How to play Money for Nothing on guitar

Photo of Dire Straits & Mark Knopfler
(Image credit: Larry Hulst/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Dire Straits’ iconic 1985 MTV-conquering anthem is the British rock outfit’s biggest single and one of guitarist Mark Knopfler’s defining riffs – all of which makes learning how to play Money for Nothing on guitar a rite of passage for aspiring rock players.

The song saw guitarist Mark Knopfler recording with a 1958 Les Paul instead of the Fender Stratocaster that had been so integral to his earlier work. Studio trickery and specialist recording techniques are a big part of the tone here – and Knopfler never fully recreated the sound in live shows, using at times the aforementioned Les Paul, his signature Pensa Suhr MK-1 and even a Steinberger GL2.

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Chris Bird

Chris has been the Editor of Total Guitar magazine since 2020. Prior to that, he was at the helm of Total Guitar's world-class tab and tuition section for 12 years. He's a former guitar teacher with 35 years playing experience and he holds a degree in Philosophy & Popular Music. Chris has interviewed Brian May three times, Jimmy Page once, and Mark Knopfler zero times – something he desperately hopes to rectify as soon as possible.