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Sting and The Police - Picked or Fingered?

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

  1. 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

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    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 Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    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:

  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Back in the Police heyday, I don't ever recall seeing Sting using anything but a pick.
  7. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    I agree. Pick or thumb-pick.
  8. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2000
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    Here's the 1983 Synchonicity Tour. He's playing a white Spector with a pick.
  9. bassfart


    May 5, 2008
    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.
  10. ERIC31


    Jul 1, 2002
    Maricopa, AZ
    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.
  11. ggvicviper

    ggvicviper Yamaha, Fender, Rickenbacker, BSX. I'm Marc!

    Jul 16, 2011
    East Meadow, NY, USA
    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?
  12. matey


    Sep 17, 2012
    wild wild oz
    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:
  13. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
  14. drummike


    Oct 20, 2010
    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.
  15. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    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.
  16. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Observe - no pick! :eek:

  17. andreaska


    Mar 10, 2009
    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
  18. ERIC31


    Jul 1, 2002
    Maricopa, AZ
    The Police live at Hatfield Polytechnic 21.02.1979

    Fretless P-Bass from the get go! =)