Skip to main content

Learn the signature Police guitar chords of Andy Summers

Andy Summers
(Image credit: Pete Still/Redferns)

Andy Summers work with The Police is not the stuff on a conventional rock guitar hero. Schooled in jazz, Andy’s unique style, and signature voice, is founded on his use of interesting chords. In this lesson we’re going to check out four kinds of chords that will instantly add some Andy Summers magic to your guitar playing.

Add9 power chords 

Chord

(Image credit: Future)

This is probably the Andy Summers signature chord shape. This is the chord that most players associate with Summers’ style.

As the name suggests, an Add9 power chord is a power chord with an additional 9th note added at the top, creating an Add9. On paper, it looks like two power chords stacked on top of each other. You can root these from the E or A string.


Major and minor four-string Add9 chords

Chord

(Image credit: Future)

Chord

(Image credit: Future)

If you wish to extend the Add9 idea a little further, as Andy often does, you can choose to add a major or a minor 3rd at the top to give you major or minor add9 chords.

These add an extra level of harmonic complexity to the chord sound. Think of them as dominant 7 or Minor 7chords with the b7 switched for a 9. Andy can often be heard arpeggiating these.


Reggae chords

Chord

(Image credit: Future)

Chord

(Image credit: Future)

Chord

(Image credit: Future)

Andy often took a reggae approach to guitar playing and would play chord fragments, leaving the lower notes to the rhythm section.

These fragments can be applied to any chord type, but here are some examples of a major and minor chords that he would use.


7sus4 chords

Chord

(Image credit: Future)

The 7sus4 is a chord that all you Police fans might recognise as the Walking On The Moon chord. This is a Dominant 7 chord with the major 3rd raised to a 4. Summers would often switch out the bass note to leave space for the bass guitar. 

In the track Walking on the Moon he plays a G7sus4/D, the G note is the highest note of the chord.

The recording of The Police's Walking On The Moon: "That guitar chord Andy came up with was just mind-blowing”

Leigh Fuge is a guitar player and content creator with a love for all things '80s. When he’s not creating gear demos for his Youtube channel he’s teaching students via his online guitar course Right Notes Music Tuition. Off camera he spends most of his time travelling around the UK performing at functions and corporate events.  www.instagram.com/leighfugeguitar