Sultans of Swing (Lead 1)

Animated Sultans of Swing (Lead 1) tab by Dire Straits on guitar. So easy you'll be playing in minutes.

This is all the lead for the first half of the song. Mark knopfler is a guitar legend with a distinct style. He uses his thumb and fingers instead of a pick, but you can still play through using a pick just like we show here. Only in a couple of places do you need to hybrid pick - that means use pick and fingers to play. And those parts aren't hard.

Mark knopfler makes strong use of the backing chord progressions in his lead playing. That is the main secret of his style. If you are familiar with the backing chord progressions for the song (shown here) then you will be able to follow the lead a lot easier. Notice that he is just making little lead phrases based around the same backing chords most of the time.

For example, the whole intro backing chord is just D minor. Knopfler plays his entire lead sequence using the D minor scale. If you look carefully you can even see parts of the D minor chord shape appear in places - the same chord used by the backing guitar (e.g. here).

A bit further on, notice that as the backing D minor chord changes to C major, Bb major, A major Mark also follows the chord progression with the lead, just playing little licks that follow the backing chords.

That is the essence of his style. He takes the backing chords and uses them to make little licks up as the song plays. Sometimes he joins in with the rhythm guitar to play the chords outright (e.g. here). And sometimes it's just the little licks. But nearly always he's simply making more out of the underlying chord progression.

In order to play like this too, you need to learn the chord shapes and the scale for each chord. That's not as hard as it seems. You can boil all the chords in this song into 2 basic types - major and minor. The same is true for the scales. Just learn one major scale pattern and one minor scale pattern. Apply them along with the backing chords. Go here and here to start learning about that.

Don't forget to use the bookmark feature in the ActionTab to store / jump to the particular licks you love, and practice them!

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