Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Discuss the Guitar lesson: Are You Washed in the Blood Fingerstyle

Fun and challenging at the same time, this fingerstyle guitar arrangement starts in C then modulates to G! Lots of stuff is going on in this one and it’s full of tasty tidbits…give it a try, won’t you?

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I hope y’all like this one! It’s tough at first, but well worth the pursuit! If you need a starter, check out this exercise HERE!

How are y’all feeling about this one? Too tough? Just right?

Love the song, love the finger pickin’, love the lesson and love the new site.
Larry in Amarillo

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It makes me want to learn finger style.

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My biggest problem with this lesson is that it makes me want to put the banjo down. :joy:

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Ben, I’d say it’s about right. You want to make it challenging but not so much so that it’s discouraging. Being self taught on the guitar there’s a lot here for me to learn. One thing I find difficult is the bar chord and doing a hammer-on at the same time. Maybe you could give some tips and tricks on that sometime.


I have to agree with Wendell that the F bar chord with a hammer on is very tough for me too. My skinny index finger can’t lay down hard enough on the D# to ring out. Instead it just gets muted (thunk! thunk!)

I so want to master this wonderful tune. It just sings to me so I’m gonna keep at it. Just have to get past those two F bars! Great little arrangement!

Just curious, have you ever had your guitar professionally set up? If not, you might want to try that bar / hammer-on on a guitar that has to see if that makes a difference. If your action is too high, even professionals will have trouble playing clean bar chords.

It’s tough for me too, honestly. I have to get pretty aggressive with it. Keep working to build that strength, and as @Mark_Rocka says, make sure your guitar is set up well if not already.

I finally had a chance to give it a spin… great arrangement Ben! I like the highlighting for thumbs and leaving the fingers unmarked (unless there is a “magic” way to do something). I am a pinkie planter and three finger alternating bass type of player, and I generally ignore right hand fingerings 99% of the time, but the highlighting for thumb makes it easier to read.

Regarding how hard to make things, I think it’s a good level. I think it is important to offer different levels of songs and you do that. Once one has played a wee little bit, they can add stuff or water it down to their liking and ability.

As far as the F hammer-ons, I can’t tell you what I am doing, but the hammer on works ok for me. The best advice I can give is keep doing it and it will work out (terrible advice, but it’s all I got). Unfortunately I am having to concentrate and work to get the barre solid on the first fret of the D string. In an F shape that is usually not in play as I would have the 3rd fret F going. I didn’t even realize I had a hole in my barre :slight_smile: I can also cover the F measures by wrapping the thumb instead of a barre F, but it didn’t make it particularly easier for me (just different). It might be worth a shot for any who aren’t making headway on the hammer-on.

Ben, your arrangements and content production keep getting better and better. Awesome job!



Funny you should mention set up. I’m learning Washed In the Blood on my brand new Martin D-18, the first Martin I’ve ever owned. :heart: (It’s one of my bucket list guitars and I wanted to inaugurate it by learning an authentic American Gospel fingerstyle piece.) That said, the action at the nut might be a tad too high, as I found it’s easier to get through measures 12-13 on my Yamaha LS16R (a wider neck with a slightly more rounded profile). Go figure!

That’s really common, especially on Martins. Martin is known for being THE guitar for bluegrass backup chords, and a lot of people bang the heck out of their strings. Under those circumstances, an action that’s too low will cause the strings to buzz, so Martin leaves the action higher than what I’d choose for myself.

If the nut slots could use some filing down, it’s almost a guarantee you can have the bridge lowered, too. Doing so will probably make your new baby even more enjoyable to play. :slight_smile:

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Here’s a link to an easy way to check nut action:

I used to check and set nut height by measuring with feelers, but I find the above method to be both easier and more effective.


Well I checked using the Ford method and it looks like I can have the slots deepened a bit. In the meantime, I’m working with the Yamaha and thank you for the advice!


Nut action makes a significant difference in the feel. Just a few thousandths can make a world of difference.

Great arrangement Ben! Not as easy as one would think! This is a great lesson and asks a great question! Are you washed in the blood? I am so grateful for God’s grace and imputed righteousness. In that while we were sinners, Christ died for us!
Blessings always,


D-18 nice!

Thanks! Yep, a bit harder than it sounds initially. Amen!

Very beautiful arrangement for a beautiful hymn! Feel like keep on listening to it… :smile:

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