Golden Heart | Mark Knopfler Songbook

Golden Heart | Mark Knopfler Songbook


Seriously, Golden Heart is one of the best songs I’ve ever heard. Not only it was recorded live in the studio, that you can hear immediately, but the craftsmanship of the composer is outstanding. You can image musicians hearing it for the first time and going crazy. I’d be crazy for sure. The trouble is, though, if you want to get this exact mood right from the beginning, it’s impossible. In standard tuning that is. Because the rhythm was played in so called “Nashville tuning”. In this tuning you have the bottom four strings tuned up up an octave. It’s like taking off half of the strings from 12-string. More often musicians would use this tuning for tracking in the studio or for getting the 12-strings kind of sound like in the song Privateering for example, or What It Is. That’s why you can see there’s actually just a couple of wound strings on Richard’s guitar, usually there’s one. Check out JustinGuitar’s lesson, it’s old, but fabulous. I’ll put a link into information field up here. What happens, if you take the full G chord like this, all of a sudden you get two Ds and two Gs, which is OK, but in the same octave, which is unusual and makes the whole song possible. In fact, when we recorded our version of it, I exploited that tiny little detail a lot, because on a uke it IS possible to get the similar effect of the Nashville tuning and you don’t need to retune anything. But we can approximate the changes anyway, because we’re not here to imitate something, but to play a song. And I represent the majority of people, who don’t have a spare guitar to experiment on, taking very thin strings, choosing the right gauge, and all you end up with is wickedly tuned guitar. What you are going to play on it, anyway? The song has three distinct parts — introduction, verse, pre-chorus, and the chorus itself. So the very first chord is rather disappointing G. I want to play this double D, but I can’t. So you can see why it can get vitally important to resort to different tunings. When you have a picture in your head, but you don’t even have enough tools to take it out, that’s how I see it. Anyway. The whole intro reminds me of “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd, where you have a pedal tone so to speak on all of the chords. Same happens here as well — G, D/F#, G, G/B, C, G, C, D/F#. Very logical, chords are flowing one into another, it’s perfect. Since you can’t play it good enough like this, the best option is simple strumming. After the intro of course, which is just the melody of the song. Now this part is improvisational, I can’t talk about that one. Mark never played it the same twice, so just deliver the melody and get on with it. The second verse is exactly the same. The second part is time to leave the pedal tone and switch to normal chords — C, D, Em, G/B, C, Em, Am, G/B. Repeat… C, D, Em, G/B, C, Em, Am, D, CMaj7/G, D. Either D/F# or D/A. And to the chorus. Golden Heart… Also, there’s G/B here. The solo is like the first part, but again done with normal chords. And right at the end of the solo it switches back to the pedal tone and Nashville tuning. Then another verse, another pre-chorus, chorus 2 times For the finish it’s CMaj7, D, and back in Nashville again. A perfect example of the song, that can amaze both non-musicians and musicians, and Mark succeeded in pleasing both like nobody else. Thank you!

17 Comments

  1. perfect, thanks man! please make a Dream of the drowned submariner lesson or a So far from the clyde lesson or a In the Sky lesson. thanks!!

  2. I already asked for many songs. It could be kinda annoying but Knopfler has so many songs that deserve be played haha. I would like The man's too strong from Dire Straits, and from his solo career The trawlerman's song, I love that song or maybe We can get wild an underrated song from an underrated album.
    Amazing tuto as always and I don't forget, I want to listen a the cover of Done with bonaparte :D.

  3. Another great lesson and coincidentally the first thing i saw in my notifications this morning. What a great way to start the day right! Thanks Pavel!

  4. An amazing article on Nashville Tuning with live examples:
    https://music.tutsplus.com/tutorials/how-to-use-the-nashville-tuning–audio-5337

  5. Oh boy, I can't wait to try this! Plus a great excuse to try a new tuning – I've never tried Nashville before. Usually just played this in drop-D, but this is wayyyy better.

  6. You're the man Pavel. Thank you for the good work. Please remember my Fare Thee Well Northumberland!!! 😃😃😃

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