“Am I a good bassist? I’m a f**king good bassist!” Sting on bass playing, Cream and his “battered looking” P-Bass

Sting performs at Mediolanum Forum of Assago on December 11, 2023 in Milan, Italy.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

You may know him as the guy who fronts The Police, or the solo artist who sold a gazillion copies of songs like Fields Of Gold, Russians, Englishman in New York and all the other tunes that are now in your head because you just read their titles. Or you may recognise him for acting in Quadrophenia, Dune, Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels and what have you. Your kids know him as the funny levitating guy from Bee Movie. Everyone knows Sting for something.

In bass world, though, we know the guy as Gordon Sumner, the ex-teacher born in 1951 who played in jazz and fusion bands before forming The Police in 1977, playing whopping great bass guitar parts and being a massive rock star. Fretted, fretless, double bass, eight-string – the man was unstoppable on bass, filling up the empty spaces within the trio format of The Police with a variety of lines, from the simple to the finger-threateningly complex.

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Joel McIver

Joel McIver was the Editor of Bass Player magazine from 2018 to 2022, having spent six years before that editing Bass Guitar magazine. A journalist with 25 years' experience in the music field, he's also the author of 35 books, a couple of bestsellers among them. He regularly appears on podcasts, radio and TV.