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Sting and The Police - Picked or Fingered?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Misterwogan, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. Misterwogan

    Misterwogan

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    Was Sting a fingerer or a picker or both? Listening to the songs, I can definitely hear the P-Bass tone but can't make out how they are picked. I watched an old live performance of Roxanne and he was using the pick - but it sounded fingered to me.

    Any thoughts or insights?
  2. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

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    Definitely both. And Sting varied his approach from studio to live, so you never know. But his tendency was using a pick on the early stuff (Outlandos, Reggatta) and then switching to fingerstyle.
  3. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player

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    He also incorporates the thumb-plucking technique (NOT as in slap) for a deeper, rounder tone. McCartney does it as well.

    And, as Robbie Shakespeare does:

    [​IMG]
  4. Revolver

    Revolver

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  5. bassbrad

    bassbrad

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    To further complicate matters in the studio Sting would often double bass parts on upright bass or electric upright and on a few occasions a keyboard.
  6. Misterwogan

    Misterwogan

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    Yes, I've just watched The Police in concert in Tokyo 2007 and he is doing the thumb thing on Message in a Bottle.

    I guess that for covers, it's just a case of picking the right style for the song.

    I've done Roxanne on a P-Bass with a pick, and it just sounds very trebly but it works for the 8th notes in the chorus with alternate picking.
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    Back in the Police heyday, I don't ever recall seeing Sting using anything but a pick.
  8. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

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    I agree. Pick or thumb-pick.
  9. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt Supporting Member

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    Here's the 1983 Synchonicity Tour. He's playing a white Spector with a pick.
  10. GLEN18INCHSPICA

    GLEN18INCHSPICA

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  11. bassfart

    bassfart Gold Supporting Member

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    You should try rolling the tone off a bit and palm muting near the bridge for the verse sections, you should get the sound you're looking for.
  12. ERIC31

    ERIC31

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    Regatta De Blanc is my go-to Police CD. From what I can tell he plays his fretless P with a pick on a lot of it. I wouldn't say for sure though. I play my fretted P with a pick through a chorus pedal to simulate his sound on Walking On The Moon. Works pretty good to my ears.
  13. ggvicviper

    ggvicviper P is the Key. Call me Marc or Marky Potatoes. Gold Supporting Member

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    Isolated Bass Track for Message in a Bottle.



    Definitely a picked fretless bass. I think it's the Ibanez Musician, as it sounds like two pickups. Could be wrong - thoughts?
  14. matey

    matey

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    walking on the moon is about the only song i can play and it sounds a lot better wif a pick aparently thats how he plays it :oops:
  15. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye

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  16. drummike

    drummike

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    Listening to the Melbourne 1981 bootleg, at some point between songs, Sting asks for a "plectrum." I think it was right before "Shadows in the Rain" which I thought he played fingerstyle on his Van Zalinge EUB, but it's possible he was using his fretless Precision or Ibanez.
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    I could swear he used his EUB on "Shadows" at the concert I saw in 80, though I must admit it was 30 years ago ;) He used that and a red fretless Precision.
  18. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player

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    Observe - no pick! :eek:

    [​IMG]
  19. andreaska

    andreaska

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    Nice to hear that. I'm realy sure that is the fretless Precision played with pick.
    And I think he got that Ibanez Musician just after the recording was released. Though you can see that bass in the video.

    Does anybody know a isolated bass track for "walking on the moon"?
    The bass in the beginning sounds different to the end...

    Regards from Germany
    Andreas
  20. ERIC31

    ERIC31

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    The Police live at Hatfield Polytechnic 21.02.1979



    Fretless P-Bass from the get go! =)

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