BLUEGRASS legend and banjo pioneer Earl Scruggs, who helped profoundly change country music with Bill Monroe in the 1940s and later with guitarist Lester Flatt, has died. He was 88.
Scruggs' son Gary said his father died of natural causes on Wednesday morning at a Nashville, Tennessee, hospital.
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" and the versatility it allowed has helped popularize the banjo in almost every genre of music.
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