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.


The whole idea behind building this guitar was to make something that would sound both like a Stratocaster and like a Les Paul. Mark was getting tired of having to change guitars when playing live, so he simply wanted to get rid of that whole hassle.

[When we were playing] we were just getting into too many guitar changes, and you wanted to have something that I could just get a wider range of sounds from.

Mark Knopfler – Guitar Stories

This guitar was sort of a prototype that led to the final product which was the 1988 Pensa-Suhr Custom. Compared to that guitar, this prototype had a flat top and front-mounted humbucker. It also has only one knob, so that means that the EMG SPC gain boost wasn’t featured on the black Pensa-Suhr.


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