Chords and strumming

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Roxanne chords and strumming


‘Roxanne’ was the first single from The Police. It was written by Sting who eventually left the band to pursue a solo career.

Originally part of a new-wave/punk-pop band, Sting later settled down and wrote more jazz-influenced material. Since The Police, Sting has surrounded himself with the best session musicians that money could buy.

We can all learn a huge amount from how this prolific songwriter pens a hit song, be it an early or late composition.

Chord progression

‘Roxanne’s verse chord progression descends from VI – V – IV – III – II, before it moves up again from V to VI.

To make this work as a one guitar arrangement, place a capo on fret three and think of ‘Roxanne’ as if in the key of Em, like this:

Em | D | Cmaj7 | Bm7 | Am7 | D7 | E7sus4 | E7sus4 |

The last chord is neither major nor minor, when the verse starts again you really feel the minor chord, clever stuff.

The chorus uses the chords I, IV, V and VI.

That’s GCD and Em if you put the capo on fret three.

You’ll learn the bridge progression, get all the TAB and every lick you see in the video when you take the advanced course.

Roxanne in the guitar course

Spy Tunes’ version of ‘Roxanne’ is somewhere in between the original recording and one of the many acoustic versions Sting himself has played during his solo career.

When you take the advanced guitar course, we go all the way with ‘Roxanne’ as we learn everything in the video lesson using complete TAB.

As well as this we also improvise over the verse chord progression using a new mode for every chord.

The song never changes key, it does however clearly move from a minor verse to a major chorus.

This is seemingly the simplest way to write a song but actually, it’s the hardest as you have no tricks to rely on. Few artists can do this well, Sting is one of the masters.

Related Pages

Roxanne – Lyrics

RoxanneRoxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light
Those days are over
You don’t have to sell your body to the night
Roxanne, you don’t have to wear that dress tonight
Walk the streets for money

For complete lyrics, go to Roxanne lyrics.

Sting – Biography

sting-thumbSting is an English musician who, prior to his solo career, had a band called The Police, with Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers.

Formed by drummer Stewart Copeland in 1977, The Police reached worldwide success after releasing their first single ‘Roxanne’ only a year after they formed the band.

To find out more, go to Sting biography.


Learning how to play guitar is best done through playing and learning from songs.

The advanced songs require you to learn 7th note chords and modal scales. This will be revolutionary for your understanding of the guitar fretboard.

To see all lessons in the advanced course, go to Advanced Guitar Course


These are pretty advanced exercises. You’ll be playing 7th note chords, arpeggios and modes all over the neck.

But don’t fret – As you’ve already mapped out the fretboard with pentatonic scales and barre chords, extending the concept is actually really simple.

Preview the exercises from the course here: Advanced Guitar Lessons


Learn how to play famous advanced songs.

‘Angels’, ‘Baby Won’t You Please Come Home’, ‘Blackbird’, ‘Cannonball’, ‘Close To You’, ‘Creepin’ In’, ‘Don’t Wait Too Long’, ‘I Shot The Sheriff’, ‘Over The Rainbow’, ‘Roxanne’, ‘Scarborough Fair’, ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’, ‘Take Me To The River’, ‘Tears In Heaven’, and ‘Wish You Were Here’.

To preview each song, go to Advanced Acoustic Songs

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Including detailed, but bite-sized explanations on how the music theory of each song is applied to the neck.

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