I Heard It Through The Grapevine chords by Marvin Gaye


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I Heard It Through The Grapevine | Chords + Lyrics

Intro

||: Ebm7 (Ebm Gb6) | Ebm7 (Ebm Gb6 Fm7) :|| x5

Verse 1 (0:21)

| Ebm | Ebm | Bb Ab | Ab6 Ab |
I bet you’re wonderin’ how I knew, ’bout your plans to make me blue.
| Ebm | Ebm | Bb Ab | Ab7 |
With some other guy, you knew before, between the two of us guys you know I loved you more.

Bridge 1 (0:38)

| Cm | Ab5 |
It took me by surprise I must say (took me by surprise I must say).
| Ebm | Ab |
When I found out yesterday (when I found out yesterday).

Chorus 1 (0:46)

| Ebm | Ebm Ebm7 | Ab7 | Ab Ab7 |
Don’t you know that I heard it through the grapevine, not much longer would you be mine.
| Ebm | Ebm Ebm7 | Ab7 | Ab Ab7 |
Oh I heard it through the grapevine, oh I’m just about to lose my mind.
| Ebm7 (Ebm Gb6) | Ebm7 (Ebm Gb6 Fm7) | Ebm7 (Ebm Gb6) | Ebm7 (Ebm Gb6 Fm7) |
Honey, honey bell (I heard it through the grapevine not much longer would you be my baby).

Verse 2 (1:11)

| Ebm | Ebm | Bb Ab | Ab6 Ab |
I know a man ain’t supposed to cry, but these tears I can’t hold inside.
| Ebm | Ebm | Bb Ab | Ab7 |
Losin’ you would end my life you see, ’cause you mean that much to me.

Bridge 2 (1:27)

| Cm | Ab |
You could have told me yourself (you could have told, me yourself).
| Ebm | Ab |
That you loved someone else (that you loved, someone else).

Chorus 2 (1:36)

| Ebm | Ebm Ebm7 | Ab7 | Ab Ab7 |
Instead, I heard it through the grapevine, not much longer would you be mine.
| Ebm | Ebm Ebm7 | Ab7 | Ab Ab7 |
Oh, I heard it through the grapevine, and I’m just about to lose my mind.
| Ebm7 (Ebm Gb6) | Ebm7 (Ebm Gb6 Fm7) | Ebm7 (Ebm Gb6) | Ebm7 (Ebm Gb6 Fm7) |
Honey, honey bell (I heard it through the grapevine not much longer would you be my baby).

Instrumental (1:53)

||: Ebm7 (Ebm Gb6) | Ebm7 (Ebm Gb6 Fm7) :||

Verse 3 (2:08)

| Ebm | Ebm | Bb Ab | Ab6 Ab |
People say: Believe half of what you see, son, and none of what you hear.
| Ebm | Ebm | Bb Ab | Ab7 |
But I can’t help but be confused, if it’s true please tell me, dear.

Bridge 3 (2:26)

| Cm | Ab |
Do you plan to let me go (do you plan to let me go).
| Ebm | Ab |
For the other guy, you loved before? (For the other guy you loved before?)

Chorus 3 (2:33)

| Ebm | Ebm Ebm7 | Ab7 | Ab Ab7 |
Don’t you know I heard it through the grapevine, not much longer would you be mine.
| Ebm | Ebm Ebm7 | Ab7 | Ab Ab7 |
Baby, I heard it through the grapevine, oh, just about to lose my mind. Honey, honey heh.

Outro (2:50)

||: Ebm7 (Ebm Gb6) | Ebm7 (Ebm Gb6 Fm7) :||
(I heard it through the grapevine, not much longer would you be my baby yeah yeah yeah yeah).
Honey, honey I know that you let me go.
(I heard it through the grapevine, not much longer would you be my baby yeah yeah yeah yeah).
Said I hear it through the grapevine, Oh oh, I heard it through the grapevine.
(I heard it through the grapevine, not much longer would you be my baby).


You can learn how to play I Heard It Through The Grapevine!

Heard It Through The Grapevine is a song made famous by Marvin Gaye in 1968.

Written by Barrett Strong and producer Norman Whitfield, it has become known as one of Motown’s signature songs.

When playing I Heard It Through The Grapevine with a band, being the only guitarist, we get a lot of freedom to experiment and improvise our guitar parts.

During the intro, chorus tag, and outro, all we have is an Ebm7 chord. This may seem limited at first but it actually gives you a great opportunity 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 or Ebm7 chord shapes.

Below, you find a guitar lesson about I Heard It Through The Grapevine’s verse chords. Here, I’ll take you through how to create rhythm guitar parts all over the neck.

By being this thorough, we lay a foundation upon which you’ll be able to improvise your rhythm parts and licks, rather than memorize them.

Take this approach to play the guitar and you’ll be adjusting your parts to the band you’re playing with, rather than just playing your one memorized part (a great idea when playing in a rock band to achieve power, not so much in a soul band).

Make this a habit and you’ll get great at writing parts for original songs as you’re always exploring the neck and therefore always finding new ideas. Take the first lesson below now to start this journey.


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I Heard It Through The Grapevine guitar lesson | Verse

During the verse, the Ebm feels like the I chord of a blues. 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.

The rules for creating these parts were.

  • Play two strings from a chord shape
  • Whenever possible, play on beats 2 and 4
  • Create licks using relevant pentatonic and chord notes

Here’s what example 1 looks like in TAB. The Ebm is a Dm shape, and the Bb is an A shape. The Ab is an E shape.

I Heard It Through The Grapevine chords and TAB, verse example 1.
I Heard It Through The Grapevine TAB | Verse example 1

Here’s example 2. We’ve now moved up to an Am shape for the Ebm chord. The Bb is an E shape, the Ab uses first an E shape, then a D shape.

Over the Ab chord, I add both the Major Pentatonic and the b7 interval.

I Heard It Through The Grapevine chords and TAB, verse example 2.
I Heard It Through The Grapevine TAB | Verse example 2

In example 3, stay with the Am shape for the Ebm chord, although we’re now on strings 3 and 4 instead.

The Bb is still an E shape, the Ab is only in a D shape. The variation is an Ab7 the second time.

I Heard It Through The Grapevine chords and TAB, verse example 3.
I Heard It Through The Grapevine TAB | Verse example 3

Here’s example 4. In this example, the Ebm uses a Gm shape. The Bb gets a C shape, and so does the Ab chord.

I Heard It Through The Grapevine chords and TAB, verse example 4.
I Heard It Through The Grapevine TAB | Verse example 4

Here’s example 5.

You could say this is still a Gm shape for the Ebm, although it’s probably easier to think of it as an Em shape.

The Bb and Ab both use D shapes and echo the Soul Man intro. The last Ab7 uses an A shape.

I Heard It Through The Grapevine chords and TAB, verse example 5.
I Heard It Through The Grapevine TAB | Verse example 5

In the course, we next learn the bridge. There will be lots of examples to practice as the goal is for you to be able to play songs like this in an improvised way, which can only be achieved by exploring all areas of the fretboard.

We also work on the chorus, intro, and solo before you play with the live band backing track.

For the complete experience, sign up here.


I Heard It Through The Grapevine’s chords and progressions

The route to success is to know all chord shapes so you can choose from any of them in an improvised way, as described above for the verse.

Let’s briefly go over all chords from I Heard It Through The Grapevine.

The intro section vamps on an Ebm7, this is a great opportunity to improvise! Be aware that the original part is 10 bars long, personally, I’ve never played with a band that does this, usually, they’ll start the verse after 8 bars.

The verse chord progression is similar to that of a blues, although chord I is a minor chord. Another, very important detail is that the Ab chord is early, it comes in on beat 4 of the Bb bar. For some variation, you can decorate the Ab with 6 and dom7 extensions.

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.

What you get is an uplifting feeling (EbmEb), yet sad as Cm is chord VI. This is the genius moment of the song.

The chorus moves between the chords Im and IV. Although this is perhaps best seen as a II – V as that is what it feels/sounds like. This is another genius part of this song, we could call this a modal interchange.


I Heard It Through The Grapevine | Related pages


I Heard It Through The Grapevine – 8 guitar lessons

I Heard It Through The Grapevine, 8 guitar lessons in the course.

When playing I Heard It Through The Grapevine, we get a great chance to vary our guitar parts.

For the instrumental section, we improvise!

Go to I Heard It Through The Grapevine – 8 guitar lessons.


Intermediate Electric Songs

When you can play I Heard It Through The Grapevine's chords, discover more intermediate electric songs.

Learn all these Motown/Soul songs and you will have gained yourself a repertoire so you can jam or even join a working band.

Study these songs in-depth and you will map out the fretboard, master the CAGED system and learn how to design a rhythm guitar part that works in a band.

Go to Intermediate Electric Songs.


I Heard It Through The Grapevine – 5 similar tunes

When you can play I Heard It Through The Grapevine's chords, try these five tunes from the song book.

Marvin Gaye

Fond out more about Marvin Gaye, the man who recorded I Heard It Through The Grapevine's chords.

Marvin Gaye helped to shape the Motown sound as a drummer, session singer, writer, lead singer, and producer in the 60s and 70s.

Marvin’s hits include I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Can I Get A Witness, and politically fueled What’s Going On.

Go to Marvin Gaye.


Marvin Gaye on the web

Listen to Marvin Gaye on Spotify.

Barrett Strong

Fond out more about Barrett Strong, the man who wrote I Heard It Through The Grapevine's lyrics.

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 his own solo career, Barrett also wrote many of Motown’s biggest hits.

Go to Barrett Strong.


Barrett Strong on the web

Listen to Barrett Strong on Spotify.