Stings Police Arsenal

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by pontz, Jul 29, 2005.

  1. pontz


    Oct 31, 2003
    I kinda dig Sting's tone from the Police days, Synchronicity, etc. Anyone know what his rig was like?

  2. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    He played a lot of basses. Early on I think a P bass. In the middle he played an Ibanez Musician a lot, in the end lots of USA Spectors.
  3. pontz


    Oct 31, 2003
    Thanks, I thought it was probably a P-bass. Any I dea what he played through.
  4. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    I've seen some early shots of him with a Jazz as well. I think he mentioned in an interview somewhere having a Steinberger too.
  5. Couldn't tell ya what he played in studio, but live during syncronicity era, he used a spector.

    I've seen him rawk his single coil P, and a fretless Ibanez, and a J at some point, and I wouldn't rule out the Steinberger either...

    I remember Andy used a Ritter guitar in the sync. video. cool stuff.
    joebar likes this.
  6. The Lurker

    The Lurker

    Aug 16, 2002
    he also used a fretless 70's pbass with maple FB for a while. If memory serves, he started witha pbass, got a fretless pbass, went to the ibanez musician, and thence to spectors around the time of Synchronicity.
  7. I saw a picture of him very early on with a sunburst Fender Jazz
  8. Blazer


    Nov 27, 2003
    The Netherlands
    Rogue luthier employed at Knooren Handcrafted bass guitars
    Sting's first bass guitar was a mid sixties stripped finish Fender jazz bass with a tortoise shell plate. A bass that he used throughout his career.

    When the Police released their first album Sting bought a maple neck fretless Precision bass (which can be seen in the video for "Roxanne") which he used as his main live bass with his Jazz as back up.

    Later Ibanez took Sting in as endorser and he's was playing a brown fretless Musician bass using a Blonde maple neck fretless Roadster bass as back up.

    During that time Sting got in touch with a Dutch Luthier called Henk Van Zalinge who was one of the first making electric Double basses that played and sounded like accoustic double basses. He bought one and uses it till this day.

    One of the weirdest basses Sting got hold of was an eight string fretless Hamer Blitz bass. Hamer also provided him a Phantom Bass guitar.

    But in the later years Sting played Spectors and Steinbergers.
  9. Muzique Fann

    Muzique Fann Howzit brah

    Dec 8, 2003
    Kauai, HI
    Yeah, I have a live dvd where he plays the Steinberger and also that weird double bass thing. His pants are way too tight.
  10. Ampeg SVT amp plus 8x10" speaker box, at least until 1980.

    And @ Blazer: Thanks for the very detailled list and the cool pics!
    I also remember him playing a maple neck fretless Precision bass in red which he was using for a Eurovision TV event in 1980, the german "Rockpalast". He had a phaser effect switched on through the whole thing - didn't always sound great.
  11. Vox Populi

    Vox Populi Reggae Loving Honkey

    Jan 27, 2004
    Poulsbo, WA
    I think I remember reading he used his jazz for most of his studio work.

    But I played one of those Japanese '51 P reissues today, and it sounded sweet.
  12. Some of his stuff sounds P-ish, such as Message in a Bottle. Walking on the Moon seems to be his fretless P. This is just what I can gather from hearing the records. Roxanne sounds like a J, maybe. Later stuff sounds distinctly different, possibly his Spectors. Try to listen to the different albums and get a taste of each tone. It's hard to say what he used in studio, but Blazer's list is pretty cool!
    A. D. Fairhurst likes this.
  13. According to what I remember from an interview with him, Sting actually recorded two identical bass tracks for that song but using a different instrument for each take.
  14. Splanky


    Jun 10, 2002
    Gothenburg Sweden
    I have a VHS called From Outlandos to Syncronicity or something like that and covers most of The Police career

    The basses notised on the video is:

    The already mentioned stripped 60´s Jazz
    A Natural maple neck fretless P
    A Fiesta/Dakota red maple neck fretless P with black pg.
    Natural Ibanez Musician Fretless
    Cream Ibanez Musician Fretless
    Steinberger fretted
    Red Ibanez Iceman maple fretless
    White Spector
    A upright double bass

  15. Blazer


    Nov 27, 2003
    The Netherlands
    Rogue luthier employed at Knooren Handcrafted bass guitars
    Ibanez didn't have a bass version of the Iceman in those days. The bass you are referring to is Sting's Hamer Blitz bass. Which had an explorer shaped body white white bindings and eight strings. Sting is seen playing that bass in the video for "De-do-do-do De-da-da-da"

    Also that "Cream colored" Ibanez Fretless Musician bass you are referring to actually is a natural finish Fretless Ibanez Roadster (Roadster, not the later Roadstar), which has the same body shape and headstock shape of the Musician but was a bolt on neck bass. (In the roxanne video when Sting and Andy take to the sky, you can see the neckplate) here's a bass similar to the one Sting had.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    lesliegl likes this.
  16. to add to the list, I have the Uncut magazine special on the Police, and in the pic taken from a gig in Bombay. March 1980, Sting's playing a natural-finish 8-string Ibanez Musician fretless (8 tuners clearly visible on the headstock, and neck-thru).
  17. I'm not so sure about the "bolt-on neck" bit, though - There are a few pics of Sting playing that bass in the booklet for the "Zenyatta Mondatta" album (unfortunately very tiny ones), and in one of them you can clearly see the typical neck-through-body stripes. The pick-ups look very "Musician', too (single coils with dark brown cover). Maybe it was a custom made Musician bass after all?!
  18. Splanky


    Jun 10, 2002
    Gothenburg Sweden
    Thank´s for the update Blazer! :)

  19. grooveguru


    Sep 14, 2000
    Central PA
    "I remember Andy used a Ritter guitar "

    That was actually a Gittler guitar.
    joebar likes this.
  20. KYJazzy

    KYJazzy Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2004
    Lexington, KY
    General eras:

    Outlandos D'Amour - 70s Jazz, 70s Fretless P's
    Regatta De Blanc - P, Ibanez Musician
    Zenyatta Mondatta - Musician, P
    Ghost in the Machine - Steinberger
    Synchronicity - White Spector NS2

    Through 2nd and 5th album, he's lovingly used 'Brian', the electric (and carved out) double bass mentioned.

    He's been known to always have a vintage P handy, just in case.

    This is just what I've collected from being a Police nut for most my life :)
    A. D. Fairhurst likes this.