For release Thursday, July 18th 2002

Gibson honors Earl Scruggs with The Earl banjo model

In honor of Earl Scruggs' monumental career achievements and his upcoming star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Gibson has created a new, limited edition, collectible/tribute banjo model: The Earl.

Gibson presented the very first "The Earl" to Scruggs on Friday, July 19, in a special ceremony at the Gibson Bluegrass Showcase, home of Gibson's Original Acoustic Instruments division. Features of The Earl include:

  • Indian rosewood neck and resonator
  • Green abalone inlay with 14K gold outlines on neck and headstock veneer
  • 14K gold "Mastertone" inlay block
  • Pure silver and silver-plated hardware
  • Gold-plated tone ring
  • Custom engraving pattern - never to be reused on any other model Gibson banjo
  • Maple binding with marquetry
  • Hand-drawn portrait of Earl by world renowned artist Randall Martin
  • Autographed by Earl Scruggs
  • Leather case with humidity gauge

List price, production schedule and other details will be announced at a later date.

Born in 1924 in North Carolina, Earl Scruggs has played Gibson banjos from the beginning of his professional career in rural North Carolina in the 1930s. His "three-finger roll" technique - known as "Scruggs-style picking" - virtually reinvented the five-string banjo and brought it from near-obscurity into many different types of music, from traditional fiddle tunes to modern rock styles. Working with Bill Monroe in the 1940s, his driving banjo became the signature sound of bluegrass music. With partner Lester Flatt from 1948-69, Earl spread his banjo style beyond bluegrass, into folk music and eventually to Hollywood, with the No. 1 recording of "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" (the theme from TV's Beverly Hillbillies). Earl then formed the Earl Scruggs Revue and from 1969-80 he continued to advance the banjo into an eclectic mix of pop and rock styles.

Through the years, musicians from every style of music have performed with Scruggs. His awards and accolades include 12 Grammy nominations, an honorary doctorate from Gardner Webb College in North Carolina, induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the International Bluegrass Music Association's Hall of Honor, the National Heritage Fellowship Award , the North Carolina Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame, the National Medal of Arts Award, the Orville H. Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Gibson company and numerous others. His best-known work, "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," became a banjo standard when it was originally recorded in 1949. It went on to win a Grammy in 1968 after being featured in the film Bonnie and Clyde and it won a second Grammy in 2001 as performed by Earl and a host of friends, including Glen Duncan, Randy Scruggs, Steve Martin, Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, Gary Scruggs, Albert Lee, Paul Shaffer, Jerry Douglas and Leon Russell.

The Earl  ImagesWeb pageFeaturePDF
Earl Portrait ModelTiff   xx.xmbJpg   1.2mb
Earl Portrait Model- Body Closeup  Tiff   xx.xmbJpg   1.3mb
Earl Portrait Model- Back Closeup  Tiff   xx.xmbJpg   2.1mb
Earl Portrait Model- Headstock Closeup  Tiff   xx.xmbJpg   1.6mb

Walter Carter, Gibson Guitar Corp., 615 871 4500,
Michelle Nikolai, Gibson Guitar Corp., 615 871 4500, ext. 2267,