Learn How To Play Roxanne

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

Spytunes’ 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


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

Go to Roxanne lyrics.


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.

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 fret board.

Go to Advanced guitar course.


You can learn how to play these advanced songs on the acoustic guitar.

Angels, Baby Won’t You Please Come Home, Blackbird, Cannonball, 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.

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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