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

Based on the looks, the guitar featured a double-cutaway mahogany body finished in cherry red and two P-90 pickups. Based on earlier photos, it also had a Bigsby tremolo installed on it, probably before Mark repainted the guitar.


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