Getting That Sound; Andy Summers

author: belavista man date: 08/05/2010 category: the guide to
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An Introduction; Well, if you want to be EXACTLY like Andy, you're going to have some trouble. His equipment is old and, let's face facts, expensive. Here's a brief list of his main weapons-of-choice from his Police career. I will later explain as best as I can how you can sound something like him, but for a fraction of the price... Main Guitars; - a beat-up 1961 Custom Sunburst Fender Telecaster (his main and most noteable guitar). The guitar has a brass Tele bridge with a standard Tele bridge pickup, a humbucker at the neck, a 'pre-amp' switch and a rear-mounted over-drive unit (which is controlled by a third nob located below the volume and tone). - a 60's red Fender Stratocaster Amp; - A Marshall Stack, with a Roland Jazz/Chorus combi. Effects; - Roland G303 guitar/pedal - which are no longer in production. - A custom (made by Pete Cornish) pedal-board with a number of various effects on it. An Easier Way Around All This; It's obvious that you're not going to get exactly the same sound without buying expensive. But you can at least come close. I've found myself that you don't have to have a brilliant Fender to come close to Andy's sound. I use a Vintage TC200B (a Fender Telecaster copy), and it sounds great. Even a Squier Tele might do the job. When it comes to effects, there's a few things that are a must. You need a good chorus effect, a good delay, and foot-switch wouldn't hurt either. Andy generally plays clean, but for solos and such, you really need the added push of the distortion channel. Now the big problem is the Roland G303, which are no longer being made. These ultra heavy and frankly awkward guitar/effect units are a pain in every sense of the word, but that was how Andy did it. Roland now make an effects unit called the Roland GR-20 - a pedal which works in the same way as the G303 did, but without the hassle. It basically gets the same sounds as a keyboard, as well as getting that odd phasing sound that Andy gets on 'Don't Stand So Close To Me' and 'Regatta De Blanc'. If you want good delay/chorus pedals, look for Boss. If you want cheaper (but with a little interference), look at Behringer. If you wanted to not get the Roland due to expenses there is alternatives, though they won't sound anywhere near as good. You can combine a phaser pedal with the chorus and a wha (if used properly - that could take quite some practice though. Plus it probably wouldn't sound quite right). A flanger might help, but I don't know. Amps... Well, a Marshall stack wouldn't go amiss, but a general combi will do. I use a Hiwatt Maxwatt G40 12R - it has a good clean channel and a fairly good distortion channel. Not exactly Marshall standard at all, but it'll do. Your clean channel needs to be quite trebbly, and the distortion channel needs to have a fair crunch, but not too much - you're not playing Metallica, remember. I wouldn't recommend buying a cheap Marshall combi - they usually don't sound too nice at all. Prices; Here's the list - trust me, it's a lot cheaper than trying to be the same as Summers himself. You can probably get all this equipment (or better equiment) for even cheaper, all you gotta do is shop around. Don't take my word for eveything, this is just off personal experience. Just REMEMBER! If you buy cheap, you get what you pay for. Prices are roughly calculated. - Vintage TC200B - 200 ...OR... - Squier Telecaster - 120/150 - BOSS CH-1 'Super Chorus' - 60 ...OR... - Behringer UC-200 'Ultra Chorus' - 25/30 - BOSS DD-3 Digital Delay - 100/110 ...OR... - Behringer DD400 Digital Delay - 25 - Roland GR-20 - 470/500 - Marshall footswitch - 10/20 - HiWatt Maxwatt - 200/250 ...OR... - Marshall MG4 Half-Stack (Example) - 450 All this adds up to... Cheapest (according to this list) - around 800/850 Highest (according to this list)- around 1300/1400 Like I said, you can find cheaper equipment than what I've mentioned if you look hard enough. Buy second hand, if you can. Local Shops, eBay, try everywhere before actually buying. Those numbers mentioned may look a little daunting, but in the long run, it's not that much. If you collect all these things over the course of a few years, it'll be much, much easier. Think possitive! And look on the bright side, if you wanted to have a cope of Andy's guitar made, that alone would cost you around 2500... Let's not try and imagine how much his collected equipment would cost to buy...
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