How To Play “Shape Of My Heart” On Guitar?
Sting is a British artist who wrote the song “Shape of My Heart.” It was released as the fifth single from the album Ten Summoner’s Tales in August 1993. Dominic Miller, the guitarist, co-wrote the song. It was featured in the end credits of the 1993 film Three of Hearts, starring Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, and Natalie Portman.
Despite failing to chart in the top 50 in the United Kingdom upon its initial release, it has become a pop classic and one of Sting’s songs most strongly linked with his solo career. Larry Adler performed the song’s harmonica portion. Since its debut, the song has been sampled in other tracks, including Sugababes’ “Shape” (2003) and Craig David’s “Rise & Fall” (2003).
Juice WRLD also sampled the song’s guitar riff on his international smash “Lucid Dreams” (2018) and rapper BLEU’s “You’re Mines Still” (2020). Sting claimed that he intended to depict the narrative of a “card player, a gambler who gambles not to win but to find out something; to figure out some sort of mystical logic in luck, or chance; some kind of scientific, almost religious rule” with “Shape of My Heart.”
This lesson will teach you how to play “Shape of My Heart” by Sting and Dominic Miller. For the basics, you’ll need a guitar in standard tuning, and you won’t need a capo.
How To Play “Shape of My Heart”
Let’s start with our finger-picking rules. Now, your thumb will take care of the sixth, fifth, and fourth strings; and your index, middle, and ring finger will take care of the third, second, and first strings, respectively. Ideally, they shouldn’t pluck any other strings other than the ones that are being assigned. Those are just suggested finger-picking rules, so you can deviate outside of that if you want to. There are a couple of places in the song where we will deviate, and we’ll get to those later.
How To Play “Shape of My Heart” – Intro Riff – 1st Line
Let’s start with a verse; the first chord shape we have is probably one of the stretchiest chord shapes that we have in this song. So, we have a ring finger on the ninth fret of the fifth string, an index finger on the sixth fret of the third string, and a pinky finger on the tenth fret of the second string. You’ll probably have problems playing back if you’re a beginner because the skill is not in your hands yet. A good exercise is to just play the chromatic scale down here at first to fourth frets, so assign each finger one fret and move up one fret at a time. Over time, your fingers will be able to stretch a bit more and have more skill, and then over time, you’ll be able to reach chord shapes like this.
For this first chord shape, we have four plucks. We’re going to start the second string, then two quick plucks on the fifth and third, and then end on the second again. Then we’re going to shift to our second position, so keep your index finger where it is; we’re going to lift our ring finger; your middle finger is going to come to the seventh fret of the fifth string, and your pinky finger just slides down to the ninth fret from the tenth. This is our next chord shape, so this is a lot easier now; a little bit of a relief.
In this position
We have five notes for this section. We’re going to start with two quick notes, so, fifth and second, and then we’re going to go fifth and third, hold that out for a little bit, and then end with the second. So, you can break this up into three sections for this small chunk the first two notes, the second two notes, and then that final note.
You’re sliding this exact shape down two frets for our next position. So, fifth, fourth, and seventh frets. This next chunk is five notes, the same as our previous five notes. So, we’re going to start with fifth and second, then fifth and third, hold that out and then end with the second string.
And for our final section, we’re going to stay in this position; you’re going to hit the fifth string but then quickly change positions. We’re going to take our index finger and now bar across the fourth fret, and then you’re going to pinch the fifth and second strings together, and then the third string, and then you can slide your pinky finger down to the sixth fret, or you can use your ring finger. The gap between the bass note and then pinching the fourth and seventh frets is quite quick. So, you’ll have to shift your index finger up quite quickly.
How To Play “Shape of My Heart” – Intro Riff – 2nd Line
The second line of the intro is almost identical, except our first chord shape is altered a bit. Instead of having this shape where we had our index finger down at the sixth fret, our index finger is at the seventh fret now. Our notes that we’re plucking are the same, and everything else is the same.
How To Play “Shape of My Heart” – Intro Riff – 3rd Line
There Dominic Miller plays perhaps the stretchiest chord of the whole song. It’s the same shape that we had previously in the first two lines of the intro like this, so the fifth fret, fourth fret, and seventh fret, but you need to add your free ring finger to the fifth fret of the first string. Just focus on these three strings, and when we get to this first string, we’ll pivot and take our pinky finger off that chord shape.
So, we start with our fifth string, then two quick notes, the third and second string, hold that out, then we go back to the third. Then we’re going to the first string, and this is where we need to take our ring finger, go up to the fifth fret of the first string, hold that out for a little bit, and then return to our positions so pinky on the seventh fret, and then third string.
It is to use the open fourth string instead of the D note on the fifth string, which will be a lot easier. For our next section, you’ll need to take your ring finger and put on the fifth fret of the sixth string, your pinky finger on the fifth fret of the second string, and your index finger stretching to the second fret of the third string. We’re going to start by hitting the bass note, and that’s just before the one beat of the next bar, and then on the one beat, we’re going to be plucking the third and second strings but then hammering on our frame middle finger to the fourth fret of the third string. Then, lifting that middle finger and hitting those same strings again.
And then we’re going to go to a C#, but we’re not going to play the full C#; we’re only going to play a few of the notes, so index finger on the fourth fret ring and a pinky on the sixth fret of the fourth and second strings and we’re just going to pluck the fifth fourth and second string and that ends this bar.
How To Play “Shape of My Heart” – Intro Riff – Final Line
For the final line, we’ll shift this shape up one fret. You’re going to pinch the fifth and second strings and then lift your pinky finger and have your index finger barred so you can hit that fifth fret of the second string, then the pinky finger comes to the seventh fret of the third string and plucks that.
With your ring and pinky finger here, slide them down to the fourth fret, take your index finger, and put on the fourth fret of the sixth string, and you’re just going to bar your index finger across the second fret. We’ll pinch the fifth, fourth, third, and second strings, so this is one instance where your index middle and ring finger can go up one string. So, pinch all of them and then pluck the third string by itself; lift your pinky finger and hit that second fret of the third string. And then end on an F#m chord and just strum that.
How To Play? – Verse Riff
The verse is almost identical to the intro, so we have a few variations here; now, the first two lines of the verse are identical—nothing new there for the third line of verse when we have the shape. We’re not going to go up to the fifth fret of the first string anymore; we just need to fret this, and it’s a little bit easier. We start with the fifth string and then two notes, the third and second strings, then we’re going to pluck the third string, and with our free ring finger, hammer onto the sixth fret of the third string. And then lift that and hit the third string again. So, we hit the fifth string and the third and second strings together.
When we shift up to this fifth and seventh fret shape for the fourth line, we will strum it. You mustn’t bar your index finger; you only fret that fifth fret of the fifth string. You have to keep the third and first strings muted by holding down the fifth, fourth and second strings because when we strum, we only want those notes stringing out. So, you’re going to strum this with it down-up-up. And then we go to the shape here, similar to what we did in the intro, a strum that holds that out for two beats and then ends with the F#m chord. So, that’s it for the verse, and the song is mostly made up of this verse section, so we’re going to be repeating this a lot.
How To Play? – Bridge Riff
There are five lines of notes here, similar to the verse, but we have a key change. So, the notes we’re playing are going to be different. We’re going to be shifting to different strings as well. Our first shape looks like the ring and pinky finger on the ninth fret of the sixth and third string, and your index finger will need to stretch to the sixth fret of the fourth string. We can take our index and middle finger to the fourth and third strings for this bridge section. With this shape, we’re going to start with four plucks, so the third string and then two quick notes, the sixth and fourth, and then the third string again.
There are five plucks here; we’re going to start with two plucks here, the sixth and third, and then the sixth and fourth, and then end with the third string. For our next shape, you’re going to keep your index finger where it is, shifts down your ring finger one fret and your middle finger will go down on the seventh fret. And then, for our final chunk, we’re going to hit the bass note again and then quickly change positions, so your index finger will need to shoot up the bar across the fourth fret; we’ll pinch the sixth and third strings together, then the third string and then lift your pinky finger and with your free middle finger hit the fifth fret of the third string.
The second liner
This tab is almost identical, but the first shape is altered a tiny bit. So, instead of having it look like this, we’re going to shift our index finger up one fret to the seventh fret of the fourth string, and everything else is the same.
For the third line, we go back to this shape; we’re going to hit the sixth string, then two quick notes, the fourth and third back to fourth, and then hit the open first string, then the third and fourth and sixth string to finish this bar off. And then we’re going to go to an E major chord; we’re going to pluck the sixth string, and then two quick plucks the fifth and third and second together, and then we’ll go up here and play a G# chord, and you’re going to be plucking the sixth fifth and third strings.
Then, we’ll shift this G# shape to an A major shape; we’ll do some strumming here. So it is down-up-up, then we’re going to be playing this which is a G#7sus4 chord. So, play the G#m chord, then take your pinky finger and move it down one string. Then we’re going to go up to a C#m chord. We’re going to strum this with that down-up down-up and then shift to a C#m chord. So, just lift your pinky finger and play the same strumming pattern.
For the final line, we go back to the A major with the same down-up-up strumming pattern, then to this G#7sus4; we’re going just to strum it once, though, and then we play an Asus2.
How To Play? – Outro Riff
The first line of the outro is here the same as the verse, so there is nothing new to learn there. When we get to the second line, though, we’re going to go to a Bm chord shape, and we’re going to play the second string, fifth, fourth, and second. And then we’ll shift down to an A chord. Then we’re going to go to the shape of that fourth fret of the sixth string and fourth fret of the third string; the first two notes are sixth and third, then sixth and fourth, and then the third string by itself.
We hope you enjoyed this Sting “Shape of My Heart” lesson. If you’re a novice searching for additional songs, Deplike Learning App has a ton of them organized just for you! You can also search for songs based on the chords you know, which is a very useful feature. As you learned in this lesson for “Shape of My Heart,” the Deplike Learning App is a good tool for learning new songs. You may utilize the active learning technique to study the chords, pick a song from the app, learn how to play it, and discover new artists.