Fun & Challenging Lick In The Style Of Mark Knopfler

Learn to play a fun and challenging lick in the style of Mark Knopfler. This lick is from The Sultans Of Swing by Dire Straits. Guitar Control instructor Darrin Goodman, aka Uncle D, has you covered on this one with step by step video instruction and free included tabs. So grab your guitar and your favorite drink and kick your technique in the butt with this killer Mark Knopfler lick.

mark knopfler lick


How’s it going everybody? This is Darrin with bringing this video lesson and today I want to teach you how to play a lick from The Sultans of Swing. It’s Mark Knopfler lick and a really cool recognizable arpeggio lick. So be sure to click on the link in the description for the tabs and let’s get close up and take a look at this.

Mark Knopfler Lick – Fretting Hand

All right, so to start off, let’s look at the sequence that you’re doing with your left hand. You’re going to take your first finger and you’re just going to barre it at the 10th fret across the B and the high E strings. And then you’re going to take your pinky, and you could use your third finger I guess, but I think it’s easier just use my pinky and I’m going to put it that on the 13th fret. So the sequences is gonna be 13 pull to 10 on the high E string and then it’s going to be the 10 on the B string back to 10 on the high E string…

So it’s a group of four and its 16th notes; so it’s like one e and uh… So you have a whole measure of that and then what we’re gonna do now is that the note on the B string is going to go up a half step, so just use your second finger. So now you’re going to pick 13 pulled a 10 on the high E to the 11th fret on the B string back to the tenth fret on the high E string… You have a whole measure of that same timing; one e and uh, two e and uh and then you’re going to take that shape and you’re going to move it up. So now its 15 pull to 12 and then your middle finger gonna be here on the 13th fret of the B string… And then the whole thing just repeats as far as what we’re doing with this hand; not too tough, but it’s what he does with the picking hand…

So you could play this with a guitar pick. So you’re going to pick, pull, but it doesn’t quite sound right and I also think it’s like really hard to play it this way; at least is for me. Because if I start with a down stroke, if I go down, pull, up, down, now I’ve got another downstroke if I want to alternate pick it. Or if I want to keep that same sequence if I alternate pick it down, pull, up, down, up, pull, down, up… that’s kind of awkward too.

So I want to show you how to do it like how Mark Knopfler does it. He just plays with his fingers.

Free Killer Practice Routine

So right now, Guitar Control is giving away this really awesome daily practice routine to improve your lead guitar chops. This was put together by our very own Silvio Gazquez, a two-time Guitar Idle finalist. This routine covers the four main concepts that are necessary for lead guitar; alternate picking, legato, sweep picking and tapping. All the tabs and exercises are all included in this free ebook and there’s a link in the description where you can get yours.

Mark Knopfler Lick – Picking Hand

So how I’m going to do this is I’m going to play the notes on the high E string with my first and my second finger and then the note on the B string I’ll be playing with my thumb. So if I come back up into this first position here I’m going to use my middle finger to pluck the high E on the 13th fret to pull to 10 and then I’m going to use my thumb to play the B string and then my first finger to play 10 on the high E; so it’s second, pull, thumb, first… I think it that sounds a lot better. That’s a pretty tricky technique and I’m not really super great at and I cannot play it up to tempo that way, but I think it’s just a very cool lick and kind of a unique sound. Even if it isn’t a thing that you are going to play with your with your fingers, this is really good for working on your skills of hybrid picking. So playing this particular thing with hybrid picking I believe is for me is really, really hard because now I’m gonna use my middle finger to pluck, pull and then my guitar pick to play the B string and then my middle finger to pluck again… That seems really awkward as well, so I personally believe this is kind of the easiest way to do it.

So to work with this to build up your speed what I’d recommend you do is just work on really breaking it down. You want the notes even so you could count it as just one, two, three, four. Practice it with a metronome until you get smoother at it…

Mark Knopfler Lick

So the whole sequence, starting here in our first position. 10th fret, 13th, so one e and uh, two e and uh, three e and a, four e and uh. Now we’re gonna move that note up on the B string to the 11th fret, so I’m gonna use my middle finger… So on that last one there, he does the 13 pull to ten, back up to 10. Now when it goes to 13 this time, the last one 13 to pull… it’s almost like a muted note… so I’m not sure if that was something that he did on purpose, but it really fits good and sounds really good. So that’s our first two measures.

Now we’re going to move up so we’re basically moving that whole shape up a whole step.

So that’s going to put me on the 13th fret of the B string, 12th fret of the high E and then the 15th fret of the high E string… Now this one has two measures; so one e and uh, two e and a, three e and a, four E and A, one E and A, two e and a, three e

and uh, four e and uh. So at the very last one comes back to the tenth fret; ten on the B string and then ten on the high E string and then the whole thing would just repeat. That last part there is hard. I catch myself like completely skipping out on that part. It’s just kind of a strange transition… So we just practice this separately… pick, pull, scoot down, ten, ten…

Okay, so another thing you want to look out for when you’re playing this is that if you’re playing with a really clean tone it’s not going to be as noticeable and this is played with a clean tone. But just for this type of playing sometimes I’m just working on these strings I don’t want these strings making noise. So I’m actually just resting this part of the palm of my hand here, the ball of my thumb. I just have it resting there in a spot so these strings are muted, but I have access to these higher ones…


All right, so there you have it, little lead guitar lick in the style of Mark Knopfler. So if you like this lesson be sure to give me a thumbs up and leave a comment down below if you have any questions about this or other guitar related topics. If you’ve not already done so please subscribe the channel and hit that notification bell so you don’t miss any of the content we upload throughout the week. Well that is all I have for you today. Thanks for watching and have a great day.