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 limiting 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 playing 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

The chord boxes you see above 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 above, 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.

||: Ebm7 :|| x10

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 vary the Ab with 6 and dom7 extensions.

| 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.

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 (Ebm – Eb), yet sad as Cm is chord VI. This is the genius moment of the song.

| 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).

The chorus moves between chord 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.

By moving between an Ebm and Ebm7, you automatically create some subtle movement in your guitar part.

| 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.
| Ebm | Ebm7 | Ebm | Ebm7 |
Honey, honey bell (I heard it through the grapevine not much longer would you be my baby).


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 from 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 – 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 guitar lessons.


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 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 – 13 Songs

You can learn how to play these 13 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.