signal path that start's in the guitarist's fingers and ends on the master tape, and after that all the multitude of post production and EQ that goes into the final version that ends up on the official release studio album.
    So "that" tone is really not the "real" exact sultans tone just as it came out of his amp speaker in the studio that day.

    Of course that every time he plays the song live, even with the same guitar and gear will always sound a bit different. MK himself can't "copy" exactly his tone as it came out on the album, only get into that "ballpark". Even further proof of that is the Money for nothing tone ;)
     

  20. LRS!

    LRS! Strat-Talker

    Age:
    45
    486
    Aug 27, 2014
    The Netherlands
    Hello Frans,
    Fellow Dutch guy here... if you happen to live in the area of The Hague, you ‘re welcome to check a US Strat with Pure Vintage ‘59s pickups to see if those may be your cup of tea. Lower output than TX Specials, can be crystal clear with a low gain amp. Much more polite, less nasal than the middy TX Specials.
    Cheers,
    Chris
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018