There aren’t that many legendary musicians that can be compared to David Bowie. He was a constant influence and provider of incredible songs for over five decades.
The man had style, talent, and energy that is rarely seen today. Unfortunately he left us this year, and in the wake of his departure we are left to listen to his legacy. Bowie left us with so many great songs making it really hard to pinpoint the best one.
We are not even going to try to do that today. With that said, we can all probably agree that Space Oddity is one of his more popular songs that is still being played with high frequency today.
There’s no better way to pay respects to Bowie than to play his songs by yourself. The goal of this article is to show you how to play Space Oddity on acoustic guitar, and walk you through each step of the way.
We will look at the chords you will need for this song, how to transition between chords in a way that is easy even for beginner players, and the strumming patterns. Without further ado, let’s dig right in.
An easy song to play
In terms of difficulty, Space Oddity is an easy song to play for anyone who has some experience with playing different chords and switching between them. After all, Bowie was the kind of guy who managed to do more with less.
We can divide the song in four different sections which all share pretty much the same strumming pattern although it becomes more fluid down the line and requires you to add and remove strums here and there. The song is played in the key of C with the addition of some pretty strange chords as you are about to find out.
The intro starts with F followed by Em. You play this two times. When the first verse starts with “Ground control to Major Tom” part, the chords for this part are C followed by Em. Repeat this two times following the lyrics. “Take your protein pills…” part brings on the first large section of the song.
The line starts with Am followed by Am with a G base and goes to D7. When we say Am with a G base, it means that you will take your pinky finger and put it on the G note of the low E string. It might be somewhat tricky to play this right away, but you will get this with practice. After playing that chords, you go to D7. These chords are followed with C-Em combination. Repeat this whole section (Am-Am/G-D7) again and then we go into the next part
The next part starts with C chord followed with an E7 and then an F chord. We suggest that you play the F chord as a barre chord because it is followed by a Fm chord which is easier to play in barre configuration as you only need to lift your middle finger.
After Fm you got C and regular F chords. These three chords are repeated twice. You repeat this whole section again starting with the C-E7-F and ending with Fm-C-F. Next section starts with F7M going into Em7. This is played two times.
Next section starts with a very tricky chord. Bb7M is somewhat hard to grip, but it’s made easier if you use a barre chord. So you have Bb7M followed by Am, G, F. What follows is an instrumental that includes these chords: C-F-G-A played in quick succession two times.
You walk out of this instrumental with this chord progression: F7M-Em7-A-C-D-E. After the instrumental you have the same section like we mentioned before that goes C-E7-F followed by two times Fm-C-F. You could call this the verse.
Next is a bridge that includes Am-Am/G-D7-C-G. After the bridge you repeat the F7M-Em7 section along with the Bb7M-Am-G-F.
By and large..
The song can be quite confusing, but once you figure out when each section is played, it becomes much easier to understand. Listen to how Bowie plays it in the original recording, and you will figure out where each little detail goes.
Hopefully this little tutorial helped you tackle this song.