How I Learned To Simplify My Guitar Playing From Andy Summers

When it comes to playing guitar, some players have it in their head that the harder a piece is to play, the better. Luckily, this is not actually the case.

I'd like to share a story with you about a time when I was in high school and there was this song by The Police that I really liked to play. I played it at least in two separate bands. Little did I know, I was playing the tune wrong the entire time.

Why? Because I was stretching out my fingers and exerting myself in ways I didn't need to. This ended up sounding bad because you could hear the struggle in my playing.

It would be cool if I was able to tell you that I figured out what I was doing wrong right away, but what actually happened is that I eventually watched a clip of Andy Summers (the guitar player for The Police) playing the tune live. It was only then that I noticed how his fingering was different (and better) than mine.

That's why I wanted to make the following video. This is a very easy mistake you might also be making without realizing it. I am going to share with you the song and the fingering I was using back in the day. I will also go over some other examples where considering your fingering (even for only a few minutes) will really help you in the long run.

So now that you've watched this video, can you think of instances where this shown up in your own playing? Or perhaps a song that you'd like to look at a little closer? Feel free to tell me in a comment below!

Tommaso Zillio is a professional prog rock/metal guitarist and composer based in Edmonton, AB, Canada.

Tommaso is currently working on an instrumental CD, and an instructional series on fretboard visualization and exotic scales. He is your go-to guy for any and all music theory-related questions.

Tommaso Zillio