Bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs dies at age 88

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - 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.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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