12 facts about Mark Knopfler you may not know

I’m not a  “fan” type of person. Although I used to be detached from the strongly committed enthusiast gangs, there are a few artists I truly admire. Mark Knopfler is definitely my greatest guitar-idol. I love his music from the first moment when I listened it in my early high school years. I’m totally crazy about the clean and melodic phrasing, tight rhythm work , his emotional solos and he has an incredible influence on my music.

I collected some interesting facts about him that you may not know. 🙂

1. He was born as Mark Freuder Knopfler in 1949 and his father was Hungarian (and I’m very proud of it because I’m also Hungarian) but due to his Jewish origins his father had left the country in 1939 (and I’m absolutely not proud of that – dark years of our history).

2. After he graduated he worked as journalist (reporter and music critic) for Yorkshire Evening Post and later when he started his musical carrier he stabilized his income as part-time English teacher. You can certainly realize his great skills in Literature in his poetical lyrics.

3. Mark is originally left-handed but he plays right-handed. He told it helped a lot to bend even 2 strings together by 2-3 semitones.

Two string bend

Two string bend

4. His unique finger picking style started to develop on a night he spent with his friends and found a pretty bad quality acoustic guitar with thin strings and badly curved neck. The only way to make it sound loud enough was using his fingers to pick it.

Mark Knopfler finger picking - (Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images) 2013

Mark Knopfler finger picking – (Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images) 2013

5. Mark played 130+ guitars in his life but he’s not a collector. Each and every guitars he owns (about 50) have their role and he used to play them in various songs. 6. His signature clean Strat sound first first appeared on the album “Dire Straits” in 1978. He played an 1961 Fender Strat and very little effects.

Mark Knopfler 1962 Red Fender Strat

Mark Knopfler 1962 Red Fender Strat (via mk-guitar.com)

Rumours say that his main device was a Dan Armstong Orange Squeezer that is a subtle compressor/enhancer box, not even a pedal.

The original Dan Armstrong Orange Squezer

The original Dan Armstrong Orange Squezer, sells over $700 on eBay

Later he replaced the Fenders by early Schecter “Dream Machine” Strats until he got his first custom built guitar (Pensa-Suhr MK-1).

Schechter Dream Machine Strat

Schechter Dream Machine Strat

7. The Pensa-Suhr MK-1 guitar was born on napkin of a small coffee called “Prince’s” in New York. Rudy Pensa, who owns a great guitar shop nearby and friend of Mark employed John Suhr master luthier that time who built the first custom MK-1 by his specs and sketch on the napkin. The guitar is fitted with EMG active pickups and a Floyd Rose tremolo bridge. However, Mark has never used the tremolo. Actually, it’s fixed by screws to act like a hardtail bridge. He just preferred the Floyd Rose system because of the unbeatable tuning stability.

Pensa-Suhr MK-1

Pensa-Suhr MK-1

8. There are three signature guitar models dedicated to Mark Knopfler: a Fender Stratocaster Mark Knopfler Signature, a Martin 000-40S Mark Knopfler and a Martin HD-40 MK.

Martin 000-40S Mark Knopfler

Martin 000-40S Mark Knopfler

Fender Stratocaster Mark Knopfler Signature - Active-Guitar

Fender Stratocaster Mark Knopfler Signature

Martin HD-40 MK

Martin HD-40 MK

9. He has been awarded with the “Officer of the Order of British Empire” for his musical achievements.

Mark Knopfler Officer of the Order of British Empire

Mark Knopfler Officer of the Order of British Empire

10. Mark Knopfler is a collector of classic race cars and he also an enthusiast race driver. He owns a Maserati 300S and an Austin-Healy 100 and some more vintage race cars.

Mark Kopfler's  Maserati 300S

Mark Kopfler’s Maserati 300S

Mark Knopfler's Austin-Healy 100

Mark Knopfler’s Austin-Healy 100

11. His name also inspired a scientific name of a dinosaur. The scientist listened Dire Straits when he found the fossils, so he called it ‘Masiakasaurus Knopfleri”. That’s the real fame, huh? 🙂

Masiakasaurus Knopfleri - inspired by Mark's music

Masiakasaurus Knopfleri – inspired by Mark’s music

12. One of my favorite songs from Mark solo albums is “Boom, like that”. Did you know, that it’s actually about how McDonald’s franchise was born under the leadership of Ray Kroc? Mark plays a Danelectro Silvertone 1452 Hornet.

Mark plays a Danelectro Silvertone 1452 Hornet

Mark plays a Danelectro Silvertone 1452 Hornet

Here are a couple of great resources I used to gather information:









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