Guitarist of the week - Andy Summers


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beatallica_fan
06-16-2003, 10:35 AM
In place of guitar of the week Dmal and I have decided to try something new, Guitarist of the Week. Each addition will focus on a particular player, there techniques, gear etc. We're gonna try top focus on less well known players. For the first addition im gonna be talking about Andy Summers from the Police.

Andy Summers is one of the most innovative players you could come across. Ill be focusing on his work with the police, firstly with a quick analysis of one of there most famous songs, Roxanne and then by a small tune i composed in the style of Andy.

So first to roxanne, this was the polices first hit. The intro and verse are played with staccato partial chord stabs following this chord progrssion, Gm, F6, Ebmaj7, Dm7, Cm7, Fsus4, Gsus4. The chords are played as follows

--3----1----6----5----3-----1-----3--------
--3----3----8----6----4-----1-----3--------
--3----2----7----5----3-----3-----5--------
------------8----7----5-----x-----x---------
----------------------------3-----5---------
------------------------------------------------
Gm F6 Ebmaj7 Dm7 Cm7 Fsus4 Gsus4


Now on first glance that looks a very tricky chord progression, but lets look a bit closer. First ill analyse the Gm, Ebmaj7 and Cm7, now what notes make up those apparently different chords. Gm (G Bb D) Ebmaj7 (Eb Bb G D) and Cm7 (C G Bb Eb), now those chords share many common tones, all three contain G and Bb the root and minor third of the songs key. In fact they are very closely related as illustrated below.

--3-----3---6---6---3---3-----------------
--3-----3---8---8---3---4-----------------
--3-----3---7---7---3---3-----------------
--5-----1---8---5---5---5-----------------
---------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------------
Gmin - Ebmaj7 - G min - Cmin7

We can see from the tab above that by simply altering one note we can change the chord completely. Because Andy uses partial chord stabs he is deliberately being ambiguous about the chords, it is only the playing of the bassist which gives the chords there final tonaltiy. Lets look at F6 and Dm7 also, F6 (F C A D) and Dm7 (D A F and C) they share exactly the same notes and again only Sting bass playing defines the tonality. This approach is similar to the use of substitution in jazz, where chords can be swopped for similar chords to keep the tune interesting. Getting down to bare bones this tune could simply be Gm and then Dm repeated a few times prior to the sus4 chords, but by substituting harmonically similar chords in a much more interesting chords sequence is created. Most of the rest of the song is power chords which are more the more effective and 'powerful' when constrasted with the rich chords which preceed them.

Now ill share with you the small tune i wrote in the style of andy, this uses his most famous technique, the use of sus2/add9 chords or as there sometimes called stacked fifths. These are chords which contain the second note (so in A major ABC#DEF#G# it would be any chord with B in it). If the chord also contains the third it is an add9 chord, if not its a sus2. The name stacked fifths comes from the fact that each subsequent chord tone is a fifth above the previous, see below




---------------------
---------------------
-7----------7--------
-5-----5-------------
-3-3-----------------
---------------------

This is Csus2( C G D, note no 3rd) the interval C - G is a fifth, the interval G - D is also a fifth, hence stacked fifth, it could alomost be viewed as two power chords on top of each other. Enough theory heres the tune. I started with a basic chord sequence of A C#min, F#min and E major, applying the techniques described above i came up with the following.


-----------------------------------
---------2---------------2---------
-----4-------4-------4-------4-----
---2---2---2---2---2---2---2---2---
-0---------------4-----------------
-----------------------------------

-----------------------------------
-----------------------------------
---------4---------------2---------
-----2-------2-------2-------2-----
---4---4---4---4---4---4---4---4---
-2---------------0-----------------


Thats the verse progression, it would be accompanied by these chords either played on a second guitar or keyboard.

-0---------------0-----------------
-0---------------0-----------------
-6---------------6-----------------
-7---------------6-----------------
-0---------------4-----------------
-----------------------------------

-0---------------0-----------------
-0---------------0-----------------
-11--------------9-----------------
-11--------------9-----------------
-9---------------7-----------------
-----------------------------------

Then theres a small chorus progression repeated twice, during this point i utilise another of andys techniques, harp harmonics, sounding the harmonic 12 frets above where the notes actually fretted.

H
---------------------------------12
---------------------------------12
---------8---8-----------11--13----
-----6-------6-------9-------------
-4-----------4---7-----------------
-----------------------------------
H
---------------------------------12
---------------------------------12
---------8-(20)----------11--13----
----6-(18)-----------9-------------
-4-(16)----------7-----------------
-----------------------------------

Thats about it really for technique. Recommended listening includes Message in a bottle, Roxanne, Walking on the moon, Cant stand losing you, Every little thing and of course every breath you take. To get Andys sound a single coil guitar is preferable (Andy favoured a telecaster), but not essential, you will need plenty of delay chorus and compression, and go easy on the distorsion, he hardly ever used any.

beatallica_fan
06-16-2003, 01:52 PM
Oh and by the way feedback is welcome, nay compulsory. I dont do this stuff for the good of my health, the more feedback i get the better the next one will be.

korn_maniac
06-16-2003, 02:23 PM
that was really in-depth! took me a few re-reads to take it all in but great all the same!

StreamLine
06-16-2003, 02:31 PM
i agree.... i picked up a thing or two about how to write chord progressions from that.

great idea beat - killing two rabbits with one shot (ok that sounded crap.... ) - being a good theory lesson and revealing a new guitarist... i will definetely check some of the stuff suggested with interest.

:cheers:

beatallica_fan
06-16-2003, 03:29 PM
Excellent, glad you both found it helpful, thanks for the feedback. If anyone is struggling with any of the ideas covered please say and i will explain further, it is hard to know where to aim stuff like this when we have such a wide variety of guitar playing experience on the forum.

cold_static544
06-16-2003, 07:35 PM
Whoa, very good beat, i think its wonderful, maybe we should focus on some underrated but nonetheless wonderful guitarists, i.e Jeff Buckley, John Scofield, BIll frisell etc. etc.

:cheers:

power freak
06-18-2003, 10:15 AM
I don't really lke the plice but this is great it will deffinately improve my chordal knowledge!!!!!!!!!:cheers:

ninjaadam44
06-22-2003, 04:05 PM
i agree with the above... learn about a guitarist, and the actual theory behind their style. very good idea, and very well done. good stuff. :cheers:

invertedflag
06-23-2003, 05:23 PM
the police started out as a punk band

Berlioz96
06-23-2003, 06:17 PM
Lemme do a Guitarist of the week!

beatallica_fan
06-29-2003, 03:58 AM
Originally posted by Berlioz96
Lemme do a Guitarist of the week!

OK post it when its ready and ill sticky it.