OBIT: EARL SCRUGGS
Credit: Getty Images
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The world of country music has lost one of its biggest names. Bluegrass legend and banjo pioneer Earl Scruggs has died. He was 88. His son says Scruggs passed away yesterday morning at a Nashville hospital. Gary Scruggs adds his father died of natural causes. Earl Scruggs was an innovator who pioneered the 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." You can hear it on the iconic theme from "The Beverly Hillbillies." He helped to profoundly change country music with Bill Monroe and later with guitarist Lester Flatt. Gary Scruggs says funeral plans are still incomplete.