Mark Knopfler: "I hold a guitar like a plumber holds a hammer"

(Image credit: Sergione Infuso/Corbis via Getty Images)

Mark Knopfler was on CBS recently, talking with presenter Anthony Mason about his compulsion to keep on making music. 

The For The Record segment revealed all kinds of nice details about the former Dire Straits man's life, such as the etching of the 1937 National Style O resonator guitar on the petrol cap of his motorcycle, and how being a cub reporter on a newspaper gave him a taste for telling stories through song.

But when the conversation turned to his unique playing style, Knopfler described it as being unorthodox in the extreme

“I have a style which is probably all wrong," he said. "It would be a guitar teacher’s nightmare. I hold a guitar like a plumber holds a hammer."

There is hope for us all if this is how Knopfler feels. But his sentiments are of a piece with his comments in a interview with MusicRadar last year, in which he said that he wished a guitar teacher would drop off a simple lesson each week and expand his playing. 

He told MusicRadar that songwriting had shifted the focus from his playing. 

"I certainly think that my playing has suffered from just being so preoccupied with writing songs over the years," he said. "I’m not bitching about it, I love songwriting more than anything and that is why I’ve ended up where I am with it, with the guitar."

Those sentiments were shared in his chat with Mason. "The songs just keep pushing, pushing to get out," he says. 

The video then talks about the price of fame, and how Dire Straits' enormous success give him the sign that it was time to call it quits. 

You can watch the segment below.

Mark Knopfler's Down The Road Wherever is out now. Order it here.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.

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