I Heard It Through The Grapevine chords



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

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.

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 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 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.


I Heard It Through The Grapevine chords and lyrics


Chords for I Heard It Through The Grapevine

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

| 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.

| 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).

| 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).

| 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.

| 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).

| 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).

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

| 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.

| 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?)

| 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.

||: 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).


I Heard It Through The Grapevine chord progression

The chord boxes you see above the chords and lyrics show small fractions of CAGED shapes that work great for playing I Heard It Through The Grapevine. However, this is not a complete picture. In the video at the top of this page, I play even more shapes.

The route to success is to know all shapes so you can choose from any of them in an improvised way. For complete guidance, practice the exercises in the course as well as study the TAB provided during all steps.

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 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.


Course preview (Guitar Lesson – Step 2)

In the video above, starting at 3:11, you find a preview of I Heard It Through The Grapevine’s guitar lesson, it’s the beginning of step 2 of the course.

In this step, we work on five ways you can play the verse. In the course, you get a loop to practice this with the band.

You also get all the TAB, which you should learn before you start building your own variations on how to play this song. Below, I’ve included the first two of these examples.



I Heard It Through The Grapevine – 8 Guitar Lessons

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.


I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Lyrics + Official video

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

Go to I Heard It Through The Grapevine lyrics.


Barrett Strong

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

Go to Barrett Strong – Biography.


The Funk Brothers

Motown’s house band didn’t have an official name, only they knew they were 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 Gaye

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 – Biography.


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.


The Professional Guitarist Song Book

As a guitarist, a repertoire is the greatest asset that you can acquire.

Learn these songs and you can progress from being a bedroom player to working with acoustic duos, Jazz trios, Indie/Rock/Party bands as well as large Soul/Motown ensembles.

Go to Song Book.


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If you are the copyright holder and do not wish to be represented in this way, or want to comment on anything in these lessons, do reach out.

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