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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Bluegrass legend and banjo pioneer Earl Scruggs, who helped profoundly change country music with Bill Monroe and later with guitarist Lester Flatt, has died. He was 88.

Scruggs' son Gary said his father passed away Wednesday morning at a Nashville, Tenn., hospital. Gary Scruggs said his father died of natural causes.

The elder Scruggs was an innovator who pioneered modern banjo sound. His use of three fingers rather than the clawhammer style elevated the banjo from a part of the rhythm section - or a comedian's prop - to a lead instrument.

His string-bending and lead runs became known worldwide as "the Scruggs picking style." It was perhaps most prominently displayed on the iconic theme from "The Beverly Hillbillies."

Gary Scruggs says funeral plans are incomplete.
 

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Heard about Scruggs last night and it brought back lots of good memories of long ago. Also, a few months ago when I couldn't sleep, on PBS there was a special about country music and the artists that heavily influenced it. There was a long segment about Scruggs on it.
 

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Dave; Thanks for posting this. While Bluegrass for the biggest part didn't take over here (we have western and western swing) Flatt and Scruggs became well known and loved. Many tried but none have ever equalled Mr. Scruggs. Two of their best that all country folks here abouts love are Foggy Mountain Breakdown and Orange Blossom Special.
 

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I cut my teeth on Bluegrass music, and it's still my favorite.
You can't just sit and listen to it. It makes you move.
Whether it's just tappin' your foot, or rocking in you chair. ;)
 
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