100 Greatest Guitarists: David Fricke's Picks

From Jerry Garcia and Joan Jett to B.B. King and Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stone critic chooses the best and most influential guitarists in rock

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Mark Knopfler
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27. Mark Knopfler

Dire Straits founder and solo artist Mark Knopfler emerged at a time when guitar virtuosos were spurned by punks and New Wavers. Yet from the first stinging notes of "Sultans of Swing," Knopfler's roots-based approach and supple, burnished leads found almost universal appeal. A fingerpicker who favors Fender Stratocasters — a Knopfler-designed Strat was introduced in July as part of Fender's "Artist Series" — he's known for his rich tone, sinuous melodicism and rangy, fluid solos. "My sound is fingers on a Strat," he once said.

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