Bass Transcription: Mattia La Maida’s Solo Bass Arrangement on David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust”

Editor’s note: Welcome guest contributor Mattia La Maida, who wowed us with his solo bass performance of David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust” back in February. Here’s Mat’s transcription and notes.

Mattia La MaidaWhen David Bowie passed away, I wanted to pay tribute with a solo bass arrangement of one of his songs.

I personally consider Bowie one of the greatest artists in the world. He was in fact a great musician, actor, and painter. Among other things, the eclectic nature of his music was characterized by the creation of several different imaginary alter egos that live through his songs. My favorite character is “Ziggy Stardust”, a musician and a mixture between Jimi Hendrix, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Mick Jagger, and Jim Morrison.

I have always loved the song. It is a blend of pure rock and irreverent lyrics. In my electric bass arrangement, I tried to play both melody and harmony.

To do this, I reinterpreted the initial guitar riff using the natural harmonics on the fourth and fifth fret of the G and D strings. In addition, I played the chord progression using tonic notes on the E strings. I used the same technique in the rest of the song – trying to play both the original bass lines and the melody.

To obtain a more aggressive sound in the chorus, I used the slap technique and the strum – trying to render the bass and guitar lines at the same time. To tie together melody and harmony, I added reverb and delay in reverse mode (post-production).

I hope I will be able to convey melancholy and a bit of sadness with the song.

Download the transcription (PDF with standard notation and tab) and follow along with the video below.

If you have any comments or questions, please post them in the comments section below.

Get daily bass updates.

Get the latest news, videos, lessons, and more in your inbox every morning.

Share your thoughts

  1. Mark S B.

    David Bowie was amazing with his different type songs , we never knew what to expect and how he came up with his ideas of any given song , he will be missed but his songs live on.
    That sounded excellent Matt.

  2. Chico Ruger

    Very, very nice.

  3. Love this! That is such a melodic bass line in the piece, great how you stay true to it and incorporate it with the melody! Thumbs up. (And a nod to Ziggy, say hey to the Major, we sure miss you!)