Mess age In A Bottl e
Just a castaway, no chorus but some clean
Player Andy Summers Al bum Regatta de Bl anc (1979)
Let’s get straight to it, is it a chorus or is it a flanger? A fair amount of people hold this tone up as a classic example of the marriage between electric guitar and the chorus effect. But it’s not. Summers used an Electro-harmonix Electric Mistress flanger, but to be fair its character is quite a watery shimmer. Summers would add a Boss CE-2 to his board later in the
trio’s touring life but it’s perhaps odd his early work with The Police is so associated with an effect he didn’t actually use on his most iconic tones. Nevertheless, it’s not the only pedal involved here.
Listen and you’ll notice how he ups the shimmery ante in the chorus as his chords ring out; some claim it’s MXR’S classic Dyna Comp compressor (at the end of the chain) and tape delay in the mix - likely an Echoplex unit. TG’S ears don’t actually detect the latter in most of the song though.
He was a one-guitar man in the early days playing a 1963 Telecaster that had already been modded by the time Summers bought it with some unusual features to make it a versatile instrument (a Gibson PAF neck humbucker and an out of phase switch). More unusual was its built-in preamp controlled by an on/off switch and a gain control. “It was the one guitar I used for everything,” Andy told us. “I did start using a Strat later on, but this was the Tele that got used all the time, on all the records. It had everything I needed in one.”
Amp specifics are tricky says the man himself… “I can’t remember a fucking thing about the amps on The Police records… it makes me laugh,” he told us earlier this year. That stuff is for the real nerds.” Sorry, Andy, we are guilty as charged!
police squad Sting is shocked to see Summers using a flanger pedal rather than chorus