How to play Space Truckin’ by Deep Purple
In this Deep Purple Space Truckin’ lesson, Guitar Control Instructor, Robert Baker, is going to breakdown this classic songs main riffs and show you how to play them. Robert calls this song “riffapaloza” because it is just such a fun song with so many cool riffs. Ritchie Blackmore kills it as always. Robert is going to cover all the main riffs and dive into the solo that has all kinds of cool licks in it. Ritchie Blackmore just brings so many cool parts to this song. We are also going to cover the keyboard part that happens in the start but on the guitar because it is such a cool riff. There is another part later on in the song where there is another keyboard part, but we are just going to focus on that keyboard section. So let’s break these down.
Step 1: The Intro
The first riff in our Deep Purple Space Truckin’ lesson starts with some power chords and not a whole lot going on with our strumming hand. All power chords are is just a root and a 5th so we only strum the strings, unless of course you want to thicken up your power chord and add the octave note in, then you would strum the strings. So starting with a G5 power chord on the 6th string 3rd fret with your pointer and if you are doing the two string power chord, place your ring finger or pinky on the 5th string 5th fret, and if you are using the pinky, then of course use your ring finger for the 5th string 5th fret note, and pinky holding down the 4th string 5th fret strumming strings 6, 5, and 4. Strum the G5 once and then immediately slide it up to the A5 on the 6th string, moving everything up two frets. So your pointer is now on the 6th string 5th fret, ring finger on the 5th string 7th fret, and pinky right under your ring finger on the 4th string 7th fret. Strumming down on the G5 and up on the A5. Then move down a string to the D5 power chord placing your pointer finger on the 5th string 5th fret, and your ring finger on the 4th string 7th fret and pinky right under holding down the 3rd string 7th fret, strum it once and then move down two frets towards the headstock and away from your picking hand to a C5 power chord. Your pointer finger now is on the 5th string 3rd fret and your ring finger is on the 4th string 5th fret and pinky on the 3rd string 5th fret and strum this chord once. Then go to an open A5 power chord which is an open 5th string with your pointer holding down the 2nd fret 4th string, strum only the 5th and 4th strings and strum it only once. Then go back to the C5, then to the D5 and then back to the 6th string to pick the G5 and slide it to the A5 just like we did to start this entire riff off. This is basically the entire intro riff. If you are enjoying learning this catchy power chord riff make sure you check out our lesson on how to play School’s Out For Summer by Alice Cooper for another one.
Step 2: The Blues Shuffle Riff
So that first riff is basically what is happening with the keyboard section. Then the guitars come in with this blues riff. This riff is your typical blues shuffle. So starting the blues shuffle with your pointer on the 6th string 5th fret and your middle finger on the 5th string 7th fret shuffling between this note and the 5th string 9th fret. Between the 5th and 6th scale degree. Switching back and forth every other strum between the note your middle finger is holding and the note your pinky presses down to get the 6th. Then we are going to do this same shape and blues shuffle but now we shift down to pointer on the 5th string 3rd fret and middle finger on the 4th string 5th fret, alternating between this note and the 4th string 7th fret with your pinky finger. This is a C5 chord. Then move up to the D5, so up two frets now placing your pointer down on the 5th string 5th fret and your ring finger down on the 4th string 7th fret, so same strings as the C5 but different frets, and then pinky down on the 3rd string 7th fret, doing the blues shuffle and switching between ring finger and pinky every other strum. So two measures on the A5, then half a measure on C5 and half a measure on D5. So what that little transition is, is just another power chord, just a three finger E5, pointer on the 5th string 7th fret, ring finger on the 4th string 9th fret, and pinky on the e3rd string 9th fret. The arpeggiate it, picking the 5th string, the 4th, the 3rd, and then back to the 4th. Then simply just bar your finger holding down the 7th fret 5th string with your pointer and the 3rd string 7th fret, and then keep your ring finger holding down the9th fret 4th string. Then just pick straight down it, the 5th string, 4th, and 3rd.
Step 3: The Spacey Riff
Then it goes into this super super awesome driving riff. Starting with an open 5th string, the on the 4th string opick the 2nd fret with your middle finger and then the 1st fret with your pointer to the open 4th string. Then 3rd fret with your ring finger on the 5th string, to 2nd fret on the 5th string with your middle finger, to 1st fret with your pointer, then cycle this riff.
Then you are going to move everything up a string. So same riff but now on the 6th and 5th strings. So open 6th string then on the pick the 5th string 2nd fret with your middle finger, then the 5th string 1st fret with your pointer to the open 5th string. Then on the 6th string play the 3rd, 2nd, and 1st strings with your ring, middle, pointer fingers and cycle it. Cycle it 3 times and then play this little walk up part that goes all on the 6th string, open, 1st fret, 2nd fret, 3rd fret and Robert used his pointer for all three of those frets. You will hear this walk up quite a few times in this song, they do it a bunch. Now back into the blues shuffle riff and then repeat everything we just did for the spacey riff.
Step 4: The Solo
Now the song goes into this solo section. The entire solo is pretty much out of the box 1 A minor pentatonic scale. A few notes are not, a few are from the Dorian scale but we are just going to focus on the A minor pentatonic scale. So real quick playing this scale, we start on the 6th string and pick the 5th and 8th frets with our pointer to pinky finger, then on the 5th, 4th, and 3rd strings we pick the 5th to 7th fret using our pointer to ring finger, and on the 2nd and 1st strings we pick the 5th to 8th frets using our pointer to ring finger.
The solo starts out with a slide from the 5th to 7th fret on the 4th string with your ring finger, then pick the 5th fret 3rd string and add a slight bend to it with your pointer finger, then pick the 5th to 7th frets on the 4th string, back to the 5th fret on the 3rd string with a slight bend again with your pointer finger, ending with your ring finger on the 4th string 7th fret with some vibrato. Then bend the 8th fret 2nd string up a full step. Then bend it again both up and down, so a bend and a release, pick the 5th fret 1st string, then on the 2nd string ick the 8th fret with your pinky finger and then the 5th fret 2nd string with your pointer, then on the 3rd string play the 8th fret, the 7th fret and the 5th fret, using your pinky finger, to your ring, to your pointer. Then pick the 7th fret 4th string with your ring finger, then the 7th to 5th frets on the 3rd string with your ring to pointer fingers and then the 7th fret to the 5th fret on the 4th string using your ring finger to pointer finger. Then end this phrase by picking the 7th fret 4th string with your ring finger but hang on the note before it for a bit first. Then you are going to bend the 5th fret 3rd string again, and then the 7th fret again on the 4th string with your ring finger.
Now we have this little sliding lick. So this part is simply going 3rd fret slide up to the 5th on the 2nd string using your pointer finger. Then roll your pointer finger down to grab the 5th fret 1st string and pick the 1st string. Do this all in one solid motion. Then repeat it three times. On the fourth time he does something different. What we do is slide the 3rd fret to the 5th fret on the 2nd string with our pointer. Then you basically want the 3rd string to be muted. You can mute it by barely touching it with either a finger on your fretting hand or even the palm of your picking hand. The reason why we even bother to picking the muted 3rd string is because it gives this next riff a very percussive feel. So after the slide and the first pick mute he does all of these little ghost notes, it sounds kinda like a chicken picker riff. He doesn’t get that chicken picking sound from his finger though in this lick, it’s actually coming from his pick. So after you did the slide, you are going to want to play the 3rd string 5th fret muted, it is just there to make this lick have a percussive kind of feel. Then pick the 8th fret 2nd string with your pinky and then back to the muted 3rd string, then pick the 7th fret 2nd string, back to the muted 3rd string, and then to the 5th fret 2nd string. Then the same idea but we are going to move up two strings, so now muted the open 4th string instead of the open 3rd, then picking the 7th fret 3rd string, back to the muted 4th string, to the 5th fret 3rd string, ending on the 7th fret on the 4th string. Then bend the 8th fret 2nd string again with lots of vibrato and then one last descending run.
So now we are doing a very similar descending run to the other one, but this lick is kind of harder to hear, the way the notes all bleed together, but it’s basically just a pentatonic scale. Starting the run off by bending the 8th fret 2nd string a whole step with lots of vibrato. Then pick the 1st string 5th fret with your pointer, then on the 2nd string you are going to pick the 8th fret and then the 5th fret using your pinky to pointer fingers. Then the 7th fret 3rd string then back to the 8th and 5th frets on the 2nd string. Then the 7th fir 5th frets on the 3rd string, and then the 7th fte 4th string with our ring finger.
Step 5: The Chromatic Walk Up
After the big music break, there is this chromatic line. It starts with an open 6th string, then bar your pointer on the 4th fret holding down both the 4th and 3rd strings with your pointer finger at the same time. This is where we get this chromatic walk up. So from the 4th fret 4th and 3rd strings we are going to move our double stop up one fret to the 5th fret holding down the 4th and 3rd string, then to the 6th fret, walking all the way up to the 18th fret barring the 4th and 3rd strings with your pointer the entire time. You’ll be able to hear this clearly in the song with the rhythm and all the details. Then right back into the spacey riff.
Recap: How to play Space Truckin’ by Deep Purple
I hope you enjoyed our Deep Purple Space Truckin’ lesson! This song has so many cool elements to it that really make it stand out. Even just the solo, every lick is a stand out lick but what else would you expect from Ritchie Blackmore! Have a lot of fun with this one and be sure to bring some of the elements and style back into your own playing. Have a lot of fun with those big vibrato bends and really pay attention to how they make these big, simple riffs really stand out! Pay attention to detail, and of course, as always, have fun!