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FDP Forum / The Chop Shop / Mark Knopfler acoustic technique

Contributing Member

Washington DC

Aug 27th, 2015 06:19 AM   Edit   Profile  

My acoustic fingerstyle technique has been pretty simple, boom-chick (except for learning some Paul Simon songs, and Blackbird, note by note). But a video I stumbled across, of MK talking about his approach, has clicked for me.

He uses the thumb on every beat on the 3 bass strings, with the fingers filling the time gaps (up-beat 8ths) on the 3 treble strings. After that is mastered, he says, you can break the rules by moving the thumb part into the treble strings and adding hammer-ons and pull-offs, single-note runs, etc.

To my surprise, doing this (the first part, at least) has been easier than I expected. Some of what I learned re. Paul Simon applies to this more general technique. And the eighth-note texture livens up simple songs.

Did everyone else already know this?

YT vid from 2001 but a minor revelation to me

(This message was last edited by tiller2 at 12:05 PM, Aug 27th, 2015)


Willoughby, OH , USA

I'm arrogant and a moron
Aug 27th, 2015 12:05 PM   Edit   Profile  

Sounds like "travis picking" to me.

Contributing Member

Washington DC

Aug 27th, 2015 12:52 PM   Edit   Profile  

Hey shunka, maybe that is so; when I worked on Travis picking I was doing it at half the frequency of bass-treble picking...


Willoughby, OH , USA

I'm arrogant and a moron
Oct 27th, 2015 02:44 PM   Edit   Profile  

I believ that "Travis" is 1 and 3 on the sixth or fifth string (r vice versa, depending on the chord voicing) and 2 and 4 are either the 3rd or 4th string. Not necessarily always but most of the time. Again chord voicing will make you choose the correct "bass note" and alternate.



HELP! Population less than 100 000 000!
Apr 28th, 2016 02:52 PM   Edit   Profile  

tiller2, great to hear about your break through. I'm still waiting for mine LOL. I'm also a Mark fan and been working on those Dire Strait songs quite a lot. Anyway, in the beginning of the video Mark is playing bits out of Freight Train also taught by many here on YouTube. If you haven't seen any of those check them out. Freight Train is for example the song Tommy Emmanuel suggests everyone learn as a starter. I've been working on it since last June after I saw him at a gig. Awesome. Tommy, not me. I suck big time. I'm starting to think I'm never gonna learn it since I'm still struggling with the first part of that song. The basic ide behind this style is that the thumb plays the bass notes on 1 and 2 and 3 and 4, just like you described, and the rest of the fingers play melody on top. Mark also plays some ragtime which sounds really cool. Been looking for some lessons on that also but not found any good ones. Looks like I will never stop learning new stuff on the guitar.



Aug 23rd, 2016 11:06 PM   Edit   Profile  

Incredibly he played.

Contributing Member

Eat. Sleep. Guitar.

Aug 24th, 2016 03:44 PM   Edit   Profile  

Skip past the playing of the tune and

this guy does a pretty good ragtime lesson. It's very piano-like.

FDP Forum / The Chop Shop / Mark Knopfler acoustic technique

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