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the "Money for Nothing" guitar sound? "a happy accident" (SOS excerpt) Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 16th August 2009
  #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azirkin View Post

For those trying to replicate the "Money or Nothing" sound, there was an interview with Ron Eve in Guitar Player years ago in which Eve went through Mark's live "Money for Nothing" setup (including the numbers at which the amp dials were set). I know the Soldano had a lot to do with it.

If I can track it down, I'll post it.

-a
You can maybe replicate the amp settings, but the off-beat mic' ing is what gives it the distinct sound.
They even are on the record saying that they couldn't duplicate the sound later themselves.
THEY had the same gear and extensive notes and maps from the original AIR Monserat sessions.

One very distinct thing about the technique on MFN is the fact that he is using his fingers and not a pick.
I would also bet that there is degree of compression before the amp because the sound of his fingers is quite distinct.
I say this because I play with my fingers (mostly) and use a MXR Dynacomp before an amp on clean tones and get a quite similar effect.
It might just be the amp set at a high level and it is natural compression, but the amp doesn't sound extremely overdriven.

It DEFINITELY has the sound of P90s finger picked.
Old 16th August 2009
  #62
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For sure. I don't mean to suggest for a moment that you could replicate the sound on the record. As you point out, even if you had the equipment, there was too much "chance" to it.

That said, for those who want to play the song and try to get the tone as best they can, at least there's a description out there of what Mark was using live around the time of the the Brothers in Arms recording.

But yes, you'll never get it right. You may never get it close. I wasn't trying to suggest otherwise, and apologize if I was misunderstood.
Old 16th August 2009
  #63
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strings's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dixiechicken4414 View Post
Anyone who's not convinced of MK guitar talent should listen the second part of "Telegraph Road" and the last 2 minutes of "It never rains" from LOVE OVER GOLD.
And what abut Alan Clark amazing piano and synth parts all along this record ...
+1

MK has always been a favorite of mine...as a guitar player, songwriter, and vocalist...yes I said vocalist. I only wish I had a voice like that.
I think Mark not using a pick (among other things) is what makes his playing so distinctive.

I've seen him 3 times, and prefer his earlier work (up to and including "Brothers in Arms"). Both studio and live versions of "Tunnel of Love", "Sultans of Swing", "Romeo and Juliet" and "Once Upon a Time in the West" are brilliant!! Live version of "Brothers in Arms" and too many to name are also outstanding!! I prefer the "Alchemy" LP to other live versions.

Is that a volume pedal being used in the live version of "Brothers in Arms"?

Nice to read that "Alchemy" is going to be done over!

"Wild West End" for some reason used to be my hangover song to listen to
Old 16th August 2009
  #64
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"Alchemy" on DVD ?

Never heard of it.

Do you guys have some informations about that ?
Old 16th August 2009
  #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azirkin View Post
For sure. I don't mean to suggest for a moment that you could replicate the sound on the record. As you point out, even if you had the equipment, there was too much "chance" to it.

That said, for those who want to play the song and try to get the tone as best they can, at least there's a description out there of what Mark was using live around the time of the the Brothers in Arms recording.

But yes, you'll never get it right. You may never get it close. I wasn't trying to suggest otherwise, and apologize if I was misunderstood.
It's cool.

You know.... that sound is sort of an outgrowth of older C&W chicken pickin' stuff but with a more modern twist.
I know that sounds obvious, but without trying to emulate Mark Knopfler's sound I end up getting a very similar sound.
I mostly play an older '62 Strat re-issue with ancient Van Zandts, an MXR DynaComp, maybe a distortion pedal depending on what I am going for and a tube amp.
I really like old, '50's west coast country bop a la Jimmy Bryant and if you modernize that stuff you end up in close to Mark Knopfler territory quite easily.
(Well, maybe "quite easily" isn't the best term to use, but relatively speaking.)
Old 4th September 2009
  #66
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I recently picked up 'Sailing to Philadelphia' after reading about it here! Love the record, but it does start out a little weak, builds through the first 3 or 4 cuts, and keeps getting better from there. Some amazing songs on this record.

I've been a DS fan for years and 'Making Movies' is one of my favorite records, top 10 for sure. I haven't heard anybody mention the percussion on those great Dire Strait albums. Simply fantastic. As great as Mark's guitar playing is, the music wouldn't be so dynamic without that fabulous drumming. And top notch production.
Old 4th September 2009
  #67
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vernier's Avatar
Money for nothin' sounds exactly like a . .

Zoom 9002
Old 17th February 2011
  #68
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I've a few comments to add to this thread.

First off, I am a knopfler fan. He is one of my favorite players. I cant say I agree with the comments of others, about using the same riffs in every song. This is simply not true, and Mark would have come under huge criticism in the media if it were.

On the contrary, his back catalgue is very diverse. listen to sultans, romeo and juliet, money for nothing, lover over gold, calling elvis. The difference in influence, themes and playing is stark.

I can agree the in terms of sound, MKs playing is very recognisable, especially the hot clean sound that dominates earlier and live work. In this respect he might be seen as repetative, but in the same respect so could a LOT of players (one word.. clapton).

Neil Dorfsman's account is very interesting. But I must have read 2 or 3 witness accounts of how the MFN guitar sound was acheieved. None are consistnent. Based on what I've read, the guitar is either an LP (with/without a phase switch engaged), LP studio, LP Junior or the Pensa-Suhr guitar. The amp is either a marshall, laney, soldano or selmer.

One thing I will say though is that nothing on this earth will make me believe that there is a half cocked wah wah pedal on the original recording. If there is, its very lightly mixed in. I accept that playing live MK used a racked dunlop circuit (i.e. during the "on every street tour"). Also I realise that there is a later live recording where you can hear him rocking the wah pedal whilst noodling before the intro. However, these sound VERY different to the original record. The wah sound is too radical and sounds like an imitation of the original, but I suppose it is the closest MK can get live.

FWIW my opion is that the guitar used was the 50s LP. Watch the "Live in London" DVD. He doesnt play MFN, but plays other songs with that guitar and it has that exact raw, raspy, violin quality. My guess for the amp would be a marshall or soldano. Prob a marshall. The rest is mic placement, MK and his fingers.

I dont think the guitar is too important. Ever see that french and saunders sketch where MK plays the riff using his Candy Apple schetcher strat?? Sounds bang on to me. I've got very good results using a mild distortion, a good reverb and a short delay. For guitar I prefer my Telecaster on the bridge - I've got quite a high output bridge pickup which sounds pretty good with 70% approx of the tone rolled off.

What is PARAMOUNT for the sound of this riff is simply knowing how to play it in the first instance. I think this contributes HIGHLY to how the riff sounds overall. 90% of times I hear the riff being played in covers, it is played WRONG. The thumb and 1st/2nd fingers should almost be constantly alternating picking throughout the riff - IMHO a lot of people miss vital "bass" notes on the D string, concentrating on the G and B strings. Not picking properly also causes most people diffculty on the run down to the open G interval.

Theres a youtube vid where MK kinda explains this and plays the riff to demonstrate. At one point he mutes the strings and just picks to give an indication of the pattern. It sounds like a metronome!!! F**king clockwork!! This kinda staccato timing is a extremely vital important part of the sound. Sloppy timing wont cut it. I havent perfected it yet, but I've recorded several takes of myself playing the riff on nylon strung guitar; once or twice I've been really excited cause I've hit the MOJO!

RyUK
Old 30th October 2018
  #69
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abstractExpress's Avatar
Regardless of the guitar sound, that song has earned a very unique and special spot in the pantheon of rock n roll songs firstly because of the 2 fat guys in the video complaining about about some "pretty boy" they see in a music video. One of the guy's response to seeing that is, "that little faggot with the earring and the makeup" and what makes it golden is when the other pleb responds with, "hey buddy, that's his own hair". LOL!!! For these past-middle age guys none of that earring and makeup stuff mattered once it was understood, hey, dude still has his hair, nuff said!

The other reason this song will forever hold a special place in my heart is because of a certain Sopranos episode. Vito had finally accepted he was gay but he knew something like that might not go over so great with his fellow mafiosi. Anyway, he was caught "red handed" in a gay club (a couple of his fellow mafia colleagues ran protection for this club and were making their pick up when serendipity intervened and they bumped right into one another. Vito was decked out in the finest leather man garb for obese men that money can buy. But the song... someone took the main riff from that over-rated song, you know "I want my MTV" or whatever it's called, sped it up a bit and put a thumping techno beat under it. Just as Vito and the other 2 guys virtually bump into each other, the beat drops out which only makes the listener focus in on that nasal, quacky riff. As a guy who appreciates cinema I really appreciated how brilliantly that scene was put together.

Back to that riff... it wasn't actually recorded with a LP Standard? Well that's just hilarious because I've been a member of a Les Paul forum for maybe 15 years now and ever since I can remember, that riff was held up as the elusive quack that you can only get out of original PAF pickups or early Patent # models. FYI, those pups go for a minimum of $5k and that will only buy you one pup. What? You thought you could get a both the neck and bridge pickup for that price? Wouldn't that be nice!
Old 30th October 2018
  #70
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travisbrown's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by abstractExpress View Post

[...]
Back to that riff... it wasn't actually recorded with a LP Standard? Well that's just hilarious because I've been a member of a Les Paul forum for maybe 15 years now and ever since I can remember, that riff was held up as the elusive quack that you can only get out of original PAF pickups or early Patent # models. FYI, those pups go for a minimum of $5k and that will only buy you one pup. What? You thought you could get a both the neck and bridge pickup for that price? Wouldn't that be nice!

It was indeed recorded on an LP. There’s a documentary hosted by John Illsley on Knopfler recounting all the guitars throughout his career and the hits played on each.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanuk View Post
[...]


One thing I will say though is that nothing on this earth will make me believe that there is a half cocked wah wah pedal on the original recording. If there is, its very lightly mixed in.
Would you believe Knopfler himself?

MFN is about 22min in.

Old 30th October 2018
  #71
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I always thought MFN sounds more like Zappa than DS - The big drums, the guitar tone, the snarky lyrics (more spoken the sung) etc...

Weirdly, when I first heard Zappa's Camarillo Brillo I thought it sounded exactly like MK on guitar; and the piano roulades in the coda could be off a DS record. But it was recorded in '73! Strange musical coincidences!
Old 30th October 2018
  #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djwayne View Post
I bought a download of the song, Googled the guitar tab, did a little practicing
Tablature is the opium of guitar players. It's the reason I have a really hard time walking into Guitar Center. It creates really bad cookie cutter guitarist playing songs incorrectly. If I had a dollar for every piece of tab where people said it was 100% accurate I would be filthy rich. Tab should be banned!
Old 30th October 2018
  #73
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Thanks for the link Travis... that was fun!!
Old 30th October 2018
  #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alrod View Post
Tablature is the opium of guitar players. It's the reason I have a really hard time walking into Guitar Center. It creates really bad cookie cutter guitarist playing songs incorrectly. If I had a dollar for every piece of tab where people said it was 100% accurate I would be filthy rich. Tab should be banned!
To be fair, there have been some pretty terrible Fake Book standard notation errors/mistranscriptions in some of the various editions.

I don’t think the errors for tab or SN are the fault of the mode of transcription. I think the the many bad tab transcriptions out there are a result of its accessibility by junior players who maybe don’t quite have a handle on what they are playing in order to transcribe it. Same with lots of the YouTube “here’s how you play this!” videos. I don’t blame YouTube (for that at least).

Tab has its uses. When transcribing something for guitar in an F(add9) tuning for a fingerstyle guitar piece where the harmonic arrangement is shape-based and you have less discretion on the fingerings that are intrinsically locked to the tuning, SN is kinda useless as a guide. I don’t think I would have got through learning a lot of Don Ross pieces with just SN. Which Bb is that in the fingerboard? Why does he use this position? Oh, it’s to get to this next figure....” with SN, save some minorly helpful p.i.m.a. notes, you’d be relearning the fingerboard for every altered tuning permutation.

So yes, lots of terrible tab out there. Yes, standard notation *tends* to be a little more accurate because I think anyone notating in SN probably has a little bit better baseline musical sophistication than what is needed to hack out a tab.

I think of tab as the Morse code of music notation. Abstracted to the simplest transcription mode possible while still able to accurately get the job done.

Last edited by travisbrown; 30th October 2018 at 05:39 PM..
Old 30th October 2018
  #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travisbrown View Post
To be fair, there have been some pretty terrible Fake Book standard notation errors/mistranscriptions in some of the various editions.

I don’t think the errors for tab or SN are the fault of the mode of transcription. I think the the many bad tab transcriptions out there are a result of its accessibility by junior players who maybe don’t quite have a handle on what they are playing in order to transcribe it. Same with lots of the YouTube “here’s how you play this!” videos. I don’t blame YouTube (for that at least).

Tab has its uses. When transcribing something for guitar in an F(add9) tuning for a fingerstyle guitar piece where the harmonic arrangement is shape-based and you have less discretion on the fingerings that are intrinsically locked to the tuning, SN is kinda useless as a guide. I don’t think I would have got through learning a lot of Don Ross pieces with just SN. Which Bb is that in the fingerboard? Why does he use this position? Oh, it’s to get to this next figure....” with SN, save some minorly helpful p.i.m.a. notes, you’d be relearning the fingerboard for every altered tuning permutation.

So yes, lots of terrible tab out there. Yes, standard notation *tends* to be a little more accurate because I think anyone notating in SN probably has a little bit better baseline musical sophistication than what is needed to hack out a tab.

I think of tab as the Morse code of music notation. Abstracted to the simplest transcription mode possible while still able to accurately get the job done.
I write my own tab/SN as I am figuring out songs, so yes I agree that it does have value. My thing is, as you mentioned, junior players who maybe don’t quite have a handle on what they are playing in order to transcribe it. And yes YouTube (don't get me started). I stopped reading the comments where people claim it is 100% accurate. THere are one or two guys that I trust though. They have really good ears. While standard notation does tend to be a bit more accurate, like tab, the majority are far from 100% accurate.

I have been playing for over 20 years and learn the old fashioned way. I listen, study, and research. I figure if you are going to copy something, copy it. For the really difficult solo passages, we now have the luxury of slowing things down. I don't mind admitting that I take advantage of that technology.
Admittedly, most people aren't as anal as I am (ask my wife and friends), nor do they have the patience. Do I play everything perfectly? Nope I don't have the same fingers or heart as the original player. Is it closer to the original than the horrible tab/SN that is out there? Yep.
Old 30th October 2018
  #76
Quote:
Originally Posted by travisbrown View Post
It was indeed recorded on an LP. There’s a documentary hosted by John Illsley on Knopfler recounting all the guitars throughout his career and the hits played on each.



Would you believe Knopfler himself?

MFN is about 22min in.


Thank you for posting this, just finished watching it, enjoyed every second of it.
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