Song Breakdown : Sultan's of Swing Pt. 2 | Guitargate

Primary tabs

Live Lessons

Live lessons each weekday with some of the world's very best players. Recorded and transcribed. 

Here's what you'll get:

  • Monday - Friday LIVE Masterclasses with Michael, Jack Ruch, Guthrie Trapp, Lyle Brewer, Jamie McClean and some very special guests :)
  • Unlimited Video Submissions - Submit Videos For Feedback
  • Total Access To Guitargate's 15+ Course Curriculum
Included In Premium Membership
Song Breakdown : Sultan's of Swing Pt. 2

In this masterclass, Lyle Brewer takes his viewers on an in-depth journey through the iconic guitar solo of "Sultans of Swing" by Dire Straits. He begins by highlighting the sophistication and musicality of Mark Knopfler's playing, emphasizing its significance in the guitar world. Lyle discusses how Knopfler's approach to the guitar solo blends elements of jazz, blues, and rock, using a wide array of musical tools to create a piece that's both complex and accessible. He draws parallels between learning music theory and Jedi training, suggesting that the mastery of music allows for the creation of deeply expressive and nuanced performances.

Lyle then moves on to a detailed breakdown of the solo, demonstrating each phrase on his guitar and explaining the technical and musical decisions behind Knopfler's playing. Using his iPhone to reference the music, he goes line by line, sharing tips on how to achieve the same sound and feel. His explanation covers the use of scales, arpeggios, and chord progressions, as well as techniques specific to playing without a pick to mimic Knopfler's distinctive touch. Throughout the session, Lyle encourages questions from the audience, creating an interactive learning environment.

The masterclass is not just a technical analysis but also an exploration of the emotional depth and storytelling within the solo. Lyle emphasizes the importance of dynamics, phrasing, and expressiveness in creating a compelling guitar solo. He encourages viewers to not shy away from challenging pieces of music, stressing the value of hard work and dedication in mastering their instrument. By the end of the video, Lyle has not only dissected one of the most famous guitar solos in rock history but also inspired viewers to approach their music practice with passion, patience, and a deeper understanding of their craft.

Transcript Summary


  • Introduction (00:00:04 - 00:00:41)
    • Lyle expresses gratitude for being part of the community and the opportunity to share his guitar knowledge.
    • He mentions the joy of connecting with viewers through questions and comments.
    • His favorite activity is discussing guitar playing, highlighting the importance of community engagement.
  • Discussion on "Sultans of Swing" Solo (00:00:47 - 00:03:17)
    • Lyle introduces the solo from "Sultans of Swing" by Dire Straits as a foundational piece.
    • He praises Mark Knopfler's sophisticated playing, comparing it to jazz and solo guitar legends.
    • The solo exemplifies using musical tools effectively to create rich, soulful music.
  • Technical Breakdown of the Solo (00:04:07 - 00:06:17)
    • Lyle demonstrates playing techniques and the harmonic structure underlying the solo.
    • He emphasizes the importance of understanding chord changes and voicings to enhance musicality.
    • Discussion includes bending techniques and the significance of note selection over chord changes.
  • Dynamic Range and Expression (00:09:26 - 00:10:15)
    • Exploration of the dynamic range within the solo, highlighting the use of volume and expression.
    • Lyle notes how Mark Knopfler achieves a wide array of sounds through nuanced playing.
    • The importance of fingerstyle playing in achieving the solo's distinct tone and feel is discussed.
  • Practical Tips for Learning the Solo (00:50:05 - 00:53:25)
    • Lyle shares insights on effective practice techniques for mastering challenging solos.
    • He stresses the value of patience and consistent practice over time.
    • Encouragement is given to tackle difficult pieces as a means of growth and development.
  • Concluding Thoughts (01:00:01 - 01:01:15)
    • Lyle encourages viewers to embrace the challenge of learning complex solos.
    • He emphasizes the unique fulfillment that comes from playing music.
    • Final words of motivation are offered, underscoring the belief in viewers' potential to succeed.

Lyle has been one of my very favorite guitarists for the past few years, and I’m THRILLED to announce that he’s agreed to join the Guitargate teaching roster!

Lyle - if you didn’t know - is a big deal. He is a wildly respected member of the guitar community and is a monster player in what seems to be every genre. He is the lead guitarist of the band Neighbor, and also teaches at Berklee in Boston (so bring him the hard questions).

Subscribers get access to Lyle's and all our pro masterclasses.