Mark Knopfler signature guitars

Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 2,805Member

Comments

  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,790Member
    Over-hyped nonsense? I admit, without being certain, that I tend to that view.
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 2,805Member
    I don't think Knopfler is faking it. Why would he ?
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,790Member
    Apologies if I sounded overly negative - I have nothing against Mr Knopfler, and I don't think he's faking what he says, although of course he knows he's meant to say nice things in that interview - he's happy to do so, but then why wouldn't he, they're being nice to him. And I'm sure they're very nice, well-made guitars.

    It's just the implication that there is this magic, special, mystic "something" that a 1958 Les Paul has, and which miraculously Gibson at their custom shop have been able to re-create. They're solid body electric guitars - OK the construction and woods have some bearing, also the pickups - but these things are not rocket science, and there are other capable companies that produce similar spec guitars that I bet will give the player very similar results, and for a lot less money.

    Just an opinion anyhow! and I did say I wasn't certain about it - I'm happy to be proved wrong and shot down in flames if that's deserved. :)
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 600Member
    That's quite ok, Graham. Everyone's entitled to their viewpoint:-)
    I don't believe that any hunk of wood/metal has anything special about it, and if anyone can make a Les Paul it had better be Gibson!! But Knopfler's story about not being able to afford one and waiting all those years to get his own means that he has added the mystique in his own mind. He built up a mythology about their greatness and mixed it with his own nostalgia. The quest for the unreachable has a lot of romance about it. So for him it is something special and probably inspires him like no other instrument.
    But I have a hard time believing that a production line model couldn't sound or feel as good.

    I think a lot of guitarists have the same attitude to guitars, to a degree, and most will bond with one instrument over another. Hey, if it works for you, do it. Unless you're spending the mortgage payment on it, of course.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,790Member
    Yes, I suppose I can understand, and even relate to, what you say there Nick - there can be a bit of a romance, with added meaning for the individual, about musical instruments. I'm not, it is true, the biggest fan of Gibson guitars, and opinions do vary about the company in recent years. But at the same time, I could get enthusiastic about the right model - so if anyone wants to buy me a custom shop Larry Carlton 335...?

    And I will happily concede that there is, still, a certain status/kudos/call it what you will, about owning a certain brand of guitar - were I to own said Larry Carlton custom shop 335, for example, I would undoubtedly enjoy taking it out the case at gigs, the admiring words of other guitarists, and just looking at the thing and knowing it's mine. So I guess that's at least partly what Knopfler is talking about in the clip. I don't, at all, deny Gibson's right as a company, to market products that attempt to capitalize on these kind of feelings - it's valid. And perhaps the Gibson-knocking has been overdone already in recent years (there has been at least one thread on here), so I'm not wanting to start that up again! :)
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 600Member
    I think it might be peculiar to guitarists, as far as I can tell. Generally speaking, you won't hear violinists or sax players collecting instruments just because someone had a particular model, or any of that other nonsense we perpetuate!

    There certainly is something of all that you talk about when I take my Rickenbacker out. To be honest, I'm a bit embarrassed because it is a pretty guitar, although I do know that it's not THE most expensive guitar around, so it should be okay. I feel a bit justified in that it is used by non-guitar worshippers like Paul Weller and Peter Buck and it is more utilitarian than furniture-like. It's not like a dragon inlaid PRS! That would be silly. But it is my dream guitar and I certainly feel privileged.
    If I can play a guitar and think more about the music then I think I've got something right. Sounds silly, but in the context of Guitar Admiration it can be difficult to not just oo and ahh!


    I haven't really been aware of the Gibson bashing that people allude to here and there. I'll look it up :)

  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 600Member
    While in Bath (the city, not the bathroom fitting), my wife and I (see, I knew I had to clear up the Bath bit before proceeding) visited a vintage guitar shop, just for fun. There were a lot of lovely guitars, with a wall of various Fender models going for about £15,000.

    Over dinner, I thought it would be interesting to discuss when it would ever be okay to spend that kind of money on a guitar. We both know people for whom £15k is a drop in the bucket and could easily spend that much on something trivial without their bank account even hiccuping. Ok, enough said about that. So we both know that it is possible to be at a point when £15k would not be a lot of money.
    So we talked about this for some time, quite seriously, and came to the decision that no matter how much we ever earned, no, £15,000 will never be a smart decision. Ever. For us, there will always be something more important and somebody more needy, to spend the money on. Even if (!) we become millionaires. I don't think this was a pie-in-the-sky hypothesis, but that's how we both feel.

    I know that for some people, £1500 is ridiculous for a guitar. But ten times that amount is a different ball game, a different kind of decision.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,790Member
    I can totally understand actual vintage guitars, like an early 60s strat, or a '58 Les Paul, fetching those kind of 5 figure sums - they are rare, with a certain status, and supply and demand will lead to those kind of amounts being involved. Unless I win it big on the Euro-millions or something (and even then...) then unlikely to apply to me! Interesting to look at in a nice vintage guitar shop though.

    £1500 for me would be a lot, but I could justify it for something that would be very special to me - I've considered the idea of a fine UK-built custom guitar before now, who knows, that may happen one day. But with solid electric guitars, I think I've done enough modding and parts building, setting up etc. to understand that the things that really make a difference don't necessarily have to mean spending a fortune.

    Nothing wrong with considering how a guitar looks btw, as with your Rickenbacker Nick - I always think a guitar should look the part, and inspire you to pick it up and practice. And indeed give one a sense of identity and pride if performing in public.
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 2,805Member
    edited July 13
    To spend £15k on a guitar I'd have to have:

    - sorted my own finances out
    - sorted my kid's finances out
    - sorted my family's finances out
    - sorted my friend's finances out...

    so it will happen sometime never. I'd need a pot worth literally millions before I would be comfortable doing it.

    I own a £180 jobby as it is (electric) - because anything above £1k means I have to also buy wifey that dream kitchen she wanted. (As it happens I found a Vintage which ticks most of the boxes. )

    I'll admit (I'm very lucky with wages) but I am utterly depressed at our financial outlook. I can never envisage a time when we are not in debt and this is mainly because of our kids. They have at least five more years at university. Housing is so short we'll always be helping them pay for it.

    So. It's not what you earn but what you are committed to and an aversion to frivolous debt.


  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 2,805Member
    Chosen carefully a £15k guitar should be an 'investment'. That's the owner's excuse to his wife anyway.
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 2,805Member
    I've been in the Bath guitar shop too btw. Very interesting. I played a Hummingbird but there was not much else that impressed me at the time. Some great electrics downstairs but I don't ever play them in guitar shops.

    I just feel so grateful that the quality of sub £500 guitars is so good these days. My first electric was £120 36 years ago and was not a patch on the guitar I bought for £180 two years ago.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,790Member
    I don't really have much contact with expensive vintage guitars. Except that I have a friend who until recently had an early/mid 50s telecaster, I forget the year now. He'd bought it from Manny's (famous music shop in New York) - it was originally a one pickup Esquire, and had been changed to tele spec using a genuine 50's tele scratch plate, and a genuine 50s tele neck pickup, that had been expertly fixed/re-wound by some highly regarded pickup guru. I was invited to go round to his house with my partscaster tele I'd built, and we did a bit of comparing using his very nice Fender Deluxe Reverb amp.

    I could straight away get a very nice jazz tone with the neck pickup of my guitar, and was playing away. Friend remarks that it sounds nice, but not like a real telecaster - try this he says, handing me the 50s tele, that's a proper telecaster. Plugged it in, and still could get a very similar, nice jazz tone, to his surprise. He says, give it here! - switches to the bridge pickup, and plays some typical tele-sounds rock n roll and bluesy stuff, which sounded as authentic as one might imagine a real 50s tele would. Then he trys my partscaster on the bridge pickup - and honestly there wasn't much in it at all - my guitar perhaps a bit cleaner and more "hi-fi", his a tad thicker-sounding, but really very close indeed. Both guitars could do everything you'd expect from a telecaster very well indeed. He'd paid I think over five grand for his guitar, mine had cost me about £500 in parts, if that.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 600Member
    What a great story! Did you ever get invited back (with a guitar)? That must have made you feel pret-ty good about your own guitar. And I'm sure it took care of your GAS for a while.

    There's a lot to be said for being content with what you have.
    And especially what you made:-)
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 600Member


    I'll admit (I'm very lucky with wages) but I am utterly depressed at our financial outlook. I can never envisage a time when we are not in debt and this is mainly because of our kids. They have at least five more years at university. Housing is so short we'll always be helping them pay for it.

    So. It's not what you earn but what you are committed to and an aversion to frivolous debt.

    Very true. I'm sure you're aware but it bears repeating, because my wife says this a lot - money can't make you happy. Without going in to details, I can tell you that she would know. And I really respect her for her decisions. So when she says that, I know she knows what she's talking about.
    And at the end of the day, stuff is stuff! How about that for profound.....::-)
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 600Member

    I've been in the Bath guitar shop too btw. Very interesting. I played a Hummingbird but there was not much else that impressed me at the time. Some great electrics downstairs but I don't ever play them in guitar shops.

    I just feel so grateful that the quality of sub £500 guitars is so good these days. My first electric was £120 36 years ago and was not a patch on the guitar I bought for £180 two years ago.

    They have lots of interesting things. I agree. There's lots of great stuff around now.

    Chosen carefully a £15k guitar should be an 'investment'. That's the owner's excuse to his wife anyway.

    Haha yup!

  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,790Member

    What a great story! Did you ever get invited back (with a guitar)? That must have made you feel pret-ty good about your own guitar. And I'm sure it took care of your GAS for a while.

    There's a lot to be said for being content with what you have.
    And especially what you made:-)

    I have been back since yes, although not recently, and we remain pals. I can add that his 50s tele was a lovely thing - there is a certain something about playing an instrument like that, which has aged over 60 odd years, and was made around the same time as rock and roll emerged. It had all the mojo one could wish for.

    He decided to sell the guitar on anyhow - still had the original scratchplate, and converted it back to it's original Esquire spec. first, and came out with a profit at the end! He now uses a very nice custom shop telecaster (classic butterscotch blonde) and a less expensive, reliced strat (I think one of the Mexican made models).

    But, yes, the experience did seem to tell me that there is no actual extra magic that these valuable vintage instruments have, although of course they can be very nice, like some newer ones. :)


  • Screaming DaveScreaming Dave Posts: 758Member

    While in Bath (the city, not the bathroom fitting), my wife and I (see, I knew I had to clear up the Bath bit before proceeding) visited a vintage guitar shop, just for fun. There were a lot of lovely guitars, with a wall of various Fender models going for about £15,000.

    Over dinner, I thought it would be interesting to discuss when it would ever be okay to spend that kind of money on a guitar.

    I have a similar story, concerning a visit to Bath with my wife for our anniversary in July 2015. We went to that same vintage guitar store and I noodled on a '60s SG (very rare stock cherry sunburst finish) and a single-cut Les Paul Special, both about £8k. Over lunch we got to talking about would it be OK to spend big bucks on a guitar, as I'd been banging on about a '65 SG Junior (from the year of my birth, no less) ever since we've known each other. She asked how much one of those would cost, so I told her £2.5k to £3k and, to my surprise, she said she wanted me to have one! A couple of weeks later I was with her in a guitar shop again, but this time in the Vintage Guitar Boutique on Bethnal Green Road, having tracked down a '65 SG Junior.

    I guess £3k is still a far cry from £15k, but I just like the ending of my story better!

    As for the Knopfler Les Pauls, I'm not really a fan of the whole signature guitar thing, or at least signature versions of well-established designs. I mean, the Les Paul is, in itself, a signature model, but it is kind of unique in that respect. The Knopfler Les Pauls will have been made from the exact measurements, etc. of his '58, I guess, so it will feel immediately comfortable and familiar to him, but for the rest of us, surely any custom shop '58 re-issue will feel the same or similar, but be cheaper. I just feel like I don't need his signature on it, or to know it's modelled after his guitar, to know if it's a good guitar or not. I'm guessing that a lot of them will be bought by collectors or rich Knopfler fans, anyway, so maybe discerning guitarists aren't their target audience .....

    (I cheekily include myself, and of course the esteemed company of this forum, in the group "discerning guitarists")
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,226Member
    Hmmm - had a quick look on Gibsons site.
    A Mark Knopfler 1958 Les Paul Standard Aged & Signed $11,000!
    I think I'd want a transfer of his playing ability included for that price.

    And $5,100+ for the standard version. So around $6,000 for a signature and some scraping around to make it look old. Bloody hell!

    But if someone is prepared to pay so much, and Gibson is in the business to make money, then why not? It is a bit baffling.

    Maybe if I was a good player I would get the real thrill from finding the special magic from these sort of guitars. But I'm not and I don't.

    As far as not signed, but signature models of guitars I'll probably stick at just the two signature model acoustics in my collection - between £300 and £350 each. That's my sort of price for a signature model guitar. :smile:
  • Screaming DaveScreaming Dave Posts: 758Member
    As a special offer, if any of you want a Screaming Dave signature SG, I'll happily sign one of mine and ship it to you for £8,500. Limited edition of two only
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 2,805Member
    edited July 15
    I don't think Knopfler is faking it. He is genuinely astonished by these things and if we don't think he, of all people, would know the difference, well !

    Of course, these guitars were never built for you or me, but for the discerning rich of whom there are plenty and for whom this is pocket money.

    The real versions are elusive even to them because they are so beloved that the owners cling to them for life - and then on to their kids...

    It's only baffling if you've never been rich. Such items become auction worthy with monied people and their brokers attendant.

    I'd be impressed if I saw one of these hanging on someone's wall. They are only going to go up in value - especially when Knopfler pops it.

    The stars of the show are also Gibson's top luthiers and shop floor space whose time costs a lot of money, and also the show itself - Knopfler's effusiveness is here on record and always will be, your guitar will be in that picture, probably featured in the exclusive edit of the signing given to you in the pack... and rich guitar enthusiasts will be drooling.

    An entire top tier of the guitar industry has turned its focus on a select few, however fleetingly, and bestowed them fame - this is their fairy dust moment.

    A limited run makes the buy compulsory to a rich collector, in fact. Yes. Very clever of Gibson... but why not ? I would if I had several million in the bank and even if you did make a loss at auction when you sold it, it's not going to be total and what a joy to own - consider it rent.

    A zero risk investment and everyone's a winner.

    Oh, and you can guarantee that not one of these guitars will be the duffers which are on sale to us oiks. In the electric guitars at least I can see that Gibsons are not up to standard in the shops. Personally I'd go straight for a Vintage V100 Lemon drop which put the Gibson next to it in the shade when I saw it.
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,226Member


    Oh, and you can guarantee that not one of these guitars will be the duffers which are on sale to us oiks. In the electric guitars at least I can see that Gibsons are not up to standard in the shops. Personally I'd go straight for a Vintage V100 Lemon drop which put the Gibson next to it in the shade when I saw it.

    Good advice for us oiks, and that would be a good choice you mentioned!

    I don't get impressed with peoples flash cars or flash homes anymore, so I'm not sure I'd be that impressed if I saw one of those Knopfler signature guitars on someones wall, but I don't hang around with millionaires so I'll never get to find out. I would be hell of an impressed if I heard them playing it as well as Mark Knopfler though! :smile:
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 600Member
    Mark P said:



    I don't get impressed with peoples flash cars or flash homes anymore...

    I was walking along a fancy part of London with my wife and brother. He's oggling the flashy cars, I'm being a disparaging twit (as usual...). My wife joined in, and my brother said "Well, if you had the money you'd get one too" and she replied "No I didn't". He said again "Yes you would" and she repeated - "No.... I DIDN'T". After his puzzled face she explained.
    Way back when, in the dark ages, a former life that is not talked about (!), when money was no object, she had a chance to go out and buy whatever car she wanted. The Then Mr (if you get my drift) bought an Aston Martin, with cash. She was being advised by friends to get an Audi or BMW. She got a Ford. Why? Because she didn't want the impression of having money and flaunting it, of joining the 'In' crowd and exhibiting wealth. She wanted a normal, run of the mill vehicle that goes from A to B. She is not materialistic in the least, and I respect her for that immensely.
    I used to think that only people 'without' would have those attitudes, so to meet someone who COULD but DIDN'T restores my faith in the human race and makes me have a new perspective on the things that I could never afford.
    The Then Mr is now with a Gold Digger with a meagre salary who drives a very flash car, gets fake suntans and dyes her hair.
    Some people are attracted to money. People with class aren't.

    This classic line (heard at 0:54) comes to mind -




  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 600Member
    It's just 'stuff'. And as we say here regularly - 'Money won't make you happy'.
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 2,805Member
    I'd be the same. When people ask what car I'd get with the lottery money I say a top range Skoda Octavia estate.

    The fact is that I hate standing out. Despite my appearances here I am very quiet and introverted in real life.
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 2,805Member
    Your wife sounds lovely, Nick. Whatever Mr **** thinks he must have been mad to let her go.
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 2,805Member
    edited July 16
    All money would buy for me is freedom from fear and anxiety about my family's security - and freedom from the Boss Man.

    My position can be wiped out with one silly move or a swipe of the pen. Like many, I feel like I'm on a high wire without a net.

    I'd probably do the same things and own more or less the same stuff as I do now with money but just a lot more happy !
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,226Member
    Similar.
    If I found a magic money tree priorities would be securing a decent income and security for the family whilst removing myself from the soul destroying need to earn a crust by number crunching.
    With a nice side effect of eliminating the need for so much damn kowtowing.

    I agree with Kevin, Nick. Your wife has a wonderful attitude!
  • MarkbluesMarkblues Posts: 75Member
    A friend of mine reviewed the guitar for guitarist magazine. He thinks it's a great guitar
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 600Member

    Your wife sounds lovely, Nick. Whatever Mr **** thinks he must have been mad to let her go.

    Mark P said:

    Similar.
    If I found a magic money tree priorities would be securing a decent income and security for the family whilst removing myself from the soul destroying need to earn a crust by number crunching.
    With a nice side effect of eliminating the need for so much damn kowtowing.

    I agree with Kevin, Nick. Your wife has a wonderful attitude!

    Thanks chaps. She is. And I do know how lucky I am. :-)
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