Like I’m sure many of us did, I awoke with great shock and sadness at the news of David Bowie’s passing on January 10th. I have recently completed a transcription book of some of his most revered basslines, and the process of doing so made me appreciate his songcraft even more. I’ve included one of my favourites here, Ziggy Stardust from 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
The way Trevor Bolder navigates the meandering chord progression is fascinating, using chromatic leading notes and upper register fills to link the root notes. It’s very inventive and deceptively tricky to play, with barely any repetition to help us through. Keep an eye on the rhythmic subtleties too, there are a few off beat sixteenth notes that might catch you out.