Hands on the Fretboard (Guitar Lesson)

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David Isaacs

Hands on the Fretboard

Learn hand position, posture and see how to set up your playing for success when it comes to your fret hand. Dave goes in depth with his discussion and demonstration of hand mechanics. Don't miss this lesson!

Taught by David Isaacs in Beginner Guitar With David Isaacs seriesLength: 16:10Difficulty: 0.5 of 5

Developing good technique from the beginning isn't difficult. Watch any good player and you'll often get the impression that their hands move effortlessly. This is because good technique is natural and ergonomic, meaning that we use our hands in a way that works with our natural anatomy to minimize effort and strain. This lesson introduces the fundamentals of good technique, from hand position and posture to specific finger placement, and leads up to a simple blues melody you can play with one finger.

When the hands and fingers are relaxed, they move easily, and proper hand position makes it easy to stay relaxed. The big idea introduced in this lesson will apply to nearly everything you ever play, and it's very simple: use your hands in the most efficient way, maximizing freedom of movement but minimizing effort. A position that keeps the wrist and hand loose keeps the fingers relaxed, and makes it easy to stay poised over the strings and ready to play. Efficient motion also means that we don't move any more than we need to...in many if not most cases, reaching a particular note often just requires a small change in position. Whether that motion is to change chords in the same position or to move along the neck, the same principles apply.

We'll look at specifics of wrist, thumb, and finger position, and the way that small, controlled movements allow us to navigate the neck without working harder than we need to. There are variables here – there's no “perfect” or absolute hand position that works for everyone – but the beauty of the ergonomic approach is that it's based on YOUR hand and the way to move most efficiently. You'll find that this approach makes everything you do easier.

Starting with simple movement exercises, we'll explore how the hand position changes as we reach for notes in different places. This sets us up for our first simple piece, “Baby Step Blues”: an easy blues melody you can play with just one finger. Once you start to get comfortable with the simple motions, start working with the backing track to practice making those moves in time. As with all our exercises, start slowly enough to concentrate on movement, hand position, and motion. Playing in time is important! Even before you play along with the backing track, it's important to have a sense of the beat. This falls into the area of what we'll call musicianship: the skills that make notes into music. The ability to keep time is one of the most essential of these skills.

Of course, it can be challenging to locate the notes on the fingerboard, think about hand position, and strike the right strings while still keeping the beat. It's probably best to isolate these different elements. Take a small section – maybe a whole line, maybe just four notes – and memorize the left hand patterns, moving slowly. Focus on coordination between your two hands, and gradually work your way through the entire exercise piece by piece. Once you can play through the exercise confidently at a slow tempo, try working with the backing track. Remember that you can use the piece-by-piece approach with the track as well – for example, playing just the first four notes of each line, or every other measure, or just one line. Working this way allows you to give equal attention to every part of the tune and to every individual aspect of what it takes to play it. It's a powerful method and it works...see for yourself.

Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.

keblackkeblack replied

My hands are small so what should I ask the guitar shop to do to my guitar to make it easier to play? Should the strings be closer to the fretboard? Should the neck near the nut be wider or more narrow? Thanks.

Vessel1Vessel1 replied

I'm a beginner as you can tell. What is Guitar Pro7 and do I need it. I downloaded the .pdf file for the lesson.

Bradley.ConwayBradley.Conway replied

Hey [email protected], Guitar-Pro 7 (actually 7.5 now) is a program that allows you to edit sheet music for guitars. It is not free ($69.95). You don't need it unless you are doing a lot of editing on sheet music.

JaseW67JaseW67 replied

I have been giving myself absolute agony in my wrist of fretting hand for so long now and am all for this method of just uncurling the fingers a little to reach the Base strings. Hopefully if I can change my habits, I will be in less pain and thus want to PRACTICE MORE !

smookasmooka replied


therenixtherenix replied

I guess I must have fat fingers... I can't use my finger pad to push down any string but the first one without also making contact with and deadening the next highest string. I have to use my finger tip and if it's the lower E, I also have to lower the wrist to keep from making contact with string 5. Is that acceptable or is there some trick I'm missing.

connor.lehaneconnor.lehane replied

Hi rand.nix! It is perfectly acceptable to be using your fingertips while playing with a good arch on your fingers so you will be hitting notes cleanly and without deadening notes with the pad of your finger causing you to hit multiple strings. Hope this was helpful :)

DavidGuDavidGu replied

Hi, Why can't I read the notes in the lesson material while also playing the audio backing track? Seems like it's either one or the other...but shouldn't it be both?

NorskeNorske replied

The volume and scene progress bar covers up the notes when put on pause. Any way to customize the screen?

CrumbhavenCrumbhaven replied

I think you could solve the wrist compression issue by moving the guitar to the classical position (curve on left knee), which also sets you up for flamenco and other types of playing. It’s also the position you have standing up, and is way better for your back than hunching over while seated.

DONK4263DONK4263 replied

Admittedly, I have not read all of the comments but I struggle with counting and I feel it would be very helpful if you counted it out.

microsnoutmicrosnout replied

Great lesson! Love this tune and backing track. Sounds good on electric guitar too.

Deagle02Deagle02 replied

Where's the track?

Deagle02Deagle02 replied

NM. Found it.

Planck1Planck1 replied

I've vowed to myself that I will crack playing the guitar before I hit 70 years old. Have half played loads of songs off YouTube for the past 10 years, now going back to basics and this looks like the best place to do the groundwork I was always too lazy/impatient to do! Thanks Dave!

JaseW67JaseW67 replied

You are of the same mind as me. Glad to know I'm not the only one !

mylesfolgermylesfolger replied

Thank you, Dave, found you on Youtube...but found jamplay today and what a wonderful site...got a great teacher now..

ppolheus@psdab.com[email protected] replied

I am on baby step blues and when I stop the video and start again the line indicating where you are on the video covers the fret diagram, Only the notes are visible. How can i stop and start the video but have the fret diagram visible? Thanks

Jason.MounceJason.Mounce replied

In the basic windowed view that you see by default, the status bar will cover the bottom portion of the video as you roll over that section, start or stop. There's nothing that can be done about that unfortunately. however, if you go to full screen by clicking the expand arrows located in the lower right hand corner of the video window, everything is enlarged to the point where that status bar will no longer cover up as much of the video.

Ceylon1956Ceylon1956 replied

Show the tab earlier so you have time to review a few seconds before we start to play Love the lessons Dave !!

NorskeNorske replied

Still covers some notes. Too bad, liked the lessons but will not continue due to this issue...

jjharbaughjjharbaugh replied

First, I apologize if this is not the correct place to ask this question... Please let me know if there is a better location on this site to post this type of question. Does anyone use/recommend a windows10 mp3 player with an ab repeat capability. It would be nice to be able to repeat specific sections of the backtrack and/or playback tracks. Thanks

jjharbaughjjharbaugh replied

I answered my own question, Audacity works really well for what I am looking for.

jjharbaughjjharbaugh replied

First, I apologize if this is not the correct place to ask this question... Please let me know if there is a better location on this site to post this type of question. Does anyone use/recommend a windows10 mp3 player with an ab repeat capability. It would be nice to be able to repeat specific sections of the backtrack and/or playback tracks. Thanks

belmontcainbelmontcain replied

I'm advanced player, but I was curious of the content on here, i just signed up. And I gotta say, what a smart, thoughtful, well spoken teacher. I wish I had a guy like this 20 years ago.

ashernerasherner replied

Great lesson. I like that in addition to getting the student acclimated to the feel of the instrument, this exercise very early on gets something "musical" happening with another musician via the backing track. I've video recorded myself playing BSB and posted it to YouTube, just looking to keep a record of my own progress. It can be fond by searching Baby Step Blues. Thanks, Dave. That was fun!

Thomas1691Thomas1691 replied

why is there a 2 on 5 string

przbaduprzbadu replied

I found David's lessions really cool and easy to understand so far, and wanna say Thank you (loud and clear) :)

mkenvin5@gmail.com[email protected] replied

I play an acoustic 12.

MaarsMaars replied

Another wasted night as I still get no picture of David's playing?

MaarsMaars replied

Another wasted night as I still get no picture of David's playing?

Jason.MounceJason.Mounce replied

Hi Maars, I don't quite understand what you are having trouble with here. Are you having difficulty playing the lesson video, or are you looking at the supplemental content? If you're having trouble, please either give us a call at 877-999-4526 between the hours of 9am and 5pm Monday through Friday, or send us an e-mail to [email protected] and detail what you are having trouble with. We can help you troubleshoot and get you going.

MaarsMaars replied

I find I can not get the picture of David Isaacs playing?

MaarsMaars replied

I find I can not get the picture of David Isaacs playing?

MaarsMaars replied

I find I can not get the picture of David Isaacs playing?

louishe3louishe3 replied

While I understand that you can't go at a snail pace for beginners, I have to say it is really hard to follow you when you go through the lesson and don't pause at each change. Then too, it's very confusing to see the notes at the bottom of the page when I can't read/don't understand what they mean. I think it would be "really" helpful if every time you played a note that the note on the sheet below would light up. Just a suggestion.

Joe_BJoe_B replied

Agreed or perhaps an indicator line that moves across in time. I find that if I get "dropped" finding my place again takes as much effort as getting back to playing

nonyabizznonyabizz replied

Is it bad that I can do it so much better with my middle finger?

CarnottCarnott replied

Me as well. With the "natural" thumb positioning, my middle finger is more comfortable and easiest to hit all the frets. Not sure if it's a good thing or if I'm developing a bad habit at the start.

ashernerasherner replied

I agree with Jason. I'm an experienced string player (banjo) but guitar is a new world for me. Developing versatility is a plus in the long haul. I practice BSB 2X through, first with the index and second with the middle fingers. IMHO, it will advance your development.

Jason.MounceJason.Mounce replied

Everyone's biology is a little different and as a result some fingering positions may be easier for others. If your middle finger works best for you here, don't read too much into it. As with everything guitar, I would recommend learning in multiple different ways which opens up your playing ability as you progress.

clay296clay296 replied

Hi. I love this lesson and have a question about the Baby Step Blues and reading the tabs. It seems strange to me that you cant see what is coming when the bars change until its right upon you. IE you play along to bar 4 and the screen doesn't show bar 5 until you should already be playing it. Is this normal or am I missing something? I expected to be able to see what is coming next so I can prepare for changes to hand position etc. I'm very new to guitar and it puts me behind a bit when I can't see the changes. Love David's instruction manner though.

deanodude1deanodude1 replied

i like his "open minded" approach

clm123clm123 replied

My problem is with thumb in "natural" position it is often difficult to reach the "one finger per fret" fingering.

oliviasjonesoliviasjones replied

he is the best teacher ever the other people teach super easy stuff this guy teaches you just the right amount of stuff best teacher I have seen so far : )

bobmoore6767@gmail.com[email protected] replied

Be helpful to have a printout of the key parts of lessons, i.e., the sequence of the note changes for Baby Set Blues.

nonyabizznonyabizz replied

They can be printed from the 'supplemental' tab above...

Richie GuitarRichie Guitar replied

Please let me have a way for me to print the music and tab sheet for my practice. Thank you

GraleeGralee replied

I'd like to share one thing that helped me with the whole ergonomic set up - a guitar strap. It helps keep the neck in the right position and I'm not fighting to stop the guitar sliding off my knee! Also helps to maintain the neck in the optimum position (for me) especially when I need to drop my wrist to reach up to the low notes. I can lower my wrist without it having to do the added job of supporting the neck, as this is held in place by the strap. For what it's worth...:)

flyn2fishflyn2fish replied

hey guys! On the "supplemental" tab below the video of Baby Step Blues there is a audio. one is "audio track" and there is a "play along" track. i can't find the "play along track" for the next lesson in the series, which is "Which one's Pink". does it exist? do i have to unlock it somehow? thanks for the help! FYI I'm 51 and just starting to play. this is great!

EmmamoEmmamo replied

I am on windows ten on jam play and the video quality is not that good and it might be my computer but I don't think it is I've just joined on jam play but I might just try to find another teacher that I go face to face with in reality so just saying I don't know if I want to keeps being on jam play so so sorry. Bye for now!

mcosta08mcosta08 replied

I just signed up and using Google Chrome. Seems to work very well. No issues.

jericsmithjericsmith replied

I've read numerous complaints about video quality. I'm on Windows 10 using Chrome v50 with absolutely no problems. As a matter of fact, I am a web applications developer, and I am extremely impressed with this site. I do have a request. The play along links to the backing track and vice versa. That's not a huge deal, but I'm requesting the backing track to be recorded at a normal volume; then I can control the volume I need personally. Currently, I have to edit to add volume, which of course affects the quality a bit.

EmmamoEmmamo replied

God idea!

jpuopolojpuopolo replied

Hi. I have been playing for a few years now, mostly self-taught. I just joined JamPlay, and am starting from the beginning again, just to pick up new tips from a different perspective. After the first few lessons, I am already quite pleased with the instructor, the quality of the instruction and the videos, and the supplementary materials. Thank you and bravo!

jtroutt19jtroutt19 replied

That's right! Because your device is having trouble playing the video blame it on the site instead of your device! That seems really intelligent. I am using the edge browser that comes in Windows 10. It works well I have not had any issues yet. I tried to use firefox and had issues. Just saying

karolkakarolka replied

Thank you for a great lesson. I switched to Google Chrome and all of my video problems went away.

vineyviney replied

This is awsome

sososorrysososorry replied

i am very upset about 1 thing this is the last episode until it is all member Ive had ENOUGH i am upgrading for i no choice:( X_X

sososorrysososorry replied

please don't hate :D

EmmamoEmmamo replied

please don't hat what

EmmamoEmmamo replied

sorry spelled hate wrong so what do you hate

tim0jmtim0jm replied

The backing track and play along seem to have their titles switched.

lclarklclark replied

I use firefox and have had numerous problems with videos from various instructors. I'll be moving on.

dobber63@hotmail.com[email protected] replied

I moved out of Firefox and went to Safari and it was much better. Your way of explaining things are really helpful... Thanks

dobber63@hotmail.com[email protected] replied

I like the way you explain things but the video and sound freezes all the time? I have very high speed internet. I have stopped and check other sites and they all play normal. You Tube and such but this site doesn't? It makes it very hard to follow???

Southern CashSouthern Cash replied

Good ideas to try, thanks!

EmmamoEmmamo replied

which hand do you use to play?

EmmamoEmmamo replied

why is is your call sing southern cash?

EmmamoEmmamo replied

never mind

dirk.savagedirk.savage replied

Video and sound are out of sync..then sound quit completely

pranaszechuanpranaszechuan replied

When I was playing this video on Firefox at 0:09 seconds, the audio jumped forward into playing the song and never caught up or reset. I opened in Chrome and perfectly synced. Just wanted to post this in case someone else has an issue. I don't know what the deal is with Firefox - all the other videos I've watched worked just fine. Best wishes!

NautilustearsNautilustears replied

Finally I can get my pinky finger to hit a note. I always had it to far from the fret. Good lesson.

cawdorcawdor replied

I really enjoy the explanation of ergonomics. I hope it works when we get into chords.

akcelesteakceleste replied

Safari on the mac eliminated the same issue with firefox

trezurhuntertrezurhunter replied

I had the screen lock up at 00:39 on 2 Baby Step Blues. I ran it back and it locked up again at 00:40. There seems to be a glitch in the program. The voice carries on but the screen freezes up.

EmmamoEmmamo replied

try and speed up the video that worked for me. -o-

susansnetsusansnet replied

I had the same problem on several videos in different places. I looked for the help, and it recommends updating adobe flash player, that seemed to help. Also, when I tried it on Chrome instead of Firefox that worked - they say Chrome & Firefox work better than Internet explorer. Good luck.

00-Steve00-Steve replied

I found the suggestions about thumb placement behind the neck very useful. As suggested, I was putting my thumb directly against the middle of the neck and it was creating tension in my wrist and forearm. Now, I simply let my thumb rest in its most comfortable position and I'm able to form cords with less effort. Thanks

rericsawyerrericsawyer replied

Decades ago, when I use to play a little classical guitar, it seemed very important to keep the thumb low. But the reasons for that do not apply to a folk-style guitar, or electric. The neck of a classical is so much wider that you will have a hard time getting all the way around to the low E string if your thumb is high. You will really strain to do it. Also, a classical player typically will hold the guitar a little differently. It goes over the OTHER knee while sitting, and most players hold the neck at a little higher angle. The result is that even with the thumb in the middle of the back, the wrist is still relaxed and "Neutral" The ergonomic points made in this video are exactly right. The exact thumb position will vary depending on the instrument, but the wrist should definitely be relaxed and neutral. You will be much more comfortable, and reach frets much easier when things aren't all bound up!

00-Steve00-Steve replied

I've enjoyed going through most of the basic exercises in Phase 1 over the past few weeks. I am particularly glad that I discovered the "Baby Step Blues" exercise, especially since it includes a nice backing track. If you are looking to start out learning some blues music this might be the best exercise in Phase 1.

Beginner Guitar With David Isaacs

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Don't get stuck learning chords, scales and theory with nowhere to apply the things you work on. Take the "David Isaacs" approach and learn the guitar by using real music. You'll be playing along with simple song examples after the second lesson!

The Series IntroductionLesson 1

The Series Introduction

Don't get stuck learning chords, scales and theory with nowhere to apply the things you work on. Take the "David Isaacs" approach and learn the guitar by using real music. You'll be playing along with...

Length: 2:32 Difficulty: 0.5 FREE
Strings & ThingsLesson 2

Strings & Things

Tune up, learn your way around your guitar, and explore a simple, musical picking exercise to help you learn the string names. You'll be playing right out of the gate!

Length: 22:20 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Hands on the FretboardLesson 3

Hands on the Fretboard

Learn hand position, posture and see how to set up your playing for success when it comes to your fret hand. Dave goes in depth with his discussion and demonstration of hand mechanics. Don't miss this...

Length: 16:10 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Your First Song!Lesson 4

Your First Song!

Learn the E7 minor and Am chords and then immediately put them to use with a simple song. Play along to the provided backing track and feel like you're part of the band...It's only your 4th lesson! Keep...

Length: 15:32 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Power to the ChordsLesson 5

Power to the Chords

Power chords are some of the most simple and ubiquitous tools for playing and making great songs. Learn the most basic shapes and put them to use right here! Dave also discusses the beginnings of strumming...

Length: 12:21 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Music & MelodyLesson 6

Music & Melody

Learn a simple melody and take in a little info about what a 'key' is. You can learn the melody and have a friend strum the rhythm. Or, do it the other way around!

Length: 18:07 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Two Finger Chords & MoreLesson 7

Two Finger Chords & More

These simple, musical tools can take you a long way. Use your index and middle fingers to play a simple Am chord and a simple E chord. You'll also learn how to read chord charts and play through another...

Length: 16:46 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
A Simple MelodyLesson 8

A Simple Melody

You will be introduced to a simple A minor scale and then learn a song that helps you get your new scale under your finger tips!

Length: 12:08 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Finger IndependenceLesson 9

Finger Independence

Do you ever feel like you are wearing mittens while you are trying to practice your guitar playing? If you have ever experienced this sensation, this lesson is for you!

Length: 11:04 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Let's Major on C MajorLesson 10

Let's Major on C Major

You'll be introduced to the C Major scale and then you'll be able to put it to use over a soothing acoustic guitar rhythm bed. Have fun!

Length: 10:37 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
The C Chord and G7 ChordLesson 11

The C Chord and G7 Chord

Here you'll get to spend some time applying some fundamental chord shapes. Dave shows how to switch between these two chords seamlessly and, as usual, has a creative example ready to go so you can put...

Length: 18:39 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
G and C Working TogetherLesson 12

G and C Working Together

I know what you're thinking..."I just learned these!" Well, you did learn a C chord and a G chord, but this lesson goes over ways to play these chords together in a chord progression that REALLY sounds...

Length: 11:06 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Playing Most SongsLesson 13

Playing Most Songs

You've probably heard it before, but most songs out there can really be played with just 3 or 4 chords. In this lesson, Dave gives you the tools to play most of the songs you know and love!

Length: 14:04 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Rhythm & ChartsLesson 14

Rhythm & Charts

We're moving into some new territory with this series now. You'll now be focusing more and more on material that you can play in a band setting. Up until now, you've been applying the basics to real music,...

Length: 24:54 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
A Taste of the BluesLesson 15

A Taste of the Blues

Learn about the blues form and strum along with a cool, laid back, bluesy track. You'll be able to take the material in this lesson a long way down the road! Don't forget to have fun with it now though...

Length: 12:03 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Major Pentatonic MusicLesson 16

Major Pentatonic Music

Learn the C major pentatonic scale and put it to good use over a catchy tune! You'll be surprised how simple this is and how very musical you can be with just 5 notes arranged in a musically interesting...

Length: 8:38 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Four Fingers and a ChordLesson 17

Four Fingers and a Chord

The mighty and intimidating F chord is one that most beginners see as a major hurdle in learning the basic chords on the guitar. Dave offers some ways to make the F chord more approachable. Once you examine...

Length: 15:35 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Chord Shapes & ArpeggiosLesson 18

Chord Shapes & Arpeggios

Work on precision with your picking hand and more finger independence with your fretting hand using a soothing practice track called "Chimes". You'll get a good taste of combining melody and rhythm playing...

Length: 15:34 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Work Those RhythmsLesson 19

Work Those Rhythms

Dave works you through eight different strumming variations, discusses how to feel the groove while keeping the rhythm, and shows you how to take a handful of examples and create any strum pattern you...

Length: 14:18 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Complete CLesson 20

Complete C

Look at the C major scale once again. This time however, you'll get to complete the first position C major pattern. You'll play every note within reach of your first 4 frets. You'll also learn a catchy...

Length: 16:28 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
The Return to ChordsLesson 21

The Return to Chords

Work in the Am, Dm, and Em chords and play them in a melancholy, yet soothing example. You'll also get to work on your basic strumming.

Length: 12:18 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Shifty PentatonicLesson 22

Shifty Pentatonic

Learn the E minor pentatonic scale with a small position shift that will get you out of the open position and moving around the neck a little bit. This is where it really starts to feel like you are owning...

Length: 13:53 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Let's Major on A MinorLesson 23

Let's Major on A Minor

Earlier in the series, we explored the C major scale. In this lesson, the A minor will get some love. Learn the basic open position and use it in a new melody.

Length: 15:43 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
In 7th HeavenLesson 24

In 7th Heaven

Back to some chords now. In case you couldn't tell from the title, we'll be focusing on 7th chords for this lesson. You learned A7 a while back, and now you'll learn E7 and B7.

Length: 13:32 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Walkin' The BluesLesson 25

Walkin' The Blues

Take a moment to pat yourself on the back! You've covered a lot of ground so far! You've been playing real music now for some time, and in this lesson, we're going to learn a walking blues line. What is...

Length: 10:50 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Moveable ChordsLesson 26

Moveable Chords

Chords that don't have any open strings in them AND chords whose open strings fit comfortably within the chord all called "moveable chords". Learn how to play a couple chords up the neck.

Length: 15:31 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Moveable PentatonicLesson 27

Moveable Pentatonic

In this lesson, you'll take another big step forward when it comes to working outside of the open position. You'll feel like doing some jamming too!

Length: 8:44 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Syncopated StrummingLesson 28

Syncopated Strumming

There are eight more strum patterns for you to dig into in this lesson. This time, they are a bit trickier. Follow along with the rhythm charts and take each example in chunks if needed. Combine them with...

Length: 19:33 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
And Now...Barre Chords!Lesson 29

And Now...Barre Chords!

You knew it was coming! This is the lesson where we stop dancing around full fingered moveable chords and dive head first into the most common barre chord shapes. They're not as bad as you may be fearing....

Length: 19:21 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Advancing with BluesLesson 30

Advancing with Blues

As the musical examples continue to distance themselves from that stereotypical beginner sound, Dave works through this track with a simple, moving melody inside a blues progression.

Length: 14:47 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Make It up as You GoLesson 31

Make It up as You Go

Some of you may have been waiting for this one! Now we'll focus on some improvisation...Some lead playing. It's not about knowing all the scales or trying to be fancy. It is about using what you know...

Length: 12:45 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Like a DrummerLesson 32

Like a Drummer

Learn how to create motion and percussive interest with your strumming. If you look at and listen to how drummers accent general grooves, there is a lot of insight there in to how to make your rhythm playing...

Length: 17:29 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
New Chords, New StrumsLesson 33

New Chords, New Strums

Learn B minor chord and continue developing your feel and grooviness when it comes to strumming. Be sure that you are combing over older lessons as well so that you can incorporate many ideas into what...

Length: 21:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
A Start to Alternate PickingLesson 34

A Start to Alternate Picking

Develop precision in your picking. Learn when it's best to use alternate picking. Get comfortable with a few exercises and then apply the technique in a musical context!

Length: 20:26 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
A Little BluegrassLesson 35

A Little Bluegrass

We're going to continue with rhythm playing and 16th note strumming, but this time we're going to touch on some laid back bluegrass playing. This is another simple style of playing to add to your arsenal.

Length: 10:06 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
A Bit More on Barre ChordsLesson 36

A Bit More on Barre Chords

Learn a few more barre chord forms and get more advanced with your strumming. As you've come to know and love with these lessons, you'll have a chance to learn a new song!

Length: 13:51 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Here You AreLesson 37

Here You Are

You've made it a long way if you've made it to the end of this series! In this final lesson of Mr. Isaacs beginner course, you'll spend some dedicated time moving both major and minor barre chord formations...

Length: 21:58 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
David Isaacs

About David Isaacs View Full Biography Nashville-based Dave Isaacs has made a name for himself as one of Music City's top guitar instructors, working with both professional and aspiring songwriters and artists at his Music Row teaching studio. He is also an instructor in the music department at Tennessee State University and is the coordinator and artistic director of the annual TSU Guitar Summit.

A seasoned performer as well, Dave has released eight independent CDs and gigs steadily as a solo artist, bandleader, and sideman. He continues to write, record, and perform as well as arranging and producing projects for other artists.

Lesson Information

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

Acoustic Guitar

Our acoustic guitar lessons are taught by qualified instructors with various backgrounds with the instrument.

David Isaacs David Isaacs

JamPlay welcomes David Isaacs to our teacher roster. With his first lesson Dave explains his approach to playing guitar with...

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Marcelo Berestovoy Marcelo Berestovoy

Marcelo teaches the eight basic right hand moves for the Rumba Flamenca strum pattern. He then shows you how to apply it...

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Freebo Freebo

In this lesson, Freebo covers the basics of right hand technique. This lesson is essential for all up and coming bassists.

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Mitch Reed Mitch Reed

Mitch teaches his interpretation of the classic "Cannonball Rag." This song provides beginning and intermediate guitarists...

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Randall Williams Randall Williams

In this lesson Randall introduces the partial capo (using a short-cut capo by Kyser) and talks about how it can make the...

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Erik Mongrain Erik Mongrain

Erik expounds on the many possibilities of open tunings and the new harmonics that you can use in them. He explains what...

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Jim Deeming Jim Deeming

Jim discusses the importance of setting goals. He provides some tips that will help steer your practicing in the right direction.

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Peter Einhorn Peter Einhorn

JamPlay is proud to introduce jazz guitarist Peter Einhorn. In this lesson series, Peter will discuss and demonstrate a way...

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Eve Goldberg Eve Goldberg

Eve talks about the boom-chuck strum pattern. This strum pattern will completely change the sound of your playing.

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Pamela Goldsmith Pamela Goldsmith

Pamela brings a cap to her first 13 JamPlay lessons with another original etude inspired by the great Leo Brouwer. This is...

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Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

Electric Guitar

Our electric guitar lessons are taught by instructors with an incredible amount of teaching experience.

Tom Appleman Tom Appleman

Tom Appleman takes a look at a blues in E with a focus on the Chicago blues style. The bass line for Chicago blues is very...

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Larry Cook Larry Cook

In this lesson, Larry discusses and demonstrates how to tune your bass. He explains why tuning is critical and discusses...

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Stuart Ziff Stuart Ziff

Stuart delves into all the different aspects of how R&B guitar has had an impact within reggae music.

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Michael Palmisano Michael Palmisano

Michael kicks off his course and explains what to expect from the course, as well as who this course is designed for.

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Andy Whitehead Andy Whitehead

Join Andy as he takes a look at the style of one of the most influential guitarists of all time: Eddie Van Halen. In the...

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Dave Weiner Dave Weiner

Dave "David J" Weiner returns with a lesson on how to play with style and attitude. He covers all the basic techniques you'll...

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Brent-Anthony Johnson Brent-Anthony Johnson

Just like with the plucking hand, Brent-Anthony shows us the basics of proper fretting hand technique. In addition, he shows...

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Dennis Hodges Dennis Hodges

Learn a variety of essential techniques commonly used in the metal genre, including palm muting, string slides, and chord...

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Unlimited Lesson Viewing

A JamPlay membership gives you access to every lesson, from every teacher on our staff. Additionally, there is no restriction on how many times you watch a lesson. Watch as many times as you need.

Live Lessons

Exclusive only to JamPlay, we currently broadcast 8-10 hours of steaming lesson services directly to you! Enjoy the benefits of in-person instructors and the conveniences of our community.

Interactive Community

Create your own profile, manage your friends list, and contact users with your own JamPlay Mailbox. JamPlay also features live chat with teachers and members, and an active Forum.

Chord Library

Each chord in our library contains a full chart, related tablature, and a photograph of how the chord is played. A comprehensive learning resource for any guitarist.

Scale Library

Our software allows you to document your progress for any lesson, including notes and percent of the lesson completed. This gives you the ability to document what you need to work on, and where you left off.

Custom Chord Sheets

At JamPlay, not only can you reference our Chord Library, but you can also select any variety of chords you need to work on, and generate your own printable chord sheet.

Backing Tracks

Jam-along backing tracks give the guitarist a platform for improvising and soloing. Our backing tracks provide a wide variety of tracks from different genres of music, and serves as a great learning tool.

Interactive Games

We have teachers covering beginner lessons, rock, classic rock, jazz, bluegrass, fingerstyle, slack key and more. Learn how to play the guitar from experienced players, in a casual environment.

Beginners Welcome.. and Up

Unlike a lot of guitar websites and DVDs, we start our Beginner Lessons at the VERY start of the learning process, as if you just picked up a guitar for the first time.Our teaching is structured for all players.

Take a minute to compare JamPlay to other traditional and new methods of learning guitar. Our estimates for "In-Person" lessons below are based on a weekly face-to-face lesson for $40 per hour.

Price Per Lesson < $0.01 $4 - $5 $30 - $50 Free
Money Back Guarantee Sometimes n/a
Number of Instructors 127 1 – 3 1 Zillions
Interaction with Instructors Daily Webcam Sessions Weekly
Professional Instructors Luck of the Draw Luck of the Draw
New Lessons Daily Weekly Minutely
Structured Lessons
Learn Any Style Sorta
Track Progress
HD Video - Sometimes
Multiple Camera Angles Sometimes - Sometimes
Accurate Tabs Maybe Maybe
Scale/Chord Libraries
Custom JamTracks
Interactive Games
Learn in Sweatpants Socially Unacceptable
Gasoline Needed $0.00 $0.00 ~$4 / gallon! $0.00
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Mike H.

"I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar!"

I am 66 years young and I still got it! I would have never known this if it had not been for Jamplay! I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar! Ha! I cannot express enough how great you're website is! It is for beginners and advanced pickers! I am an advanced picker and thought I had lost it but thanks to you all, I found it again! Even though I only play by ear, I have been a member a whopping whole two weeks now and have already got Brent's country shuffle and country blues down and of course with embellishments. Thank you all for your wonderful program!

Greg J.

"With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace"

I'm a fifty eight year old newbie who owns a guitar which has been sitting untouched in a corner for about seven years now. Last weekend I got inspired to pick it up and finally learn how to play after watching an amazing Spanish guitarist on TV. So, here I am. I'm starting at the beginning with Steve Eulberg and I couldn't be happier (except for the sore fingers :) Some day I'm going to play like Steve! I'm self employed with a hectic schedule. With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace, rewinding and replaying the videos until I get it. This is a very enjoyable diversion from my work yet I still feel like I'm accomplishing something worthwhile. Thanks a lot, Greg


"I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students."

I am commenting here to tell you and everyone at JamPlay that I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students. I truly enjoy learning to play the guitar on JamPlay.com. Yes, I said the words, ""enjoy learning."" It is by far the best deal for the money.

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