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

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 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 to achieve power, 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. What you get is an uplifting feeling, yet sad as Cm is chord VI. This is the genius moment of the song.

| Cm | Ab | Ebm | Ab |

The chorus moves between chord Im and IV. Although this is perhaps best seen as a II – V.

||: Ebm | Ebm | Ab | Ab :||

I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Guitar Lessons

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

Step 1 (Bars & Beats)Step 2 (Verse)Step 3 (Bridge)Step 4 (Chorus)Step 5 (Intro, tag, instrumental & outro)Step 6 (Improvise)Step 7 (Complete song)Step 8 (Live band backing track).

I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Lyrics

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 – Biography

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 – Biography.

The Funk Brothers – Biography

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 – Biography

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

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.

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