Mark Knopfler's Guitars and Gear

Published : - Author : Dan Kopilovic

Summary of Mark Knopfler’s gear

What guitar does Mark Knopfler play?

Mark Knopfler plays a Fender Stratocaster, or a Gibson Les Paul guitar most of the time. For example, on “Sultans of Swing”, Mark Knopfler played a 1961 Fender Stratocaster finished in a red color. And, for comparison, on “Brothers in Arms” Mark Knopfler played a 1983 Gibson Les Paul Standard – a guitar that was actually a reissue model of the legendary ’59 Les Paul.

Mark Knopfler's 1961 Fender Stratocaster guitar - the first Stratocaster he ever bought.
Mark Knopfler’s 1961 Fender Stratocaster guitar – the first Stratocaster he ever bought.

Since those early years, Mark’s guitar collection grew almost exponentially, and nowadays he plays a variety of different guitars. He still plays the original ’61 Stratocaster, but the ’83 Les Paul was replaced by a duo of true vintage Les Pauls. In recent years, he uses a pair of 1958 and a 1959 Les Pauls extensively,

In the past, Mark also used a number of Pensa and Pensa/Suhr guitars, the most notable of which was the Pensa/Suhr Custom, which Mark Knopfler played at Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday concert in June 1988.

As far as acoustic guitar, Mark usually plays his own signature models made by Martin – the Martin 000-40S and the Martin HD-40MK. He also loves playing his 1937 National Style “O”, a guitar that he most famously used to record “Romeo and Juliet”.

Mark Knopfler's National Style
Mark Knopfler’s National Style “O” resonator guitar, as seen on the cover of Brothers in Arms album.

Mark Knopfler’s Various Guitar Amps

Mark Knopfler used a variety of different amps throughout his career. He used a blonde Fender Vibrolux in the early days of Dire Straits, and on the first demo recordings of “Sultans of Swing”. From then on he moved on to a Music Man 212-HD 130 which he used for around 5 years starting in 1978, then onto Jim Kelley FACS amps, and Soldano SLO100s, which he used later on.

Does Mark Knopfler use any effects?

Yes, Mark uses effects occasionally. For instance, he uses an Ernie Ball Volume Pedal on “Brothers in Arms”, on those fills where the guitar almost sounds like a cello or a violin. He also used a CryBaby Wah pedal on “Money for Nothing” to achieve the unique sounds heard in the main riff.

Ernie Ball Volume Pedal - Mark Knopfler uses one of these almost always when playing
Ernie Ball Volume Pedal – Mark Knopfler uses one of these almost always when playing “Brothers in Arms” live.

What are Mark Knopfler’s strings?

In the early years, Mark Knopfler used the Dean Markley Custom Lights. (.009, 011, 015, 026, 036, 046). In more recent years, he’s been using the D’Addario EXL120s (9-42s).

Does Mark Knopfler use guitar picks at all?

Yes, but Mark mostly uses his fingers to play – he finger-picks. Very rarely he would use an actual pick, but it’s unknown whether he has a specific preference – whether he only uses a specific type of a pick.

This gear list is a result of years of research and constant updates. It's a hobby project with the goal to eventually have the most complete and thorough gear list on the web - but that is only achievable with your help!

GroundGuitar counts on your criticism and feedback. If you have any knowledge or notice any mistakes, be sure to let us know!

List of Guitars, Amps, Effects, and Accessories used by Mark Knopfler

Mark Knopfler's Electric Guitars

  • 1962 Hofner Super Solid

    Mark Knopfler’s 1962 Hofner Super Solid

    Mark’s father bought this guitar for him in 1964 for 50£ when Mark was just 15 years old. It was his first guitar, and at that time he couldn’t afford an amplifier so he played it through a family radio instead.

    It’s as close as you can get to a real Fender Stratocaster. I absolutely love this thing, even though it wasn’t the real object of desire. […] Just because it nowhere near a Strat, doesn’t alter the fact that you love it.

    Mark Knopfler – Gutiar Stories SkyArts1

    Mark’s Hofner was made in 1962, and it features a red finish, celluloid strip fretboard inlays, and two type 510 “Diamond Logo” pickups. Even though it’s been more than 50 years since Mark got this guitar, he still owns it and takes special care of it.

    1964
  • 1959 Gibson Les Paul Special

    Mark Knopfler’s 1959 Gibson Les Paul Special

    This is one of Mark’s earliest guitars, predating his red 1961 Stratocaster. It can be seen briefly in a photo presented during a documentary dubbed Guitar Stories, where Mark talks about six guitars that helped him define his sound.

    That photo dates to Dire Strait’s first gig, which they played on July 9, 1977, at a punk festival in Deptford (photo is also available here – July 9, 1977 – Dire Straits had Their First Ever Gig).

    According to Mark, he actually bought the guitar way back in 1971, so it was one of his main guitars for a pretty long time – at least up until late 1977. Also according to him, the guitar was repainted at some point.

    I used to play a Gibson Les Paul Special with a pick. My friend Steve Phillips and I painstakingly stripped it and got it back to its original cherry finish, and it was everything to me. I don’t know whether I slept with it, but it wasn’t far off! So that’s where Gibson started in my life, and that guitar will always have a special place in my heart.

    Guitar Legends: Mark Knopfler – The Guitarist with Inimitable Touch

    1971
  • 1961 Fender Stratocaster

    Mark Knopfler’s 1961 Fender Stratocaster

    Mark bought this Stratocaster was bought sometime prior to Dire Strait’s first album released in 1978. It was Mark’s first Fender Stratocaster, and the one he cherishes and plays to this day.

    According to Mark, this guitar was used on the entirety of Dire Strait’s debut album, which included the mega-hit Sultans of Swing. This is important to point out because sources vary online regarding which specific Stratocaster it was on Sultans – whether it was this one, or the maple ’62 Strat.

    But, it seems that from the way Mark talks about this guitar, and how he presented it in the Guitar Stories documentary, there’s no doubt it was the rosewood 1961 Strat.

    1977
  • 1962 Fender Stratocaster (Maple)

    Mark Knopfler’s 1962 Fender Stratocaster (Maple)

    This was Mark’s second Fender Stratocaster, acquired sometime in the mid to late 70s. It is believed that the guitar itself was made sometime in the early 60s and that it was actually a Japanese copy featuring a maple neck which wasn’t typical for that time period on American Stratocasters.

    Mark playing his '62 Stratocaster in the
    Mark playing his ’62 Stratocaster in the “Sultans of Swing” music video.

    This guitar has been a subject of many theorycrafting and people trying to figure out its origins. Ingo Raven at MK-guitar.com is probably the most on-point. He thinks that although some of the parts on the guitar might be Japanese, that’s not necessarily the case for the guitar as a whole. He notes that some parts seem to have been changed and gathered from different sources, hinting at a possible Part-caster. (Read the full story on mk-guitar.com)

    Mark’s maple Strat was taken apart in 1982 by John Suhr, who then noticed all these irregularities and replaced the original neck with a Schecter one-piece maple neck. Soon after that, perhaps because of finding out that his Strat wasn’t genuine, Mark stopped playing it altogether and moved on to Schecters and other guitars.

    1978
  • 1969 Fender Telecaster Thinline

    Mark Knopfler’s 1969 Fender Telecaster Thinline

    This guitar belonged to David Knopfler, but Mark used it himself occasionally as a slide guitar for “Water of Love”. This was of course in the early days, circa 1979.

    Mark playing the black Telecaster in 1979.
    Mark playing the black Telecaster in 1979.

    The guitar was apparently originally a Telecaster Thinline with body cavities and was later modified by Mark’s friend Steve Phillips. Steve somehow filled in the f-hole and painted the whole thing black. Aside from that, the guitar had two standard Telecaster single-coil pickups and a mahogany body.

    1978
  • 1980s Schecter Dream Machine (Red)

    Mark Knopfler’s 1980s Schecter Dream Machine (Red)

    This guitar was purchased sometime in the early 80s at Rudy Music Stop in New York among a couple of other Schecters. At the time Mark was looking for a guitar to replace his 1962 Stratocaster, and apparently, he was impressed with a Schecter guitar that his girlfriend owned at the time.

    Schecter’s are great because they feet well in hand. They are better designed and manufactured. The sound is not necessarily better than a Strat, but it has a lot size of pus. More, they are soft to the touch and you don’t cut yourself with the strings. the only drawback is that they are a bit heavier

    Mark Knopfler – French Magazine “BEST”, 1980

    Mark’s red Schecter was originally equipped with three black Schecter F500T pickups, but it seems that after a few months Mark had them replaced with Seymour Duncans with white plastic covers. There’s of course a possibility that he owned two different red Schecter at that time, one of which had the original black pickups – but that’s just pure speculation.

    The guitar also had one volume and only one tone knob, and it had separate toggle switches for each of the pickups – a big change coming from a Fender.

    1980
  • 1980s Schecter Dream Machine (Sunburst)

    Mark Knopfler’s 1980s Schecter Dream Machine (Sunburst)

    This was Mark’s second most used Schecter guitar during the 80s. There were actually two nearly identical sunburst Schecters, one of which was stolen in the early 80s, and the other one becoming its replacement.

    Mark with the sunburst Schecter Dream Machine in 1985.
    Mark with the sunburst Schecter Dream Machine in 1985.

    Both guitars were finished in sunburst and featured brass pickguard, one-piece maple neck, and three Schecter F500T pickups. The first Schecter which was stolen had dot inlays on the fretboard, and the jack socket was on the front of the body, while the second one had no inlays and the jack plate was on the side.

    Mark used the first Schecter on the Making Movies album in 1980 after which it was stolen, and he used the second one up until around 1986 next to his red Schecter just for the song “Tunnel of Love”.

    1980
  • 1960s Gibson SG Standard

    Mark Knopfler’s Gibson SG Standard

    Mark played this guitar occasionally during the Love Over Gold tour in 1982/83, and for the song “Two Young Lovers”.

    Not much is known about the guitar, unfortunately. It appears to be highly modified since it’s a SG Standard model with 3-pickups, which is not something you’ll find on factory models. You can find them nowadays, but this is most likely, based on the body shape, a vintage 60s model.

    1982
  • Erlewine Automatic Custom

    Mark Knopfler’s Erlewine Automatic Custom

    Mark used this guitar during the Brothers in Arms tour in 1985/86 on the song “Solid Rock”, and during Love Over Gold tour in 1982/83 on “Industrial Disease”.

    The Erlewine Automatic was made for me by Mark Erlewine in Austin. He supplies Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top with guitars, and mine is just a screamer. I call it ‘the Pig’.

    International Musician – Jan 1986

    As noted by Mark in the quote above, this is a custom guitar made by Mark Erlewine. Mark’s model in particular featured a red finish, a single humbucker pickup in the bridge position, and a fixed bridge. Unfortunately, there seems to be zero information out there about the specifics of the specs – the exact model of the pickups, the wood used for the body/neck, etc.

    1982
  • 1983 Gibson Les Paul '59 Reissue

    Mark Knopfler’s 1983 Gibson Les Paul ’59 Reissue

    Mark bought this guitar in the early 80s from Rudy Pensa and used it on the Brothers in Arms album. This is the guitar that can be heard on the studio recording of some of Dire Straits’ most iconic songs, such as “Money for Nothing” and “Brothers in Arms”.

    I could never afford to buy one from the “classic years,” so I got a reissue in the ’70s, and I recorded things like “Brothers In Arms” and “Money for Nothing” with that one, and I toured with it.

    Mark Knopfler for VintageGuitar.com

    There’s some confusion surrounding this guitar, about whether it’s the 70s or 80s Les Paul. Apparently, the serial number of the guitar is #90006, which would place the guitar among the first batch of ’59 Les Paul Flametop reissues made in 1983. So Mark was likely misquoted or made a mistake in saying he bought the guitar in the 70s since most clues point toward the 80s.

    Be that as it may, Mark’s BiA Les Paul was made during the Norlin era – which is often characterized by decreasing product quality. It features a one-piece mahogany body with a two-piece flamed maple top in cherry sunburst, nickel hardware, and most likely two Gibson “Shaw” humbuckers. The switch was allegedly modified so that the middle would connect the pickups out of phase.

    1984
  • 1982 Schecter Telecaster

    Mark Knopfler’s 1982 Schecter Telecaster

    Mark bought this guitar sometime in the early 80s and first used it on the Brothers in Arms album/tour. He used the guitar to play the song “Walk of Life” live on that tour, so it’s somewhat safe to guess that he used it in the studio as well.

    He still owns this guitar and plays it live occasionally, as could be seen on the 2008 Kill to Get Crimson tour, during which he used it to play “Cannibals”.

    Mark Knopfler playing a red Schecter Telecaster guitar in 2008.
    Mark with the guitar in 2008.
    1984
  • 1980s Steinberger GL2 Standard

    Mark Knopfler’s 1980s Steinberger GL2 Standard

    Mark played this guitar occasionally on the song “Money For Nothing” during the later part of the Brothers in Arms tour in 1986.

    Mark’s GL2 is finished in black and features one piece composite body/neck, EMG 60 humbucker in the bridge, and EMG 81 in the neck. This is also a hardtail model which pre-dates the famous “Trans-trem” models that Steinberger became famous for.

    That’s funny – I’ve just come back from holiday, and I took it with me and played it every day just so I could stay on top of things. It’s great to put it on your back or throw it into the luggage compartment of a plane. I used to use ‘em onstage; it’s a great guitar for touring. It’s strong as a truck.

    Mark Knopfler – Vintage Guitar Magazine, May 2001

    1985
  • 1985 Schecter Stratocaster (White)

    Mark Knopfler’s 1985 Schecter Stratocaster (White)

    Mark acquired this guitar sometime in 1985. It was put together by John Suhr who at the time worked at Rudy’s Music Stop in New York City doing mostly just guitar repairs.

    I met Mark Knopfler when he purchased a whole slew of Schecter and Fernandes guitar from Rudy pensa. Soon, however, we got to the point where we were building custom instruments for him. In fact the first full fledged custom guitar that I built from scratch is a white Schecter Stratocaster with a tortoise shell pickguard.

    The one I just made for him was a leftover Schecter that hand’t been fretted or shaped yet. I finishe the cut on it, copying a ’61 Fender Strat neck, only I made it fell a little bit nicer.

    John Suhr – original source of this interview is needed

    The guitar featured a white finish on a Schecter-made Stratocaster-style body, and a Schecter neck – shaped and styled after an original 1961 Fender Stratocaster neck. Suhr used Dunlop 6110 fret wire, but shaped the fretboard for a 10-inch radius when compared to a 7.25 on the original 61 Strat.

    He fitted the guitar with a tortoiseshell pickguard, and installed three Seymour Duncan Alnico Pro pickups, and used an original Fender vintage-style tremolo bridge. The headstock was also decorated with a Fender decal, which confused many people into thinking that this was an original Fender.

    1985
  • 1987 Pensa-Suhr Prototype

    Mark Knopfler’s 1987 Pensa-Suhr Prototype

    This guitar was among the Pensa-Suhr instruments made for Mark. He was first seen using it during the studio session of “Let it be” with the Ferry Aid ensemble group, brought together in 1987.

    Later on, Mark used this guitar as a guest guitarist on Eric Clapton’s 1987 tour, with Vic and Ray in 1996, and on a 1999 tour with Notting Hillbillies.

    Mark with a black Pensa-Suhr guitar on the cover of Guitar World magazine, November 1987.
    Mark with the guitar on the cover of Guitar World magazine, November 1987.
    1987
  • 1988 Pensa-Suhr Custom

    Mark Knopfler’s 1988 Pensa-Suhr Custom

    In 1987 Mark met with Rudy Pensa at a small coffee shop called “Prince’s” in New York. The two discussed a possible project – a guitar that would be a sort of crossover between a Stratocaster and a Les Paul. They agreed on the details, and drew the first sketch of this guitar on a napkin they found on the table.

    The guitar was finished sometime in early 1988, and it was completely built by John Suhr who worked at Pensa music shop at the time. This particular model was supposedly something that John worked out prior to Rudy and Mark ever meeting, and the guitar was only modified to fit Mark’s needs and wishes following the input Rudy took from Mark during the infamous meeting at a coffee shop.

    Mark playing the Pensa-Suhr Custom at the Nelson Mandela's 70th birthday concert played in June 1988
    Mark playing the Pensa-Suhr Custom at Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday concert played in June 1988
    1988
  • 1953 Gibson Super 400 CES

    Mark Knopfler’s 1953 Gibson Super 400 CES

    Mark used this guitar on the songs “Fade to Black” and “On Every Street” from the 1991 album, and occasionally live on “Your Latest Trick”.

    Yeah, I used a pick for [On Every Street]. I played an old [Gibson] Super 400 with Alnico pickups through a [Fender] Vibrolux with the tremolo on. That’s genre. You’ve got to love all that crap, haven’t you? [Laughs]

    Mark Knopfler, Guitar Player, June ’92

    1990
  • 1954 Fender Stratocaster

    Mark Knopfler’s 1954 Fender Stratocaster

    Mark got this guitar from Paul Kennerly (an English singer-songwriter, and producer) sometime in the mid-90s. The interesting thing about this particular guitar is that it’s supposedly the 59th Stratocaster ever made, based on its serial number #059.

    Mark used the guitar on “I’m The Fool” from the 1996 album Golden Heart, “The Fish and the Bird” from Kill To Get Crimson, and ”I Used to Could” from Privateering.

    Mark usually keeps heavier strings on it – probably D’Addario .012s, and he most often uses an actual pick when he plays this particular guitar.

    1995
  • 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard

    Mark Knopfler’s 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard

    Mark purchased this guitar sometime in the mid-90s. It was the first vintage Les Paul that he ever bought, and it quickly replaced the 80s reissue that he used during the recording of the Brothers in Arms album.

    My ’58’s kind of a yellowish top, and I really like that – a pale burst. I’m not a big fan of all this over-glossy tiger-stripe thing.

    ​GUITAR LEGENDS: MARK KNOPFLER – THE GUITARIST WITH INIMITABLE TOUCH

    Mark playing his ’58 Gibson Les Paul. Notice the orange path to the left of the toggle switch – it’s an easy way to recognize this guitar. Photo taken from An Evening With Mark Knopfler filmed in 2009
    1996
  • 1990s Pensa MK-2 Custom

    Mark Knopfler’s Pensa MK-2

    This is the second version of the MK model produced by Pensa. Mark received the first prototype sometime prior to the recording of the Golden Heart album in 1996. A different guitar followed after this one in the late 90s and was a more finished version of the final product.

    This first prototype guitar was produced by Rudy Pensa (John Suhr parted ways with Pensa in 1991, so he was not involved in making this guitar). It featured a mahogany back with a flamed koa top finished in a dark shade of orange, and three single-coil pickups – allegedly custom-made by Lindy Fralin. Mark used the guitar during the Golden Heart tour in 1996 on “Father and Son” and on “Golden Heart”.

    The second prototype featured an almost identical design and was finished in 1996. Although it did look almost identical to the first model, it did feature a maple top when compared to the koa on the first one, three Seymour Duncan Antiquity single-coil pickups, and a thicker neck with a bigger fretboard radius.

    1996
  • 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard

    Mark Knopfler’s 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard

    This is Mark’s second vintage Gibson Les Paul guitar. Although considered by many to be the more desirable of the two, Mark actually uses his ’58 Les Paul more often than this one. It’s not clear when exactly he bought this guitar, but presumably, it was around the same time as his other Les Paul – so mid to late 90s.

    Mark playing his 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard on
    Mark playing his 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard on “Song for Sonny Liston” during An Evening with Mark Knopfler concert in 2009.

    The guitar features a lot less faded finish when compared to his 58 Les Paul, so the two can easily be easily distinguished if you know where to look.

    Basically, all of the late 50s Les Pauls originally featured similar cherry red sunburst finish, but due to the use of ultra-violet sensitive dye on some of them, lots of those guitars lost their original red accents mostly due to exposure to the sun. Mark’s ’59 Les Paul got to keep most of that original red finish, while his ’58 is almost completely free from it – except for that small patch of red around the toggle switch.

    1996
  • 1954 Fender Telecaster

    Mark Knopfler’s 1954 Fender Telecaster

    This guitar is allegedly one of Mark’s favorites. He started using it in the early 90s with Notting Hillbillies and still plays it occasionally nowadays.

    Mark playing the 1954 Fender Telecaster on
    Mark playing the 1954 Fender Telecaster on “A Night In Summer Long Ago” April 1996.

    Mark’s Telecaster features a one-piece maple neck, an ash body with a Butterscotch Blonde finish, and two original Fender single-coil pickups. Apart from that, not much is known about the guitar.

    1996
  • 1959 Gibson ES-335TDN

    Mark Knopfler’s 1959 Gibson ES-335TDN

    This guitar was featured in the booklet of the 2000 album Sailing to Philadelphia. It was also seen on some photos taken at Mark’s studio, but coupled with another almost identical ES-335 – presumably also from the late 50s.

    Mark Knopfler with the Gibson ES-335TDN.
    Mark Knopfler with the Gibson ES-335TDN.

    Mark’s Gibson ES-335 is finished in blonde and features an ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic bridge and two Gibson PAF pickups.

    1999
  • 1963 Danelectro DC-1

    Mark Knopfler’s 1963 Danelectro DC-1

    Mark used this guitar on “Miss You Blue” from the 2012 album Privateering, and on “Donegan’s Gone” from the 2004 album Shangri-La.

    I’ve also been enjoying a Danelectro 59 DC, which I used for the slide part on “Miss You Blues.”

    Mark Knopfler – Straitforward – Vintage Guitar

    Mark Knopfler playing his 1963 Danelectro DC-1 guitar.
    Mark playing his 1963 Danelectro DC-1 guitar.
    2004
  • Silvertone 1452 Hornet

    Mark Knopfler’s Silvertone 1452 Hornet

    Mark used this guitar extensively on the 2004 album “Shangri-La”, both in the studio and on the live tour. It can be heard on songs such as “Boom Like That”, “Stand Up Guy”, and “Don’t Crash the Ambulance”.

    Mark Knopfler playing his Silvertone 1452 Hornet in 2004.
    Mark playing his Silvertone 1452 Hornet in 2004.

    The guitar features a red sunburst finish, two single-coil pickups, and a tremolo bridge. This model was made by Danelectro and sold under the Silvertone brand. The initial concept was to sell the guitar bundled with a case that has an amp built into it – therefore offering an all-in-one solution. It was produced from 1962 to 1968, and it was recently re-introduced in 2008 in modified form as the “Dano ’63”.

    2004
  • 1957 Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins

    Mark Knopfler’s 1957 Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins

    Mark was seen playing this guitar a few times on “Red Staggerwing” live. Also, based on the photos that are floating around the internet, he has at least a few of these guitars in his studio, so it seems that it’s a model that he particularly likes.

    Also, in an interview with Vintage Guitar magazine in 2014, he basically confirmed that he enjoys playing the guitar, or at least he did at that time.

    It’s usually a toss-up between the ’54 [Stratocaster] and the Gretsch 6120 from ’57. I like those for just playing notes with a pick and holding the whammy bar in my hand and getting the vibrato from my picking motion. Believe it or not, those early Gretsch pickups have a very similar sound.

    Mark Knopfler – Straitforward – Vintage Guitar

    Mark playing one of his Gretsch 6120 guitars.
    2006
  • Pensa MK-90

    Mark Knopfler’s Pensa MK-90

    This is one of Mark’s more recent guitars. It’s basically a modified version of the Pensa MK model with a blue finish, and P-90 style pickups (therefore the MK-90 name). Mark was seen with the guitar in the Guitar Stories documentary, and he used it occasionally live during the Privateering tour on “Kingdom of Gold”.

    Mark Knoplfer playing a blue Pensa MK-90 guitar.
    Mark with the guitar in 2013.

    Based on the official specs posted on the Pensa website, the guitar features a chambered swamp ash body, maple neck with rosewood fretboard, Gotoh locking tuners, and two Lind Fralin P-90 pickups.

    2011

Mark Knopfler's Acoustic Guitars

  • National Tricone

    Mark Knopfler’s 1920s National Tricone

    Mark bought this guitar sometime in the late 60s on Exchange and Mart in Wales. It was his first resonator guitar.

    The first National that I got – I saw it in Exchange and Mart, and it was in Wales. I didn’t have any money, I didn’t have a car. So, I borrowed the car, I borrowed the money, and I drove to Wales in a pouring rain and got this guitar from an old orchestral musician.

    Mark Knopfler – Guitar Stories

    He played this guitar before Dire Straits with Steve Phillips, in The Duolian String Pickers band. At some point, Steve sold him his National Style “O”, and for the most part, Mark moved onto that guitar.

    1969
  • 1937 National Style "O"

    Mark Knopfler’s 1937 National Style “O”

    Mark bought this guitar in 1978 from Steve Phillips, whom he met in 1969 working as a journalist for The Yorkshire Evening Post. Eventually, the two became close and started playing together in local pubs under a stage name “The Duolian String Pickers”.

    The guitar is best known for being featured on the cover of Dire Strait’s 1982 album Brothers in Arms. Most notably, he used it on the studio recording of “Telegraph Road” from the 1982 album Love over Gold, and on “Romeo and Juliet” from the 1980 album Making Movies.

    Brothers in Arms (1985)
    Brothers in Arms (1985)

    As can be seen in the above photo, Mark retrofitted this guitar with an L.R. Baggs transducer.

    1978
  • Gibson Chet Atkins CE

    Mark Knopfler’s Gibson Chet Atkins CE

    Mark played this guitar occasionally live in the 80s. It was seen on the Love over Gold tour, during which he used it on “Private Investigations” and “Love over Gold”. On the Brothers in Arms tour, it was also used on “Your Latest Trick”.

    One of my favorite guitars is the Gibson Chet Atkins solidbody classical, which has been on a lot of sessions since I got it. It’s a beautifully made thing. I use it onstage, too, because you can get really loud with the thing. The action is low, so it tries to get the best of both worlds.

    By and large, I think it succeeds. It’s a lot of fun to play. I used it on the Bryan Ferry sessions, some sessions with Phil Everly, and on the film scores I just did.

    Guitar Player, July ’79 Mark Knopfler

    Mark playing a Gibson Chet Atkins CE in 1986.
    Mark playing a Gibson Chet Atkins CE in 1986.
    1983
  • 1935 Martin D-18

    Mark Knopfler’s 1935 Martin D-18

    This is one of Mark’s favorite acoustic guitars, at least according to an interview he gave with VintageGuitar. The guitar was a present from Paul Kennerly.

    The guitar I’ve been playing more than any other over the past few years is a D-18 Martin from 1935. It was a present from a friend and there’s just something about it; it has a lot of character – very slatey, kind of dry, but a beautiful sound.

    Mark Knopfler – VintageGuitar

    Unfortunately, it’s unknown when exactly Mark got the guitar, and to which extent he used it in the studio. From the VintageGuitar interview, it’s apparent that he used it extensively on Privateering, so we know that much at least.

    1991
  • 1938 Gibson Advanced Jumbo

    Mark Knopfler’s 1938 Gibson Advanced Jumbo

    Mark used this guitar on “Speedway at Nazareth” and “Wanderlust” from the 2000 album Sailing to Philadelphia, and on “Before Gas and TV” and “Remembrance Day” from the 2009 album Get Lucky.

    Mark’s guitar is one of only 300 hundred Advanced Jumbos ever made before they were replaced with the now better-known Gibson J-200 Super Jumbo. The guitar features Sitka spruce top, and Brazilian rosewood back and sides.

    2000
  • Martin HD-40MK

    Mark Knopfler’s Martin HD-40MK

    This is the first Mark Knopfler signature Martin, made for a short period of time in 2002. A total of around 250 guitars were made.

    The guitar featured an Alpine Spruce top, Indian Rosewood back and sides, Mahogany neck, and Ebony fingerboard 42-style Snowflake inlays and Mark’s signature between the 19th and 20th frets.

    Mark used this guitar for the recording of the entirety of The Ragpicker’s Dream album in 2002.

    2001
  • Martin 000-40S "Ragpicker's Dream"

    Mark Knopfler’s Martin 000-40S “Ragpicker’s Dream”

    This is the second Mark Knopfler signature line from Martin. Only 155 of these guitars were made in the original production run in 2006. The guitar was named after Mark Knopfler’s 2002 solo album, Ragpicker’s Dream.

    Mark used the guitar occasionally on stage on “Privateering” and “Monteleone”. It’s unknown whether he used it in the studio at all.

    Mark playing the Martin 000-40S guitar in 2015.
    Mark playing the Martin 000-40S guitar in 2015.

    The guitar featured a solid Italian Alpine spruce top, solid East Indian rosewood back and sides, and a “select hardwood” neck with solid black Ebony. The guitar features the same 42-style fretboard inlays as Mark’s first Signature Martine, and Mark’s hand signature between the 19th and 20th frets.

    2006
  • 2008 Monteleone Isabella

    Mark Knopfler’s 2008 Monteleone Isabella

    This Monteleone was made for Mark by John Monteleone, a guitar builder from New York. Mark used it for recording “Monteleone” on the Get Lucky album. He often referred to this guitar as one of the most beautiful guitars he ever held in his hands.

    There are characters, the real people you see, and you write about them. I met John Monteleone and it was like meeting Stradivari – I’m sure. He’s like Leonardo da Vinci in a way.

    I was lucky enought to get to visit his workshop, and he said about building me a guitar whcih is an archtop guitar with “F” holes like a violin. When he was making it for me he’d send me little emails with little images of what he was making, the bridge or something, and he’d sign off with things like “the shisels are calling” you know, “it’s time to make sawdust”.

    Mark Knopfler – Monteleone (An Evening With Mark Knopfler, 2009)

    The guitar is named after Mark’s eldest daughter Isabella. It was also one of the guitars that Mark presented in the documentary Guitar Stories, which focused on the few guitars that are more precious to Mark.

    2008

Mark Knopfler's Amps

  • Selmer Thunderbird Twin 30

    Mark Knopfler’s Selmer Thunderbird Twin 30

    Mark used this amp in the early, with one of his early bands called the Cafe Racers. The Thunderbird is just a small combo amp that was cheap back in those days, and one that many people purchased as their first amp back in those days.

    We just played pubs in London. I was using my Hofner and Gibson, and I bad a 30-watt Selmer Thunderbird amplifier. It had a little green light that stared out at you like an eye.

    Guitar Player, July ’79 Mark Knopfler

    1968
  • Fender Vibrolux

    Mark Knopfler’s Fender Vibrolux

    Mark Knopfler used a Fender Vibrolux amp in the very early days of Dire Straits. It was his main live amp for the early concerts and possibly, he used it to record some of the songs of the band’s debut album – including “Sultans of Swing”. Unfortunately, there’s no definite proof that he used this amp or any other specific amp for that matter.

    1977
  • Music Man 212-HD 130

    Mark Knopfler’s Music Man 212-HD 130

    Mark used this amp from around 1978 and up until the end of the Making Movies tour in the early 80s. he used the amp both in the studio and live, but it’s unknown whether he used it at all on Communiqué.

    I try different amps here and there, but at the moment, I’m using a Music Man with two 12″ speakers.

    Guitar Player, July ’79, Mark Knopfler

    1978
  • Mesa Boogie Mark IIB

    Mark Knopfler’s Mesa Boogie Mark IIB Amp

    Mark used this amp first on the Love Over Gold album, and then on Brother in Arms. It was one of his main amps from the early 80s to around 1986.

    He uses MESA/Boogie and Jim Kelley amplifiers played through Marshall 4-12″ cabinets loaded with Electro-Voice drivers.

    International Musician – Jan 1986

    1981
  • Marshall JTM45

    Mark Knopfler’s Marshall JTM45

    Mark used a Marshall JTM45 amp most notably during the recording of “Brothers in Arms” and “Money for Nothing”.

    (on Money for Nothing) I had my Marshall there, we turned it as far as it would go – we were going for a pretty heavy sound. I had a wah-wah pedal in it, just to give it something different. So we got the pedal and as soon as it was in it and set – that was the sound.

    Mark Knopfler – Guitar Stories

    However, information regarding which specific amp Mark used on “Money for Nothing” varies highly. Jim Kalley, for instance, sent us an email explaining that it was the Jim Kelley FACS amp that Mark used that day, and Neil Dorfsman, who was the producer on “Brothers in Arms” albums, claims that Mark used a Laney amp.

    I remember Mark’s Les Paul Junior going through a Laney amp, and that was the sound of ‘Money For Nothing’. We were actually going for a sort of ZZ Top sound, but what we ended up getting was kind of an accident.

    CLASSIC TRACKS: Dire Straits ‘Money For Nothing’

    1985
  • Jim Kelley FACS

    Mark Knopfler’s Jim Kelley FACS amp

    Mark Knopfler used these amps for the entirety of the Brothers in Arms tour.

    He uses MESA/Boogie and Jim Kelley amplifiers played through Marshall 4-12″ cabinets loaded with Electro-Voice drivers.

    International Musician – Jan 1986

    According to John Suhr who at the time worked at Rudy’s Music Stop in New York, and who also introduced Mark to Jim Kelley amps, the amp was also used on the intro for “Money for Nothing”..

    Dire Straits (Mark Knopfler and Jack Sonni) used Jim Kelley for the entire Brothers in Arms Tour. The guitar into on Money For Nothin’ was played through a Jim Kelley amplifier according to John Suhr, who provided the gear from Rudys Music Stop. The tour amps were white FACS heads. They can be seen on stage in footage from a show at Wembley. Thanks.

    Jim Kalley via email

    1985

Mark Knopfler's Effects

  • Dan Armstrong Orange Squeezer

    Mark Knopfler’s Dan Armstrong Orange Squeezer

    Mark allegedly used this compressor on the first album for “Sultans of Swing”, although the compression might’ve been added after the fact – during the mixing process.

    1977
  • MXR Analog Delay

    Mark Knopfler’s MXR Analog Delay

    Mark used this delay effect on the song “Down to the Water Line”, from the Dire Straits debut album released in 1978.

    Also, I use a Morley volume pedal, which I like because it’s so dependable, and an MXR analog delay, the little green box: I used it on the beginning of “Down To The Water Line” [Dire Straits].

    Guitar Player, July ’79 – Mark Knopfler

    1978
  • Morley Volume Pedal

    Mark Knopfler’s Morley Volume Pedal

    Mark used this volume pedal in the early days, from the point Dire Straits started playing together. It’s possible that he used it on “Brothers and Arms” (the song) as well, but at some point, he switched to an Ernie Ball Volume Pedal. Unfortunately, it’s unknown when exactly this switch happened.

    Also, I use a Morley volume pedal, which I like because it’s so dependable, and an MXR analog delay, the little green box: I used it on the beginning of “Down To The Water Line” [Dire Straits].

    Guitar Player, July ’79 – Mark Knopfler

    1978
  • Dunlop Cry Baby Wah

    Mark Knopfler’s Dunlop Cry Baby Wah

    Mark used this wah most notably in the “Money for Nothing” riff. He had the pedal in a fixed position, which gave him that unique sound.

    (on Money for Nothing) I had my Marshall there, we turned it as far as it would go – we were going for a pretty heavy sound. I had a wah-wah pedal in it, just to give it something different. So we got the pedal and as soon as it was in it and set – that was the sound.

    Mark Knopfler – Guitar Stories

    1984
  • Ernie Ball Volume Pedal

    Mark Knopfler’s Ernie Ball Volume Pedal

    At some point, probably around the late 80s, Mark switched from a Morley to an Ernie Ball volume pedal. He continues using the same model of a volume pedal to this day, and it can be heard on essentially every live performance of Brothers in Arms.

    Just a simple Ernie Ball pedal. It gives you more of a speaking voice, something that approximates a steel guitar. I always wanted that. I can’t sing, so the guitar becomes a voice in many ways.

    Guitar Player, June ’92 Mark Knopfler

    According to the research done by Ingo Raven, Mark uses vintage volume pedals, that had different pots and therefore properties than the modern volume pedals produced by Ernie Ball. Ingo even sells a kit that allows you to modify your volume pedal to behave like Mark’s.

    Mark using an Ernie Ball volume pedal on
    Mark using an Ernie Ball volume pedal on “Brothers in Arms’
    1989

Mark Knopfler's Strings

  • Dean Markley Custom Light

    Mark Knopfler’s Dean Markley Custom Light Guitar Strings

    According to an interview Mark Knopfler gave to Guitar Player magazine in July 1979. at that time he was using the Dean Markley Custom Light strings. These measured .009, .011, .015, .026, .036, and .046 from high E to low E.

    Also, these are exactly the same (in terms of gauges) as the Dean Markley 2554 Blue Steel set that Dean Markley sells nowadays.

    1978
  • D’Addario EXL110

    Mark Knopfler’s D’Addario EXL110 Guitar Strings

    On his most recent tours, Mark has been using the D’Addario EXL110s strings on his guitars, apart from one Strat, on which he uses the heavier EXL115 set.

    All electric guitars are strung with D’Addario XL110s, except for one Strat, which is strung with D’Addario XL115, and the Danelectro, which is strung with D’Addario EJ21.

    Glenn Saggers, Guitar Player magazin 2019 (interview removed for some reason)

    The D’Addario EXL110 features following gauges, .010, .013, .017, .026, .036, and .046.. The heavier, EXL115 set, which he uses on one of his Strats features .011, .014, .018, .028, .038, and .049.

    2000
  • D’Addario EJ21

    Mark Knopfler’s D’Addario EJ21 Guitar Strings

    Mark has been using these guitar strings on his Danelectro 59 DC during the Down the Road Wherever tour in 2019. He keeps the Danelectro tuned to open C, and uses it for slide.

    All electric guitars are strung with D’Addario XL110s, except for one Strat, which is strung with D’Addario XL115, and the Danelectro, which is strung with D’Addario EJ21.

    Glenn Saggers, Guitar Player magazin 2019 (interview removed for some reason)

    2019