Mark Knopfler’s Guitars and Gear
Bio: Mark Freuder Knopfler was born on 12 August 1949 in Glasgow, Scotland to an English mother and Hungarian Jewish father. Mark’s first guitar was a £50 twin-pick-up Höfner Super Solid.During the 1960s, he formed and joined schoolboy bands and listened to singers like Elvis Presley and guitarists Chet Atkins, Scotty Moore, B.B King, Django Reinhardt, Hank Marvin, and James Burton.
He formed Dire Straits in 1977 together with his brothers David Knopfler, and friends John Illsley, and Pick Withers. In 1977, Dire Straits recorded a five-song demo tape which included their future hit single, “Sultans of Swing”, as well as “Water of Love”, “Down to the Waterline”, “Wild West End” and David Knopfler’s “Sacred Loving”.
As a member of Dire Straits, and as a solo artist, Mark sold over 120 million records worldwide, and has won 4 Grammy Awards. He is ranked 27th on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.
Mark Knopfler’s Electric Guitars:
1962 Hofner Super Solid
Mark’s father bought this guitar for Mark in 1964 for 50£ when he was just 15 years old. It was his first guitar, and at that time he couldn’t afford an amplifier but played through a family radio instead.
This guitar still remains a part of his collection.
1961 Fender Stratocaster
The Stratocaster he used to recording the Dire Straits album in 1978. It originally had natural wood finish, but Mark had it repainted red to replicate his childhood dream-guitar – Hank Marvin’s red Stratocaster.
This is also one of his favorite guitars, and he still uses it occasionally. The serial number is 68354.
1962 Fender Stratocaster
Seen in almost all early live concerts, this was Mark’s main guitar at that time.
It had a laminated maple fingerboard, a white pickguard, and the volume knob was replaced with a black one, and even removed completely on a few occasions.
In 1982 the original neck was replaced with a Schecter one-piece maple neck.
Mark does not have this guitar anymore.
1954 Fender Stratocaster
|His third Strat. the “Jurassic Strat” as he calls it. Mark uses really heavy strings on this guitar, probably to replicate the sound of Hank Marvin, one of his early idols which got him to play a Strat.|
1984 Gibson Les Paul ’59 Reissue
|Mark used this guitar on the recording of “Brothers in Arms” album in 1985. The guitar apparently had the Peter Green mod, which means that the neck pickup was flipped 180 degrees.|
1958 Gibson Les Paul
Purchased sometime in the mid 90s. It is completely stock, except for the frets which were replaced with ’59-style bigger ones. “I’m not a fan of skinny little frets. So that combination – fat neck, big frets – to me is killer. ” M.K.
Here’s Marks’s opinion on Les Pauls from an interview posted on Gibson’s website: “I’d wanted a Les Paul really badly since I was a kid, but I’m afraid it was always out of the price range. I knew about Strats since I was very small, but I got more aware of the Les Paul through becoming a blues fan in my early teens. “
1959 Gibson Les Paul
|So called “Holy Grail” Les Paul. Mark bought this guitar in 1995 or 1996, and used it on tours as a back-up guitar for his ’58.|
Schecter Dream Machine Red
Mark’s main guitar on stage and in studio from early to late 80s. This guitar had three Seymour Duncan pickups instead the original Schecter F500Ts, volume and tone knob, and on/off switch for each of the pickups.
Mark also had another red Schecter which he kept as a backup.
For those of you who want to hear it here’s a video from 1983 featuring this guitar: Alchemy Live – Local Hero Going Home.
Schecter Dream Machine Sunburst
Mark used this Schecter to record “Tunnel of Love” on the Making Movies album. It had the same setup as his red Schecter, but Mark kept the original Schecter F500T pickups on this one.
The guitar was stolen sometime in 1980, and Mark had it replaced with similar Schecter which he used up until 1986. This guitar ended up being sold on an auction and all the profits were donated to Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Centre in Antigua.
1959 Gibson ES-335
|This seems to be one of his favorite guitars as he said in one of the interviews: “I have a very nice ’59 Les Paul too, which is very similar to the ’58, and a couple of other 335s, but there’s just something about my ’58 Les Paul and ’59 335. “|
1980s Pensa MK-1
Mark was looking for something that would sound like Strat and like a Gibson as well. He met with the Rudy Pensa in a small coffee shop called “Prince’s” in New York, and drew a first sketch of this guitar on a napkin.
Mark used several different models of Pensa guitars, including the black Pensa-Suhr, Pensa-Suhr R – Custom and a 2005 Pensa MK2 Plus.
1960s Gibson SG Custom
Played during the “Love Over Gold” tour in 1982/83, and on the studio recording of the song “Two Young Lovers”. It is also possible that he used the guitar on some other songs from the ExtendedancEPlay EP.
The model appears to be from early 60s, featuring white body finish, black “bat-wing” pickguard, and three pickups.
Steinberger GL2 Standard
|Quite unusual model. Mark played “Money For Nothing” on it during the Brothers in Arms Tour.|
1954 Fender Telecaster
This guitar is one of the Mark’s favorites. Serial number 4545, this Telecaster features one piece maple neck, ash body with Butterscotch Blonde finish, 2 chrome knobs, 3 position toggle switch, 3 paired adjustable bridge saddles and is strung with .010 strings.
Mark used this guitar on “A Night In Summer Long Ago” (1996), “Boom Like That” (2004), “Border Reiver” and “So Far From The Clyde” (2009).
1969 Fender Telecaster Thinline
|Used for slide work on “Water of Love” in the early days. The F hole on this guitar was filled in, and repainted black, so the guitar looked like a solid body.|
1957 Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins Hollowbody
|This guitar was used on 5:15 am, Back to Tupelo, Summer of Love, The Fizzy and the Still, Punish the Monkey, In The Sky and Hard Shoulder.|
Mark Knopfler’s Acoustic Guitars:
1938 National Style O
|Legendary guitar from the “Brothers In Arms” album cover. Mark bought it from Steve Phillips. This National (serial number B1844) is a ‘1937 model and was made in 1938.|
|Martin guitars makes a custom model 000-40S Mark Knopfler. It has a solid Italian alpine spruce top and mahogany body. Mark uses it himself.|
|Another custom model from Martin with D-14 style mahagony body.|
1938 Gibson Advanced Jumbo
|Mark used this guitar on “Before Gas & TV” and “Remembrance Day”. It was built sometime between 1937 and 1939.|
1953 Gibson Southern Jumbo
|This guitar was used by Richard Bennett on Don’t Crash the Ambulance, Donegan’s Gone, The Trawlerman’s Song, Border Reiver, Hard Shoulder, Cleaning My Gun.|
2008 Monteleone Custom
|This Monteleone was made for Mark by John Monteleone, guitar builder from New York. Mark used it for recording “Monteleone” on the “Get Lucky” album. He often referred this guitar as one of the most beautiful guitars he ever held in his hands.
The guitar is named after Mark’s eldest daughter Isabella.
Mark Knopfler’s Guitar Amps:
- Crate VC5212
- Crate 2×12 cabinet
- Fender Concert
- Fender Vibrolux
Used on Sultans of Swing.
- Fender Twin Reverb
- Jim Kelley combo
- Jim Kelley heads
- Marshall JTM45
Used on Brothers in Arms and Money for Nothing.
- Marshall 4×12 cabinet
- Mesa Boogie heads
- Music Man HD 130
- Soldano SLO 100
- Reinhardt amp heads
- Roland Jazz Chorus
- Tone King Imperial
- Vox AC30
Mark Knopfler’s Guitar Effects:
- Alesis Quadraverb
- Boss BF-2 Flanger
- Boss CE-2 Chorus
- Boss CE-300 Chorus
- Boss CS-2 Compressor
- Boss DM-2 Delay
- Boss OC-2 Octaver
- Boss PH-2 Phaser
- DeltaLab Digital Delay
- Dunlop Cry Baby
Mark used it on Money for Nothing, having it in a fixed position
- Ibanez UE 303 Multi Effect
- Lexicon MX300 Reverb
- Master Room Reverb
- Mic-Mix Dyna-Flanger
- MXR Analog Delay
- MXR Micro Amp
- Roland Graphic Equalizer
- Roland SRE 555 Chorus/Echo
- Yamaha REV 5
- Zoom Multieffect 9010
Mark Knopfler’s Guitar Strings:
- D’Addario EXL 120 9-42
- Dean Markley Custom Light Acoustic
- D’Addario EJ15/3D (on the National Style O)