Bridging The Gap

Skill Building Guitar Course from David Isaacs

Many players find themselves in perpetual beginner mode after feeling like they have learned the basics. They seem to struggle with the same sorts of things over and over again, lack direction in their practice sessions and find it difficult to regularly apply what they have learned. This course is designed by Dave Isaacs with these players in mind. The goal of this material is to help players who feel like they will always be a beginner break through to the next level. We want to help you bridge the gap between a beginner player and an advanced player.

31 Lessons

Complete course with step-by-step lessons and practice examples.


Course filmed with 6 cameras for the perfect angles.

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Full Course Breakdown

Hone your skills in rhythm playing, ear training, lead guitar, singing while playing and more!


Bridging The Gap Series Introduction

Many players find themselves in perpetual beginner mode after feeling like they have learned the basics. They seem to struggle with the same sorts of things over and over again, lack direction in their practice sessions and find it difficult to regularly apply what they have learned. This course is designed by Dave Isaacs with these players in mind. The goal of this material is to help players who feel like they will always be a beginner, to break through to the next level. We want to help you bridge the gap between a beginner player and an advanced player.

4:04 Runtime

0.5 Difficulty

View this Lesson

Strumming & Rhythm

Move beyond the mindset that you need to learn new strum patterns and into the more musical way to approach rhythm guitar. Great rhythm playing is more of a mindset and a groove consciousness and less about creating a library of strumming exercises.

24:48 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Groove Vocabulary

You'll continue with groove development in this lesson. This time you'll focus in on shuffle and swing grooves while continuing to discuss mechanics and strumming mindset.

12:24 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Strumming & Muting

Now we get to work on adding mutes and ultimately percussive interest into our strumming. We won't do it by learning exact patterns though. We'll approach it through the concepts we've been learning in the past few lessons.

23:07 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Chord Qualities

Start organizing chords that you know by sound. Start training your ear to hear the differences in chords without having to play them. Go beyond memorizing chords and move into creative application!

18:45 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Practicing Chord Transitions

Changing chords can be difficult at all skill levels. Work through several changes and learn some tricks to get to the chords you need to... On time!

20:21 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Examples for Ear Training

Look specifically at chord function and chord numbering in this lesson. This will further your ability to use the right chords in the right situations and actually help with your chord transitions because you'll be preempting your decisions by what the chord progressions logically and musically suggest.

15:54 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Fret Hand Position

For the next three lessons, we'll be talking about the fretting hand. We'll whip it into shape and point out some good habits to start and some bad habits to stay away from.

21:59 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Developing Accuracy

We're going to spend some time moving around the neck with an exercise aimed specifically at helping you develop accuracy with your fretting hand. Stick with this exercise as it makes a great warm up too!

17:34 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Finger Patterns for Practice

You probably saw this lesson coming. This lesson full of specific exercises, when taken as a whole will wrap together the previous lessons as well. Proceed with patience!

15:05 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Alternate Picking

We've spent some time on this in previous lessons, but in this segment, we get to focus specifically on alternate picking mechanics. Down... Up... Pick hand position and posture... It's all here!

21:36 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Picking Arpeggios

Moving from string to string can be challenging. Here, we continue working with picking hand coordination and look at arpeggios as a way to practice getting better at changing strings during a sequence.

21:02 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Picking Accents & Dynamics

In the last lesson we worked on picking individual notes in the context of arpeggios. Here, we're going to look more closely at picking single notes in the same way one might do when they play lead guitar. Dynamics are often an overlooked aspect of alternate picking, but this is not the case in this lesson!

19:23 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Single String Major Scales

The guitar is not as linear of an instrument as a piano is. Because of the tuning and the multiple strings, it can be difficult to visualize scales. David's approach to single string major scales will help us bring some uniformity to our guitar and better understand basic major scale theory.

13:04 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Duplicating Notes

You'll want to learn these exercises note for note and when you do, you'll benefit from seeing just how "pattern-like" the duplicate notes on the guitar actually are. Knowing how to use the duplicate notes on the guitar is HUGE for phrasing opportunities.

12:41 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Chord Tones In Scales

In this lesson we'll be combining several things from previous lessons. We will be working with scales in multiple positions and we'll be capitalizing on chord tones vs. non-chord tones and how to use each for maximum musical enjoyment!

11:39 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Building Finger Coordination

Finger coordination is a core skill that will influence every aspect of your playing. Going through this lesson will put you on a path to feel better about how your fingers feel on the neck specifically with Barre Chords

14:18 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Building Barre Chord Forms

In this lesson, we're going to continue working with barre chord forms and shapes. This lesson is aimed at those who know how to play barre chords but are still struggling to apply them and get in and out of them.

18:49 Runtime

0.0 Difficulty


Complete Barre Chords

Here, we're work shopping the complete chord forms. We're reviewing each shape and continuing to work on practical chord changing tips and technique.

17:13 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Rhythmic Improvisation

How do you go from playing scales to making music? The short answer is this: You learn how to phrase. We'll be talking about the all important role of rhythm in developing your lead prowess.

22:04 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Phrasing & Pentatonics

Continuing on in the exploration of phrasing and lead playing, we get to incorporate the familiar and comfortable Pentatonic Scale. This is a great place to start when beginning to look at how your rhythm playing influences your lead playing.

26:03 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Melody & The Dorian Mode

In the last lesson, we worked with the Pentatonic Scale. That scale is only 5 notes but you can make a lot of music with it. Here, we look at a simple way to incorporate the Dorian Mode into your lead guitar phrasing.

21:10 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Ear Training & Simple Chords

We'll do some more ear training here and explore how you learn songs by ear. Learning by ear doesn't mean you don't have your guitar in hand. It does mean that your ears start to guide your fingers and not the other way around.

30:11 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Four Chord Sequences

Continuing with ear training, we're going to look at chord sequences and chord qualities primarily focusing on major, minor and dominant sounds.

28:05 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Ear Training & 7th Chords

Moving forward another step with Ear Training, we're going to focus specifically on the sound of 7th chords, beginning with a bluesy example.

20:30 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Recognizing Longer Progressions

So far in our quest to improve our ear training, we've been working with simple, streamlined progressions. In this lesson, we get to step it up a notch and work with some sequences and progressions that may not be quite so typical.

20:10 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Slides & Slurs

In this next set of lessons, we're going to look at articulations. These are ways to approach notes that add a bit more flavor, color and interest. This lesson will focus on Slides and Slurs as a means to add interest.

14:39 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


String Bending

Continuing on with articulation, we're going to talk about the world of string bending. Bending is one of those articulations that sticks to certain players. You can identify great players by their bends!

13:25 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Mixed Techniques

Using many of the articulations covered in the last few lessons, David will be teaching a simple solo to show how they can be used together to create combined interest and emotion.

9:49 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Using Your Voice

If you're not a singer, you might be tempted to think that this lesson may not apply to you... But it does! You can use your voice as a tool to help you improve in your guitar playing. David is here to tell you how.

19:45 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Playing & Singing

We're going to look at a simple song that is basically centered around the Pentatonic scale and practice effectively using the voice while singing. It can be challenging, but practice will make this a lot easier!

21:04 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty

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Dave Isaacs Group

  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Playing since 1980
  • 478 lessons at JamPlay
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.

Reviews & Feedback 91/100 with 115 ratings

I continue to be blown away by the subtleties that I’ve missed of things I thought I knew, but clearly had not mastered. Wonderful teaching!


Excellent a skilled communicator


Exellent lesson.


Explains basics simply and understandable


It is great to have a teacher,who can teach to people which do not have any music skills at all,thanks David.


Great teacher


I really like Dave's style of teaching, the pace and content is ideal for me.


The instructions are extremely clear as to what I should be listening for and how to apply the lesson.


Just commenting, that it would be great to have more lessons on singing and playing, Help for singer-songwriters that don't have bands, ways to play solos and lead guitar without a band back up, but yes more on the art of singing while playing.


looking to learn to add more dynamics to my strumming, an muting is something I never really got before