The Fizzy And The Still | Mark Knopfler Songbook

The Fizzy And The Still | Mark Knopfler Songbook


You won’t believe how I got to the point of reviewing this little song, but it certainly was one of the fastest lesson ideas on my channel ever, a couple of hours fast. So I was sitting around playing some songs as usual and I thought, wow I should really learn how to play We Are The Champions by Queen, obviously I’ve seen the Bohemian Rhapsody movie, there was even a little snippet of Sultans Of Swing there, I revisited all the Live Aid performances and I was like, you know what, let’s learn We Are The Champions. It’s a cool little song, a lot of interesting chords there. And sure enough here goes the chorus… And here on “No time for losers”, this line sounds exactly like The Fizzy And The Still, albeit in different key, but still. Now I’m not saying Mark copied Queen or something, not even try to mean that, it’s like I would say that the opening line was taken from Chopin’s 3rd Etude which Chopin called the best melody he’s ever found. By the way, even the Bohemian Rhapsody has a microscopic piano quote from this very piece. Unintentional of course. It just goes to show how many great songs are connected more that you would expect. From the moment I’ve learned this Queen song I was constantly thinking about The Fizzy And The Still. The Fizzy And The Still. And that happens, you get inspired, you get ideas, the difference being Mark write songs, somebody learn songs, somebody teach songs, it’s a cycle of inspiration and you can’t throw any part out of it and that’s why I’m here. The Fizzy And The Still is in Open G tuning played on a National guitar and it’s from Kill To Get Crimson album. This album is a very experimental album since half of it was filled with waltzes and another half was played by Mark using a pick. So this song features The Shadows style lead guitar playing. Again, talking about the inspiration. Chopin, Queen, Shadows and I haven’t even started discussing the song yet. There’s a lot of familiar shapes here, open strings is a G chord since it’s an open tuning, this is Am adjusted for Open G Tuning (the bass goes the whole step up), the open note on the top creates this Sus4 feeling, so you can call it AmSus4 chord, but who cares, it sounds cool. This is Bb Major, Add9, all you need to know is that it’s just one fret higher than the previous Am. This one looks like Am7, sounds like C Major, because it is, but because it’s too hard to play the bass it gets replaced with an open bass, making it C/G, another chord I’ve discussed a million times already. This type of Open G Shape does not appear in Romeo In Juliet, but it does appear often in Mark’s Open G songs. Cadd9, or regular C. To recap this part of the song: G, Am, Bb, C. It is also in the verse. You may say, yeah, but what about that pedal bass? And you’d be right, of course you can ditch the bass in these two chords making your life easier and making the full circle with this pedal bass sound. One one guitar though, and especially then the song builds up, it sounds better with full chords anyway. So it’s up to you. Turnaround to the chorus is your typical Shadows-inspired turnaround, there’s at least three ways to play it: with a hammer-on, with a hammer-on and a third, or my favourite with a slide, but always ending with open string, because it gives you a split-second to jump up here on the 7th fret to the chorus. Which starts with a bar chord, which is a version of this shape, D shape from Romeo And Juliet, so you know it’s D then. This is C shape but up here in the 5th position so it’s an F Major. Oh, I just realised this is actually all D shape moving all over the neck. It’s just down here there’s a nut instead of the finger. Open G tuning makes it so hard to distinguish between C and D shapes. Anyway… As I said, who cares how it’s called. Again a bar chord, open G, turnaround. D, F, C. To Cm, same shape as minor chords before, three fingers in a row and 1st finger down here. It’s even possible to throw in an open 1st string here to make it sound even more mysterious and haunting, the rare instance where not proper blocking of the string can actually help. The last chord to discuss is this half-diminished one. There’re two ways to approach it. Hard one and… hard one. Yes, the hard one is to hold this Minor Shape, Bm Romeo shape, and add the 2nd fret bass. But it’s an extremely hard stretch available only for people who’ve played before, much easier to go with the 1st finger down in the 1st position, with a mini-bar here and maintain this bass on the 2nd fret. But it’s also not easy, because you have to carefully mute the 4th string. If you won’t do it, it would ruin everything, so pick your poison, no easy shortcuts here. After the Cm7b5 it’s open G again, 5th to 4th fret makes it Gmaj7 of course. How about that one? Can you guess from where this melody came from? Ispiration is everywhere! It’s not for me… C, G. And that the whole song. It’s very short, very simple, it’s not UP there in the sky with the greats like Romeo And Juliet, but it still is a very good song, or… to put it simply, a Mark Knopfler Song. Keep playing good songs, and thanks for watching!

22 comments

  1. Even though I only make tutorial videos, I get inspired every day and The Fizzy And The Still lesson was probably the best example of pure inspiration in this whole year. It's not a popular song, literally nobody asked for it, but it doesn't matter as long as I love the song and as long as I have something to say about it. And, as always, I have a lot to say! Sometimes I re-record my videos because I'm not pleased at all with the result, and this was the case. But as the song is not popular anyway, I decided to leave it "as is", first take type of thing. I guess the performance and the information is the priority here, so enjoy! Pavel.

  2. One of my favourites! I love that you are not doing this for anything besides sharing this feeling that you have about the songs or the man himself. Thank you for everything, again and again.

  3. Gibson стоит своих денег? Или не соответстует цене? Спасибо за видео, тем более за репертуар Mark's Knopfler)

  4. Really cool. Listening to this I started thinking that your take seems like straight out of The Kinks style, don’t know why

  5. Open G Roméo and Juliet
    Open G the fizzy and the still
    Can we expect open G Portobello Belle ?
    BTW I didn't know this song, it sound pretty gentle and chill. I might learn it.

    Oh and I saw a tabs you wrote on "a night in summer long ago" is there a picking pattern for it?
    Yes I have a lot of questions but that's what you get for sharing good work and Mark's wonderful music

  6. It's not for meeee … not for meee …. Guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr Pavel! 🙂 Thank you for the great lessons, we wish you all the best in 2020!

  7. A hidden gem. Great video
    P.S. I know a lot of people already asked, but here’s one more from me: could you please do Mark’s the Boxer?

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