Sultans of Swing

Animated Sultans of Swing tab by Dire Straits on guitar. So easy you'll be playing in minutes.

This is the main rhythm guitar for Sultans of Swing. Boiled down, it is mainly a simple barre chord progression. The strumming is tricky, but don't let that put you off. You don't need to play this song exactly like the band to sound good. Just follow the chord progressions (below), and use any brisk strumming pattern. As long as you strum in a brisk manner, and make the chord changes in the right places it will sound fine.

You will need to work on muting the chords as you play them. This makes the rhythm guitar more groovy. Check out the muting section for more on this technique.

Intro - Just hold down this D minor barre chord with your fretboard hand. The tricky part here is raking down the strings between strums.

To rake the chord - Mute the chord by just lightly releasing pressure off the strings with your fretboard hand, but keep touching the strings. Now do a controlled strum down the strings as shown. Practice this action on its own until you get the hang of it, then work it into the rest of the tune.

Bearing in mind what we said about strumming and muting earlier, here's the series of chord progressions for the song.

1. D minor - C major - Bb major - A major - A7

A word about that last A major - A7 chord change. There is another way to play the A7 chord (shown here). Just remove the little finger from the previous chord. It's a tiny bit different to the way it's done in the song, but works great and is easier - so use if if you want to.

For the next part of the Verse, repeat the exact same chord progression again. But at the end, keep playing the A major, and don't switch to A7:

2. D minor - C major - Bb major - A major

Go high for the 3rd progression:

3. F major - C major - Bb major - D minor

Then for the cool bit, just play Bb major a few times and slide to C major.

That's all you need for the main parts of the song. Just repeat these progressions again. There's only one exception. About halfway though the song this variation of the 1st progression is used:

4. D minor - C major - Bb major - C major (repeat)

And that's all you need! Just remember you don't have to be precise with the strumming, just get the chord changes at the right time. The song is really just a handful of barre chord progressions. Practice each progression in the sequence we have given you, and you'll get it!

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