Why Aye Man | Mark Knopfler Songbook | Chords

Why Aye Man | Mark Knopfler Songbook | Chords

Welcome to MKSB, Pavel here. Let’s check out Why Aye Man. And it’s not the easiest song to start with, but it’s insanely improvisational, so I can show you just a couple of ways of how I would approach it and get away with it. Obviously, electric guitar is the driving force in a song and it has probably just one strict part which is the chorus (and the main lick). And the rest of the song even Mark himself wouldn’t play the same twice. Also it has almost everything — it has flashy blues solos, it has soulful solos, riffs improvisation, Mark’s signature rhythm playing, fancy chords chords with no 3rd, capo on the 5th fret. And this is essential folk music meeting the blues song and it begins the blues vamp over D minor. Or A minor related to the capo. Anyway — omitting the third interval. You may call it the power chord or A5 chord, anyway. You can play something like D Major going to A minor here. And this again folk… folk music sound. Folk over the blues. Scarborough Fair. Theory geeks may recognize it like the Dorian mode which is just A Minor scale with sharp 6th. Anyway… Sometimes Mark can play something like… a C#, which makes the whole thing Major all of the sudden 🙂 You see it’s the first chord in the song and already anything goes here. Basic rhythm, and it’s common for many many of Mark songs — is this rhythm. On two strings. This is just thumb, up, down and up. Sometimes missing the first up, sometimes the thumb still sitting on the thickest string. It gives you this kind of sound. And since it’s a blues — any blues licks will do, mostly in the first… in the third position of the minor pentatonic scale. It’s the one before position which everybody knows. So it starts… D Major… to A Minor. G5 chord. G5… G Power Chord. You can slide to it, you can hammer-on, play it straight. You can do anything. To A… To the chorus. And it’s the first strict part — just after “Why Aye Man”. This kind of sound. Then Mark plays G5 chord with a thumb on the top, to give more meat to it. Or occasionally he plays like that. Anyway… To F… going to G. A, C, G. To the main lick. And this lick is in the third position again of A Minor pentatonic scale, starting on the 3rd. Then a little bend at the end, as far as my acoustic can go. And then — quick change to to A5. It goes like… starting with index finger or with the thumb, then quick change to A5. Index, thumb, pull-off. Index, thumb — the open A. Then… mute both the thumb and index finger and then pluck the index finger. It gives you an opportunity to play the next note with the thumb. Pull-off, thumb, index, middle, thumb, pull-off, index, slide. Again. Then… index, thumb, pull-off, thumb. Second part is… little embellishments. Then — thumb, pull-off, thumb, index, middle, thumb, bend, open. And the fourth time… a little embellishment again. Sometimes, instead of fourth repetition Mark play something like… going to the solo. And solo sequence is D Minor… going to G with B in the bass and this kind of melody. To C. A Minor. G bass. Again — D… G, C. Simple and beautiful. And the solo… There’s no shortcuts for soloing apart from from A Minor pentatonic scale over A Minor chord and the rest of the chords you have to outline these by their shapes. All the shapes are already here. It’s easier to leave capo off in your mind and think just G Minor going to C Major and F, A Minor. And finding transition points… C Major… F Major… Or even in the first position. To C. C Major, F… Now — for the rhythm part you can just base it on the electric guitar’s part, but what I like to do is leave capo off and tune low E to D. And this way you will have this bottom end and also can play the full harmony. And there’s no “proper” way to play it since the song is so multilayered with all sorts of instruments like bouzouki, acoustic guitar, electric guitar high G electric guitar even and so on… So it’s not perfect… not a perfect acoustic song to play, but at least it will try. You can start with the basic D5 chord. It’s like D, but with A on top. And rhythm, again — down, up, down, up… Then to G5. I play it like [5×0033] A little bar here. Sli… hammer-on. First chord of the chorus is this full Dsus2 chord. Open A… Open E! To F, but what I like to do is to play F like an octave here, then open G string and a little bar up here. And it gives you this kind of Fsus sound. Then shift the whole thing here. Then, what I do is… is lift off fourth finger, replace it with a second finger, to give this kind of Major sound. And then shift the whole thing two frets. And again two frets. And it gives this kind of sus sound again, so it’s Dsus here, then Fsus here, Major, Dsus… Csus, and Dsus… To plain C. And again for the last time… And for the solo sequence — it’s just G Minor [5×5333] To C… F. [3×3211] D Minor. But what I like… I like to play it like that so first chord is like not the G minor but G Minor with Bb bass. And this is it, I hope you got all that you came for and learned something new. And see you again later. Thanks for watching!


  1. Английский с акцентом странно звучит. Почему не на русском? Зачем тогда в соц сетях раскручиваться в русских?

  2. Marvelous! Finally close up and personal with this MK trademark chicken picking, with high quality video and perfect angle. And I don't recall anyone has ever explained all details, for example this picking with pointer finger while thumb is still on the same string muting it. Another great thing you do is explaining really important bits, without beeing too elaborate on basics. Wow, you have just gave many of us new goal for 2017 🙂

  3. And those two dislikes, I don't get it, most likely from people never touching guitar in their lives. There is no other explanation.

  4. Just fantastic! It is like a Master Class on the style and technique of Mark Knopfler. The detail of your descriptions and explanation of technique are terrific. You are a muso for sure. Looking forward to more.

  5. Couple of my thoughts on this all.

    1. I decided to teach anything on one acoustic, since it would mean I can just put couple of microphones for my guitar and concentrate on music rather than to mess up with amps, settings, guitars, etc., there's much more resources on that topic.

    2. Accent. Yes, I know it can be annoying, but I'm constantly working on this as well, every day. I do it because I want to be a better musician and teacher anyway, also in the process I can share tons of things I already know about Mark's music.

    3. I'm not a professional musician anyway. I have a daytime job and doing alright, if you know what I mean. And this is good, too. This mean that anything, and I mean — anything what I play you can play regardless of your level of playing.

    Just give it some time.

  6. Perfect! Awesome! Best i have seen explainng Mark's technique. More please 🙂 You make it look incredibly easy when you play but this style takes a lot of work if your not used to it, constant practice on the down stroke and thumb. Thank you so much.

  7. Hi Pavel, thanks for your detailed explanation. Your Advanced Jumbo sounds very similar to MK's. What kind of strings are you using? Is the typical MK rythm style technique, working best on Rosewood guitars?

  8. If you listen to the version on Ragpickers Dream you can clearly hear a high A note ringing in the main A chord. Can be added by playing 5th fret on B string with pinky. In this way it stays an A5 chord and sounds more like the record. Probably these were different guitars in the studio but it can be done this way. On live version of Privateering bonus disc this note is less clear.

  9. Благодарю. Одна из любимых, особенно когда Марк играет вживую.

  10. Sounds great to your guitar. What material do you use instead of the standard bone at the site of the nut slot?Which strings you use?

  11. Pavel, first just want to say I'm loving your videos. Great skill. I think the thing I find deceptively difficult – and I've played for 20 years – is getting Mark's rhythm down. You've nailed it and it makes all the difference to the sound

  12. I have found much more in your teaching than I expected. From Spain, thank you very much.
    (You must know that besides that you are my American English teacher)

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