David Bowie’s Chameleon Guitar Styles


david_bowie_ziggy_stardustRIP David Bowie. Bowie was associated with many brilliant guitarists during his career, covering a range of styles, from Mick Ronson‘s glam rock guitar during the Ziggy Stardust period to Carlos Alomar‘s funk grooves on Young Americans and Station to Station, Adrian Belew and Robert Fripp’s outside, avant guarde sounds during the ‘Berlin‘ phase and Stevie Ray Vaughan‘s stylings on ‘Let’s Dance’.

David Bowie was (I’m really finding it difficult and weird to have to talk about him in past tense!) also an excellent guitarist in his own right, and his simple, highly melodic approach added highlights to many of his hits. I’ve always loved Bowie’s guitar solo on ‘Space Oddity’; the way he hangs on that E7 chord. (Click here for video tutorial). Bowie played all the guitar on ‘Diamond Dogs’, producing what NME critics Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray described as a “scratchy, raucous, semi-amateurish sound that gave the album much of its characteristic flavour” (source: Wikipedia). ‘Eight Line Poem‘ from ‘Hunky Dory’ is a poignant piece of country rock playing. (Click here for video cover).

Here’s a nice tutorial on how to play the funky guitar from Bowie’s first American hit, ‘Fame’ from ‘Young Americans’. All three guitar parts are included; great fun to play: (Click here for video tutorial)




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