Sting: “The More You Play an Instrument, the More Responsive It Is”

(Image credit: Jeff Kravitz/AMA2016/Getty Images)

Sting recently sat down with Music Radar to discuss gear and his new album, 57th & 9th.

Chief among the subjects was his 1957 Fender Precision bass. After using it for 25 years, Sting says there is a nature spiritual about playing it.

“One thing I’m particular about is my bass, which I’ve had for a quarter of a century,” Sting says. “It’s from 1957, which is almost as old as me, and it’s a P-Bass, and it’s really been carved by use.

“It’s very, very battered looking, but it has a growl that a modern bass guitar simply does not possess. It has a roundwound pickup. I imagine Leo Fender himself put it on a lathe to make it, and it’s got a genuine spirit.

“When you play an instrument, the more you play it, the more responsive it is. It’s almost spiritual, if you can say that about an inanimate piece of wood. For me it’s not inanimate: it’s got a character.”

Sting’s backup bass for touring is a 1954 Precision, “which I don’t use as often, and so is less responsive,” he says. “But it’s still a beautiful bass. I don’t have that many instruments.”

All in all, it’s a refreshing point of view when you consider how some musicians own a music store’s worth of gear that seldom gets played.

In the interview below, Sting’s guitar tech, Danny Quatrochi, talks about his 1957 Fender Precision and other beloved vintage basses.

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Christopher Scapelliti is editor-in-chief of Guitar Player (opens in new tab) magazine, the world’s longest-running guitar magazine, founded in 1967. In his extensive career, he has authored in-depth interviews with such guitarists as Pete Townshend, Slash, Billy Corgan, Jack White, Elvis Costello and Todd Rundgren, and audio professionals including Beatles engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott. He is the co-author of Guitar Aficionado: The Collections: The Most Famous, Rare, and Valuable Guitars in the World (opens in new tab), a founding editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine, and a former editor with Guitar WorldGuitar for the Practicing Musician and Maximum Guitar. Apart from guitars, he maintains a collection of more than 30 vintage analog synthesizers.