Mastering the Space Oddity Chords: A Journey Through David Bowie’s Iconic Song

Welcome to a captivating journey through the enchanting world of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the mesmerizing chords of this iconic song and unravel the magic behind its composition. 

Whether you’re a seasoned musician or just starting your musical adventure, this article will provide you with all the tools you need to master the space oddity chords and create your cosmic melodies. So strap on your guitar and get ready to embark on an intergalactic musical expedition!

1. The Story Behind “Space Oddity”:

Before we dive into the intricacies of the space oddity chords, let’s uncover the fascinating story behind this legendary song. 

“Space Oddity” was released by David Bowie in 1969 and tells the tale of Major Tom, an astronaut who embarks on a space mission. 

The song’s haunting melodies and thought-provoking lyrics captured the imagination of listeners, establishing Bowie as a visionary artist. Now, let’s delve into the chords that form the backbone of this cosmic masterpiece.

2. Exploring the Space Oddity Chords:

To truly capture the essence of “Space Oddity,” it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the chords that bring the song to life. 

The main chords used in the song are G major, Em, C, and D. These chords when played together, create a cosmic atmosphere that mirrors the song’s celestial theme. Let’s take a closer look at each of these chords and their finger placements.

G major:

  • Chord Shape: 320033
  • Finger Placement: Index finger on the 2nd fret of the A string, middle finger on the 3rd fret of the low E string, ring finger on the 3rd fret of the B string, and pinky finger on the 3rd fret of the high E string.


  • Chord Shape: 022000
  • Finger Placement: Place your index finger on the 2nd fret of the A string and strum all the strings except the low E string.


  • Chord Shape: x32010
  • Finger Placement: Place your ring finger on the 3rd fret of the A string, middle finger on the 2nd fret of the D string, and index finger on the 1st fret of the B string. Strum all the strings except the low E string.


  • Chord Shape: xx0232
  • Finger Placement: Place your index finger on the 2nd fret of the G string, middle finger on the 2nd fret of the high E string, and ring finger on the 3rd fret of the B string. Strum all the strings except the low E string.

3. Mastering the Verse Progression:

Now that we have familiarized ourselves with the space oddity chords, let’s explore the verse progression that forms the backbone of “Space Oddity.” The verse chords follow a pattern that repeats throughout the song, creating a sense of familiarity and continuity. The chord progression for the verse is as follows:

G – Em – C – D

Strum each chord for a few beats, allowing the sound to resonate before transitioning to the next chord. Experiment with different strumming patterns to find the one that resonates with your musical style.

4. Unveiling the Chorus Chords:

As we journey deeper into the space of oddity chords, we encounter the captivating chorus section. The chorus elevates the song’s intensity, and the chord progression creates a dynamic and emotional impact. The chords used in the chorus are:

Em – D – C – G

Each chord is played for a few beats, and the transitions should be smooth and seamless. Experiment with variations in strumming patterns to add your personal touch to the song.

5. Captivating Bridge Chords:

The bridge section of “Space Oddity” introduces a captivating change in the song’s atmosphere. The bridge chords deviate slightly from the verse and chorus, adding a sense of unpredictability and musical exploration. The bridge chords are:

C – D – Em

These chords bring a fresh dynamic to the song, leading listeners on a sonic journey through the depths of space.

6. Adding Depth with the Pre-Chorus Section:

To add depth and anticipation to the song, the pre-chorus section sets the stage for the chorus’s powerful impact. The pre-chorus chords are:

G – C – D

The pre-chorus acts as a musical build-up, preparing the listener for the climactic chorus section. Experiment with variations in strumming patterns and dynamics to create a mesmerizing musical arc.

7. Strumming Patterns and Techniques:

Now that you’re familiar with the space oddity chords, it’s time to explore different strumming patterns and techniques to add texture and flair to your performance. Here are a few strumming patterns to get you started:

  1. Down-Up Strum: Strum the strings downward and then upward, creating a steady rhythm.
  2. Fingerstyle Picking: Pluck the strings individually using your fingers to create a melodic and intricate sound.
  3. Palm Muting: Place the edge of your palm lightly on the strings near the bridge to create a muted and percussive effect.

Experiment with these techniques and develop your unique style that resonates with the cosmic essence of “Space Oddity.”

8. Tips for Singing Along

Playing the space oddity chords on the guitar is only half the journey. To truly capture the spirit of the song, consider singing along with your guitar. Here are a few tips to enhance your vocal performance:

  • Practice the melody separately before attempting to sing and play simultaneously.
  • Pay attention to the song’s dynamics and add emotional nuances to your vocals.
  • Experiment with different vocal styles and techniques to make the song your own.

Remember, singing and playing guitar simultaneously requires practice, so be patient and enjoy the process of honing your musical skills.

9. FAQ: Common Challenges and Solutions:

I’m having trouble transitioning between the chords. Any tips?

Smooth chord transitions require practice. Start by practicing each chord individually and then gradually transition between them. Slow down the tempo if needed and gradually increase your speed as you become more comfortable.

Can I play “Space Oddity” on an acoustic guitar?

Absolutely! “Space Oddity” sounds great on both electric and acoustic guitars. Experiment with different guitars to find the sound that resonates with you.

Are there any alternative chord voicings I can use?

While the standard chord voicings work well for “Space Oddity,” feel free to experiment with alternative voicings to add your personal touch. Just ensure that the overall harmonic structure remains intact.

How can I add embellishments to the chords?

Once you feel comfortable with the basic chords, you can explore embellishments like hammer-ons, pull-offs, and chord inversions to add complexity and flair to your performance.

Can I transpose the song to a different key?

Absolutely! If the original key doesn’t suit your vocal range or musical preference, feel free to transpose the space-oddity chords to a key that works better for you. Use a capo or adjust the finger positions accordingly.

Can I incorporate my improvisation into the song?

Certainly! “Space Oddity” provides a great foundation for improvisation. Experiment with different scales and melodic ideas to add your personal touch to the song.

10. Conclusion:

Congratulations on completing this cosmic journey through the space oddity chords! With the knowledge and techniques gained from this guide, you’re well-equipped to embark on your musical exploration of “Space Oddity” by David Bowie. 

Remember to practice regularly, experiment with different styles, and make the song your own. May your cosmic melodies continue to inspire and captivate. Keep reaching for the stars!

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