Bluegrass Legend Earl Scruggs Remembered By Fans & Friends - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Bluegrass Legend Earl Scruggs Remembered By Fans & Friends

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BY: Heather Graf

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - One day after the death of bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs, fans and friends in Nashville are finding ways to remember him and pay tribute.

At the Country Music Hall of Fame, the flag out front flew at half-staff, as it does every time one of its members passes away.

"Earl Scruggs was one of the most influential musicians in all of American music," said John Rumble, the senior historian at the Hall of Fame.  "He had a special place in the hearts of the Nashville music community, and in the hearts of Nashville generally."

Scruggs' son Gary said his father passed away Wednesday morning at a Nashville 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."

Harry Chapman got to know him while covering the music and entertainment scene for News Channel 5.  Over the years, he says he came to call Scruggs a friend.

"We'll miss his music, but I think most of all we'll miss just what a wonderful human being he was," said Chapman.  "He loved to make music, he didn't care who it was with, he just loved to play music."

Today, on twitter, country star Brad Paisley called Earl Scruggs "one of our musical Thomas Edisons," while actor and fellow banjo player Steve Martin tweeted "he's the most important banjo player who ever lived."

Scruggs was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1985.  He also has a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.

An obituary posted by the Spring Hill Funeral Home stated the funeral will be Sunday at Ryman Auditorium, from where the Grand Ole Opry was broadcast for many years. The service will begin at 2 p.m.

Visitation at the funeral home was scheduled for Friday and Saturday 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The family has asked that donations go to the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum in Nashville or The Earl Scruggs Center in Shelby, N.C.

(The Associated Press Contributed To This Report.)

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