Earl Scruggs

        Earl Scruggs passed away around 10:00 AM Wednesday March 28, 2012.  Along the way he all but re-invented how to play the five string banjo, and inspired folks all over the world. As Wayne Benson once said, “When you go to a bluegrass festival, every banjo note you hear can be traced back to Earl. Indeed his way to play the five-string banjo will forever be known as “Scruggs style picking.”

        We were fortunate to get to play with Earl several times. I recall a fine lead singer with us at one session who was so awe-struck at first couldn’t remember the words to “Little Cabin Home on the Hill” when Earl called for it, even though I had heard Ray sing it hundreds of times. (He recovered and did a fine job.)

        We were mesmerized. Earl’s playing was downright magical. He had that effect on everyone. When John Hartford first heard him on the car radio he almost ran off the road. Hartford knew right then how he intended to spend the rest of his life.

        Horace told us of the day when Earl discovered how to add in the third finger on his roll (the song was Reuben). We played a lot of music with Horace over the years. He was a nice man, but did insist on two things: 1. You had to keep good time. 2. He strongly encouraged we play a Flatt and Scruggs number in every set. We had no problem going along with that at all. Horace taught us all a lot of bluegrass music. The Scruggs boys came by that timing honestly. Horace and Earl used to play back-to-back, then walk to the front of the house in opposite directions. We they met at the other end of the house if they weren’t in perfect time together, they would repeat the process until they got it right. Both ended up with perfect timing.

        Earl lived a long and very productive life, and changed the world of music forever. We will all miss him. He will never be forgotten, as his music legacy is so vast. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.

Dr. B

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15 Comments on “Earl Scruggs”

  1. carmenbgml Says:

    What a legacy he left. I had noticed he was looking frailer every time I saw him. RIP, Brother Earl.

  2. carmenbgml Says:

    What a legacy. I saw him increasingly frail…RIP

  3. Pam Warren Says:

    Earl’s legacy will live on in every young banjo player. He was one of the founding fathers of bluegrass music and we will miss him.

  4. Angie Simpson Says:

    Will be praying for the family. Such a humble but very talented family. God bless them.

  5. Guess the “Boys” are getting back together: Earl, Horace, Junie, John, and Hubert Green….there should be some good pickin’ going on in HEAVEN these days. RIP Earl, you done good.

  6. Jewell Burke Says:

    Bluegrass has lost a Mentor! I respect and admire clawhammer banjo picking but I never loved hearing the banjo until Earl hit the scene! I can’t recall never hearing now. That’s how much I was impressed.He set the style for Bluegrass on a new level. RIP Earl Scruggs! I am so glad you were recognized while you were living!

  7. jel Says:

    when I read of his passing, I wondered if you had ever met him.

    He was very good, at what he did. esp. on the B Hillbillys 🙂

  8. drtombibey Says:

    Thanks guys. Every comment is a true one. Appreciate you all.

    Dr. B

  9. Simpkins Says:

    Earl will always be remembered , he has left a tremendous legacy behind and truly will be missed by all !! Rest In Peace Banjo man !!

  10. doug ross Says:

    Rockin Tom: We were lucky to know him weren’t we? I remember the first time we picked with him at Horace’s house! He started to tell a story about the old days with Lester and everything stopped like the old EF Hutton commercial. I had the same thought that Wayne Benson spoke of…he is the dominant picker in bluegrass history.

  11. Smitty Pres. Of Neuse River Fan Club East of the Mississippi Says:

    Doc, thanks for taking me out to the home place. I appreciated his music more after that.

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