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 Playing Advice: Bluegrass (Scruggs) Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Who taught Earl?


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/130456

tunabanjo - Posted - 11/02/2008:  16:40:20


I was just reading the bad habbits topic,banjo teachers came up,and was wondering. Who taught Earl?

carteru93 - Posted - 11/02/2008:  16:49:25


Earl

___________________________________________________
Blaylock Bear Tracks Banjo
There are no stupid questions, just dumb ones - Me

Banjov1 - Posted - 11/02/2008:  17:03:26


Get Earl's Book, "Earl Scruggs and the 5 String Banjo". He has a great sort of biography on his life section where he discusses how he learned to play. Really good reading for any Scrugg style banjo player.

Tony

Glenn Tate - Posted - 11/02/2008:  17:07:36


At http://www.earlscruggs.com/biography.html, which is Earl Scruggs biography, he states that he is self taught. However I have read that there were other 3 finger pickers such a Snuffy Smith that influenced him to play the 3 finger style. At that time, most banjo pickers played 2 finger style or played clawhammer.

"Opportunities are never lost. Someone will pick up the ones you miss!"

Glenn

corcoran - Posted - 11/02/2008:  17:27:22


quote:
Originally posted by angltate

At http://www.earlscruggs.com/biography.html, which is Earl Scruggs biography, he states that he is self taught. However I have read that there were other 3 finger pickers such a Snuffy Smith that influenced him to play the 3 finger style. At that time, most banjo pickers played 2 finger style or played clawhammer.



No, there was a tradition of 3-finger picking in North Carolina when Earl was perfecting his style. He was influenced by Smith Hammett, Rex Brooks, and particularly Snuffy Jenkins (not Snuffy Smith, who is of a later generation). Recordings of Snuffy Jenkins are available on CD; so you don't have to take my word for his influence on Scruggs.

The available recordings show that people were playing a more primitive form of 3-finger style before Scruggs, who polished everything that came before him and really perfected the style into a very approachable form.

Don Reno was a contemporary North Carolinian whose early playing (before he developed the chordal stuff for which he is justifiably famous, as well as the single-string style he learned from Eddie Adcock) was much more forward-roll driven and far less complicated than Scruggs's. Johnnie Whisnant was another contemporary whose style was also significantly less sophisticated than Scruggs's, IMHO. Oh, and Scruggs's style in the early days with Bill Monroe was less sophisticated than what he played in the early 1950s with Flatt and Scruggs.

Michael
michael.corcoran@usask.ca

Woolpersteve - Posted - 11/02/2008:  17:28:31


God started but after one lesson he told Earl's father there was no point in him coming back .
Steve


"The Dude abides"

tombriarhopper - Posted - 11/02/2008:  17:59:00


If you are looking for the person who taught E who played three-finger bluegrass style with picks on three fingers, it was Snuffy Jenkins.

Tom Briarhopper
http://www.wbtbriarhoppers.blogspot.com

deuceswilde - Posted - 11/02/2008:  17:59:01


I typically don't venture into this side of the HO, but this one caught my attention. The "primitive" style 3-finger, what is that? What we call classic style banjo (not classical) today is anything but primitive. Hear examples here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wxbk3u_GeQE

http://tinyurl.com/5d8n92

http://tinyurl.com/2byxd4

It predates Earl Scruggs birth, and I do not mean the creation of his style. If there is another style, I would love to hear about it.



-Joel

Success always comes to those who have the money to buy it.

-The Adventures of a Banjo Player, 1884 p.26

EggerRidgeBoy - Posted - 11/02/2008:  18:19:41


quote:
Originally posted by deuceswilde

I typically don't venture into this side of the HO, but this one caught my attention. The "primitive" style 3-finger, what is that? What we call classic style banjo (not classical) today is anything but primitive. Hear examples here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wxbk3u_GeQE

http://tinyurl.com/5d8n92

http://tinyurl.com/2byxd4

It predates Earl Scruggs birth, and I do not mean the creation of his style. If there is another style, I would love to hear about it.



-Joel

Success always comes to those who have the money to buy it.

-The Adventures of a Banjo Player, 1884 p.26



The "primitive" three finger-styles referenced are not classic style banjo. They are pre-bluegrass three-finger styles common in the southern Appalachians (and probably elsewhere) in the 1920's, 30's and 40's. Scruggs style three-finger picking can be thought of as a further development of such older styles (some might resist labeling them primitive). Michael Corcoran mentioned a few of the leading practitioners in his post - Smith Hammett, Rex Brooks, and Snuffy Jenkins. Snuffy Jenkins and several other such players can be heard on Folkways' classic 1956 release "American Banjo: Three Finger and Scruggs Style (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0..._rd_i=507846).


Edited by - EggerRidgeBoy on 11/02/2008 18:44:17

BanjoDiva - Posted - 11/02/2008:  18:27:37


quote:
Originally posted by corcoran

[Don Reno was a contemporary North Carolinian

Just a small correction -- Don Reno was originally from right here in the upstate of SC, as was Bobby Thompson.

Diva
_____________________________________________________

RK R-80 #67 "The Black Dahlia"

deuceswilde - Posted - 11/02/2008:  19:35:25


quote:
Originally posted by EggerRidgeBoy

quote:
Originally posted by deuceswilde

I typically don't venture into this side of the HO, but this one caught my attention. The "primitive" style 3-finger, what is that? What we call classic style banjo (not classical) today is anything but primitive. Hear examples here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wxbk3u_GeQE

http://tinyurl.com/5d8n92

http://tinyurl.com/2byxd4

It predates Earl Scruggs birth, and I do not mean the creation of his style. If there is another style, I would love to hear about it.



-Joel

Success always comes to those who have the money to buy it.

-The Adventures of a Banjo Player, 1884 p.26



The "primitive" three finger-styles referenced are not classic style banjo. They are pre-bluegrass three-finger styles common in the southern Appalachians (and probably elsewhere) in the 1920's, 30's and 40's. Scruggs style three-finger picking can be thought of as a further development of such older styles (some might resist labeling them primitive). Michael Corcoran mentioned a few of the leading practitioners in his post - Smith Hammett, Rex Brooks, and Snuffy Jenkins. Snuffy Jenkins and several other such players can be heard on Folkways' classic 1956 release "American Banjo: Three Finger and Scruggs Style (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0..._rd_i=507846).



Sorry, I was confused. That's good enough for me.

-Joel

Success always comes to those who have the money to buy it.

-The Adventures of a Banjo Player, 1884 p.26

Sandy Rothman - Posted - 11/03/2008:  02:43:01


Another really great place to hear some of the early 3-finger work is a wonderful CD set called "The North Carolina Banjo Collection" (Rounder 0439/40.) It has rare examples by Clay Everhart, Charlie Poole, Mack Woolbright (with the inspiration for Earl's "Home Sweet Home), Snuffy Jenkins, and others. (No Rex Brooks or Smith Hammett, unfortunately.)

BanjoDiva - Posted - 11/03/2008:  03:36:07


quote:
Originally posted by Sandy Rothman

Another really great place to hear some of the early 3-finger work is a wonderful CD set called "The North Carolina Banjo Collection" (Rounder 0439/40.) It has rare examples by Clay Everhart, Charlie Poole, Mack Woolbright (with the inspiration for Earl's "Home Sweet Home), Snuffy Jenkins, and others. (No Rex Brooks or Smith Hammett, unfortunately.)




Yep, that's a good one!

Diva
_____________________________________________________

RK R-80 #67 "The Black Dahlia"

Ronnie - Posted - 11/03/2008:  04:41:17


The CD set "You ain't talkin to me" features Charlie Poole and other early 20th
century 3 finger pickers, all of whom probably influenced Earl Scruggs. You can check it out at our local library if you are up this way.

It was good to hear from you,Lawrence!

www.bobbythompsonbanjo.com


Edited by - Ronnie on 11/03/2008 04:46:00

Glenn Tate - Posted - 11/03/2008:  06:00:19


Sorry about typing Snuffy Smith in my post. I did mean and was thinking Snuffy Jenkins, don't know why I typed "Smith." But I did say that 3 finger picking was already being played, and influenced Earl. I wrote, "However I have read that there were other 3 finger pickers such a Snuffy Jenkins that influenced him to play the 3 finger style. At that time, most banjo pickers played 2 finger style or played clawhammer."

"Opportunities are never lost. Someone will pick up the ones you miss!"

Glenn


Edited by - Glenn Tate on 11/03/2008 06:01:43

Dustyone - Posted - 11/03/2008:  09:24:54


quote:
Originally posted by angltate

Sorry about typing Snuffy Smith in my post. I did mean and was thinking Snuffy Jenkins, don't know why I typed "Smith." But I did say that 3 finger picking was already being played, and influenced Earl. I wrote, "However I have read that there were other 3 finger pickers such a Snuffy Jenkins that influenced him to play the 3 finger style. At that time, most banjo pickers played 2 finger style or played clawhammer."

"Opportunities are never lost. Someone will pick up the ones you miss!"

Glenn So you made a error no big deal



555Glenn - Posted - 11/03/2008:  11:20:07


I tought Earl how to Spelll
:)
and every thing he doesen't know


Check Out www.BanjoAcademy.org



fivebranch - Posted - 11/03/2008:  18:49:21


Yeah well I taught him Foggy Mountain Break Down(my way) He just laughed like everyone else does.

(B&JO)
Reading "It''s How Some Folks Upload New Software In Their Brains!"

Don Borchelt - Posted - 11/03/2008:  20:00:09


Technically speaking, I think Smith Hammett died a few years before Earl was born. I think Earl mentions Hammett and Rex Brooks as an influence on his older brother Junie and other local players, but I don't think Earl ever said that he heard either of them directly. If you listen to the Old Folkways CD American Banjo, Bluegrass Style, still available with a slightly different name, you can hear Snuffy Jenkins, along with Oren Jenkins, Junie Scruggs, and J.C. Sutphin, all pickers Scruggs might have heard when he was first stealing licks with his brothers banjo. Listen especially to Junie picking Cripple Creek or Sally Goodin, or Snuffy picking Cumberland Gap or John Henry. (By the way, I still pick a version of Liza Jane that was heavily influenced by the Oren Jenkins rendition on this record.) The MP3 fragment does not include any of Snuffy's Sally Goodin, but Earl's version is almost note for note the same, except for Scruggs' little timing hiccup. After you have listened to these guys, you will see instantly what Earl inherited, and what he borrowed.

http://www.amazon.com/American-Banj...p/B000001DHW

For MP3 snippets:

http://www.amazon.com/American-Banj...sic_cd_album

Elderly even has a tab book based on the record:

http://www.elderly.com/books/items/02-97307.htm

I think the other pickers on this record, like Smiley Hobbs, Larry Richardson, and the others, all came after Scruggs.



------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"I don''t like to play it like he did. I try to play it the way I play it" - fiddler Lester McCumbers, interviewed by Erynn Marshall
Check out my webpage.


Edited by - Don Borchelt on 11/03/2008 20:14:02

slickpicker - Posted - 11/03/2008:  20:45:51


quote:
Originally posted by Don Borchelt

Technically speaking, I think Smith Hammett died a few years before Earl was born. I think Earl mentions Hammett and Rex Brooks as an influence on his older brother Junie and other local players, but I don't think Earl ever said that he heard either of them directly. If you listen to the Old Folkways CD American Banjo, Bluegrass Style, still available with a slightly different name, you can hear Snuffy Jenkins, along with Oren Jenkins, Junie Scruggs, and J.C. Sutphin, all pickers Scruggs might have heard when he was first stealing licks with his brothers banjo. Listen especially to Junie picking Cripple Creek or Sally Goodin, or Snuffy picking Cumberland Gap or John Henry. (By the way, I still pick a version of Liza Jane that was heavily influenced by the Oren Jenkins rendition on this record.) The MP3 fragment does not include any of Snuffy's Sally Goodin, but Earl's version is almost note for note the same, except for Scruggs' little timing hiccup. After you have listened to these guys, you will see instantly what Earl inherited, and what he borrowed.

http://www.amazon.com/American-Banj...p/B000001DHW

For MP3 snippets:

http://www.amazon.com/American-Banj...sic_cd_album

Elderly even has a tab book based on the record:

http://www.elderly.com/books/items/02-97307.htm

I think the other pickers on this record, like Smiley Hobbs, Larry Richardson, and the others, all came after Scruggs.



------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"I don''t like to play it like he did. I try to play it the way I play it" - fiddler Lester McCumbers, interviewed by Erynn Marshall
Check out my webpage.





Whoa... thnaks for adding that Don... -SNUFFY- PLAYED JOHN HENRY IN D FIRST???? and you can really hear junies influence too....

Still though, Earl in my opinion "Cleaned it all up" and "Polished it"... and like you said may have "borrowed" a few things Im sure.. btu without a doubt the man had his own unique style too.... it is evident in something like say Farewell Blues where he does the constant steady backward roll lick... thats pure Scruggs.

I might just buy that cd now.... thanks!

-"We might''ve not -started- that song out at 99 MPH.... but by the end we was pushing 100!!"-

555Glenn - Posted - 11/03/2008:  22:42:48


Earl Scruggs (b. 1924 in Cleveland County, North Carolina) was the youngest of five children in a family where, as he remembers, there was always music. Earl’s mother, Lula Ruppe Scruggs, played the organ, and his brothers and sisters all played banjo and guitar. His father, George Elam Scruggs, played fiddle and banjo, but George died after an eight month illness when Earl was only four, so he has no memory of his father’s music. The Scruggs family did not have a radio until Earl was in his teens, but they had a banjo, a guitar, a fiddle and an Autoharp, so Earl had ample opportunity to learn to play. When he was four, he began playing the banjo using a two finger style, but he was so small that he would have to sit on the floor and slide the instrument in order to reach various positions on the neck. When he was ten he developed the three finger picking style that would become known throughout the world as “Scruggs-Style Picking,” and by his early teens he was playing the banjo at local dances and musical gatherings.

Earl stayed on his family’s farm until 1939, when he replaced Don Reno as banjo player with the Morris Brothers, whose band featured what was then known as ‘country’ or ‘hillbilly’ music. He had played with the Morris band for less than a year when he quit to return home and care for his mother. For the next several years he worked at the Lily Mills textile plant and played banjo when he had the time, but when World War Two ended, it was his mother who encouraged him to leave the mill and make music his career.

When Earl returned to music in 1945, the first band he joined was Lost John Miller and the Allied Kentuckians. The band toured regularly, but it also had a weekly radio show on WNOX in Knoxville, Tennessee, and another, lesser known program on WSM in Nashville. Jim Shumate was the fiddler with Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys at that time, and he first heard Earl play on one of the Allied Kentuckians’ weekly shows. As it happened, Stringbean had just left Monroe’s band, and Monroe asked Shumate if he knew of anyone who could replace Stringbean on the banjo. Shumate found Earl and arranged an audition for him with Monroe at the same time as the Allied Kentuckians were disbanding and Earl was preparing to return home to work at the mill. Monroe listened to Earl’s playing and asked him if he could go to work the following week. In December, 1945, Earl Scruggs joined Cedric Rainwater (Howard Watts) on bass, Chubby Wise on fiddle, Bill Monroe on mandolin, and Lester Flatt on guitar, and became a Blue Grass Boy.

Earl Scruggs spent the next three years touring and recording with Bill Monroe’s band, but in early 1948 he quit to return home where he could once again work at the mill and care for his mother. Two weeks after Earl’s departure, Lester Flatt and Cedric Rainwater both quit, and Monroe was suddenly without a band. The three men always denied that they left Monroe with the intention to form a new group, but they were soon performing together as “Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys.” Sadly for all involved, their departures from the Blue Grass Boys followed by the almost immediate formation of their new band caused a rift with Monroe that was never healed.

Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys first played as a trio on WDVA in Danville, Virginia in January, 1948. By March of that year they had left WDVA, added Jim Shumate as their fiddler, and begun playing at WHKY in Hickory, North Carolina. After Mac Wiseman joined them, they were able to move to powerful WCYB in Bristol, where the station allowed them to play and for four weeks only, to advertise their song books. During those four weeks they sold 10,000 books through the mail. In that same year they began a three year recording contract with Mercury Records. While they were at WCYB, Bill Monroe’s band played nearby and Don Reno approached Earl Scruggs with an idea for a banjo trade. In exchange for the Gibson RB-3 that Scruggs had been playing, Reno traded him the 1933/34 Gibson Granada that Snuffy Jenkins had once purchased in a pawn shop for $37.50. For many years to come, Scruggs would play the banjo once played by a man whose music he had admired when he was young.

Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys remained at WCYB until March of 1949, when a coal miners’ strike severely depressed the area and forced them to seek more lucrative employment elsewhere. They spent the next several years traveling to shows and radio stations throughout the South and continuing to record with Mercury and then Columbia Records. The best known tune they recorded during this time was “Earl’s Breakdown,” in which Earl manually down-tuned his second banjo string to produce an effect that he and his brother, Harold, had experimented with as boys. The technique proved to be so popular that it led Scruggs to develop the D tuners that eventually became marketed as Scruggs-Keith tuners. It was also during this time that Scruggs began using hooks, at first made from hairpins, to capo the fifth string.

By early 1953, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys had recorded nine albums, played at major radio stations, and had become the first country music band to have a syndicated television program. With Martha White Flour and Pet Milk as co-sponsors, they were seen weekly on more than forty stations. In September of 1954, they joined the cast of the Old Dominion Barn Dance in Richmond, Virginia, so that they could make their first major appearance outside the South as part of the New York Broadway show, “Hayride.” In New York they found that banjo playing had become popular among folk musicians, many of whom were trying to copy Scruggs’ style. When Pete Seeger included an entire section on the Scruggs Banjo Method in his book on folk music, the group found new audiences in Northeastern folk music circles.

Despite their growing musical and financial success, WSM in Nashville had never invited Flatt and Scruggs to join the Grand Ole Opry. Whether, as some people claim, this was because of their rift with long time Opry member Bill Monroe, will never be known for certain. What is known is that by 1955 there was so much fan mail, public demand, and pressure from Opry sponsor Martha White Flour, that General Manager Jack DeWitt had them appear on the Opry for the first time in January of that year.

In 1955 and 1956, Flatt and Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys won Country and Western magazine’s readers’ poll as Best Country Music Instrumental Group (with fewer than six members). At that same time, the band was the only Opry performing unit with continuous sponsorship on radio, television, and personal appearances by one company: Martha White Flour. They also recorded for the U.S. Armed Forces syndicated show, “Country Style U.S.A.,” that aired on 2500 stations. The following years saw their successes and their audiences grow. After they performed at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival, the New York Times called Earl Scruggs, “The Paganini of the five string banjo.” The band returned to Newport to perform the following year and also appeared for CBS on their first live network television show, “The Revlon Review: Folk Sound, USA.” They recorded for the first time with drums in 1960 and did their first college and university folk music concerts in 1961. On December 8, 1962, Flatt and Scruggs performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City. “The Ballad of Jed Clampett,” their recording of the theme song for televisions’, “The Beverly Hillbillies,” was the only bluegrass recording ever to reach number one on the country music charts and was nominated for a Grammy Award. Flatt and Scruggs made personal appearances on that show, which aired in 70 countries, until 1968, and they also recorded the theme songs for television’s “Green Acres” and “Petticoat Junction.” Warren Beatty used Earl Scruggs’ “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” in his movie, “Bonnie and Clyde,” and the tune won both a Grammy and a B.M.I. “Million-Air” award for having been broadcast more than a million times in the United States. In 1968, the band became the first bluegrass group to tour Asia and Peer International Corporation published Scruggs’ instruction book: Earl Scruggs and the Five String Banjo. In 1973, Scruggs received a gold book award from Peer Southern for the book, which by then had sold over a million copies.

Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs played on stage together for the last time in February of 1969 and recorded their final session six months later. Lester Flatt soon formed the group called Nashville Grass and continued to focus on traditional bluegrass sounds. Earl Scruggs formed the Earl Scruggs Revue with his sons, Gary and Randy, and began to experiment by combining traditional bluegrass songs and instruments with those used in more modern musical genres. He wrote the bluegrass score for the film, “Where the Lillies Bloom” in 1973 and continued to tour with the Earl Scruggs Revue. He and Lester Flatt were entered into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1985, and in 1991 they and Bill Monroe became members of the IBMA’s Hall of Honor.

During the 1990’s, Earl Scruggs gradually reduced his performance schedule and settled in Madison, Tennessee, with his wife, Louise, whom he had married in 1948 and who had been his Business and Booking Manager since 1956. In 2001, he joined performers from several musical genres on a CD produced by his son, Randy. Titled, “Earl Scruggs and Friends,” the CD features Earl Scruggs picking the five string banjo with artists as diverse as Johnny Cash and Elton John and showing his listeners why, after a career that has spanned more than six decades, he has become a living bluegrass legend.

Discography
Foggy Mountain Jamboree (Columbia, 1957)
Country Music (album)|Country Music (Mercury, 1958)
Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs (Mercury, 1959)
Songs of Glory (Columbia, 1960)
Flatt and Scruggs with the Foggy Mountain Boys (Harmony, 1960)
Foggy Mountain Banjo (Columbia, 1961)
Songs of the Famous Carter Family (Columbia, 1961)
Folk Songs of Our Land (Columbia, 1962)
The Original Sound of Flatt and Scruggs (Mercury, 1963)
The Ballad of Jed Clampett (Columbia, 1963)
Flatt and Scruggs at Carnegie Hall (Columbia, 1963)
Recorded Live at Vanderbilt University (Columbia, 1964)
The Fabulous Sound of Flatt and Scruggs (Columbia, 1964)
The Versatile Flatt and Scruggs (Columbia, 1965)
Great Original Recordings (Harmony, 1965)
Stars of the Grand Ol' Opry (Starday, 1966)
Town and Country (Columbia, 1966)
When the Saints Go Marching In (Columbia, 1966)
Flatt and Scruggs' Greatest Hits (Columbia, 1966)
Strictly Instrumental (Columbia, 1967)
Hear the Whistle Blow (Columbia, 1967)
Sacred Songs (Harmony, 1967)
Changing Times (Columbia, 1968)
The Story of Bonnie and Clyde (Columbia, 1968)
Nashville Airplane (Columbia, 1968)
Original Theme From Bonnie and Clyde (Mercury, 1968)
The Original Foggy Mountain Breakdown (Mercury, 1968)
Songs To Cherish (Harmony, 1968)
Detroit City (Columbia, 1969)
Final Fling (Columbia, 1970)
Flatt and Scruggs (Columbia, 1970)
Breaking Out (Columbia, 1970)
Discography retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foggy_Mountain_Boys"


Check Out www.BanjoAcademy.org



555Glenn - Posted - 11/03/2008:  22:44:50






[quote]Originally posted by fivebranch

Yeah well I taught him Foggy Mountain Break Down(my way) He just laughed like everyone else does.

(B&JO)
Reading "It''s How Some Folks Upload New Software In Their Brains!"


Check Out www.BanjoAcademy.org



Sandy Rothman - Posted - 11/04/2008:  01:15:20


An excellent, well-written overview of "the history." IMO it would make a fine outline for the Scruggs biography that urgently needs to be written.

GerhardP - Posted - 11/04/2008:  01:32:46


And to think that Scruggs didn't have an Excel practice log, chord group lists printed out, fingerboard charts hanging on the wall and probably he hardly ever practiced the F# minor scale !

Gerhard


"Most bullet holes in banjos are a result of poor aim"
(Fretless Josh Saw in BNL July ''02)

Don Borchelt - Posted - 11/04/2008:  03:12:24


Well, I stand corrected. I thought Earl was born later, for some reason I thought he was still in his teens when he went with Monroe. After reading Glenn's nice piece, I went back to read the biography in "the book," and ran across this:

"The one who inspired more people at that time was probably Smith Hammett. (As far as I can trace it back, he was the first banjo player to use three finger picking.) Smith's wife, Mrs. Ola Hammett, and my mother were cousins. Even though transportation was a problem, we visited them or they visited us quite frequently. I was not only fascinated by Smith's banjo playing, but also by a little banjo he owned. This banjo had approximately a nine inch head and the neck was about half the length of a standard banjo. It gave me a thrill to pick this little banjo, because I could hold it in my lap and be able to reach the chord positions."

Scruggs goes on to say that Smith died in 1930, when Eark would have been about six years old. So Earl did hear Smith Hammett play the banjo. I'm getting too old to rely on my memory.



------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"I don''t like to play it like he did. I try to play it the way I play it" - fiddler Lester McCumbers, interviewed by Erynn Marshall
Check out my webpage.


Edited by - Don Borchelt on 11/04/2008 06:26:07

Banjophobic - Posted - 11/04/2008:  06:54:07


No one ever truly creates music from a vacume. Earl listened to the folks already mentioned, and probably others who will remain a mystery. He synthesized what he heard into a coherant and identifiable system, with his own ideas added. So the real answer to' who taught Earl', is about every good banjo player he liked and listened to.

OSCAR82AA - Posted - 11/04/2008:  06:58:26


I think Earl's brother was a good picker also.
Showed him a few things.

OSCAR82AA - Posted - 11/04/2008:  07:00:33


Did Earl use Tabledit ?

555Glenn - Posted - 11/04/2008:  07:50:14


YES
When Earl was 5 in 1929 he got tabeledit and loaded it to his squerl powered PC lap top....
He was poor and could not afford a MAC so the PC kept crashing and he would lose intrest and began hand encoding the tab on sheep skin

quote:
Originally posted by OSCAR82AA

Did Earl use Tabledit ?





Check Out www.BanjoAcademy.org



pick1936 - Posted - 11/04/2008:  19:51:59


I think Earl learned mostly from Snuffy Jenkins, Snuffy's version of Cumberland Gap, not to much different from Eal's, Also Dear old Dixie, but eventually Earl smothed it out a lot.



Nechville. In Higginsville.
pick the banjer son.

Lee Kelso

tombriarhopper - Posted - 11/05/2008:  05:47:00


Snuffy played "Dear Old Dixie" in F...and he said there were words to the song. Does anybody have that? thanks

Tom Briarhopper
http://www.wbtbriarhoppers.blogspot.com

Jason Skinner - Posted - 11/05/2008:  14:58:42


Let's see what Don Reno has to say about it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIYpAUnY1ks



No matter what level or how bad a picker is, they will have something you can learn from them.

For my Reno Style Instruction DVDs: www.skinnerfamilyband.com
The Don Reno Fan Club: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheDonRenoFanClub
For rare Don Reno videos go here: www.youtube.com/user/renopicker


Edited by - Jason Skinner on 11/05/2008 14:59:02

Ronnie - Posted - 11/05/2008:  15:40:32


I have heard Grandpa Jones sing Dear Old Dixie, but I don't remember the lyrics.

www.bobbythompsonbanjo.com


Edited by - Ronnie on 11/05/2008 15:41:00

corcoran - Posted - 11/09/2008:  09:40:33


quote:
Originally posted by Banjophobic

No one ever truly creates music from a vacume. Earl listened to the folks already mentioned, and probably others who will remain a mystery. He synthesized what he heard into a coherant and identifiable system, with his own ideas added. So the real answer to' who taught Earl', is about every good banjo player he liked and listened to.





This is an excellent and concise summary of the situation. Congratulations!

I would also like to echo Sandy Rothman's comments about "The North Carolina Banjo Collection," on Rounder, and the album several other folks mentioned, "American Banjo: Three-finger and Scruggs Style," on Smithsonian Folkways. Anyone interested in the origins of what we call "Scruggs" style should have these CDs in his/her collection

Michael
michael.corcoran@usask.ca

OSCAR82AA - Posted - 11/09/2008:  18:54:51


I do not know who taught Earl but I just seen him on RFD television on the Marty Stuart show. And at 84 years of age Earl has not forgot anything he did learn.
The Man can still let her rip on that 5-String Banjo !!!!!

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