Learn How To Play I Heard It Through The Grapevine
Chords and Guitar Lessons
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Complete song – Electric guitar and live band
Improvising When Playing Rhythm Parts
During the intro, chorus tag, and outro we simply play an Ebm chord. This is also the section where there is room to add some licks in an improvised way.
A good starting point here is to copy or answer the other lines you hear from the BV’s and horns. Another, more subtle approach would be to move around the neck looking for different Ebm chord shapes.
In the step by step course, I’ll take you through how to create rhythm guitar parts for all sections of the song, all over the neck.
By doing this, you’ll be able to improvise your rhythm parts and licks, rather than memorize them.
Take this approach to playing guitar and you’ll be listening and adjusting your guitar parts to the band you’re playing with, rather than just playing your one memorized part (good idea when playing in a rock band, not so much in a soul band).
It also means you’ll get great at writing parts for original songs as you’re always exploring the neck and therefore always finding new parts.
The verse chord progression is similar to that of a blues, although chord I is a minor chord.
||: Ebm | Ebm | Bb | Ab :||
The bridge starts on a Cm, chord VI, this creates a great effect as the 5th of the Cm is the major 3rd of an imagined Eb major chord.
| Cm | Ab | Ebm | Ab |
The chorus moves between chord Im and IV. Although this is best seen as a II – V.
||: Ebm | Ebm | Ab | Ab :||
I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Step 1
This song has a very clever chord progression. The home chord, Ebm, feels different depending on what section it appears in.
I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Step 2 (Free Preview)
Sure, the order and length of the chords are different from a standard blues, but the overall feel is there. It’s just that the I chord is now a Im chord.
I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Step 3
As always, I’m giving you a bunch of examples to practice to loops. Use these as a starting point to develop your own parts.
I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Step 4
This movement of a minor chord, a dom7 a 4th up is found naturally in a II – V.
I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Step 5
I like to keep this section improvised but before I’ll let you loose to do the same, here are six examples of what you could play. Learn them first.
I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Step 6
Keep the loop on for half an hour, keep improvising for this entire time.
I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Step 7
By practicing all sections individually you know this song by now, all that is left for me to do is give you the TAB.
I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Step 8
Don’t think about it as just one performance, instead, see it as an opportunity to discover the fretboard.
Barrett Strong was the first artist on the Motown label to have a hit. The song was Money (That’s What I Want). Performed by Barrett, it was written by the president of the label and a sign of what was to come.
As well as having his own solo career, Barrett also wrote the lyrics to many of Motown’s biggest hits.
Go to Barrett Strong biography.
The Funk Brothers
The band played on pretty much everything Motown released until ’72 when they relocated to Los Angeles and the band found a note on the hit factory door.
Go to The Funk Brothers biography.
Marvin’s biggest hits include I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Can I Get A Witness, and What’s Going On.
Go to Marvin Gaye biography.
These Motown/Soul songs require you to learn how to play fractions of barre chord shapes and build improvised licks using pentatonic scales.
Intermediate Electric Songs
Be My Baby, Can I Get A Witness, Get Ready, I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Jimmy Mack, Master Blaster (Jammin’), Money (That’s What I Want), My Guy, Rescue Me, Respect, Son Of A Preacher Man, Soul Man, and You Can’t Hurry Love.
Go to Intermediate electric songs.
Including detailed, but bite-sized explanations on how the music theory of each song is applied to the neck.
Go to Monthly subscription.