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Earl Scruggs and Foggy Mountain BreakdownThe Making of an American Classic$
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Thomas Goldsmith

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042966

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042966.001.0001

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Scruggs’s Banjo Gains a Cult Following

Scruggs’s Banjo Gains a Cult Following

(p.131) 14 Scruggs’s Banjo Gains a Cult Following
Earl Scruggs and Foggy Mountain Breakdown

Thomas Goldsmith

University of Illinois Press

The Gibson musical instrument company of Kalamazoo, Illinois, made certain banjos before World War II that have become storied collectors’ items because they are just like the one played by Earl Scruggs from 1949 until he died. The desired banjos have flat heads, flathead tone ring, and a one-piece flange. They were made as original five-strings, a rarity among a much greater number of four-string models made then by Gibson. Two events celebrate these banjos and specific other related models: the Banjothon get-together in early winter in East Tennessee, which attracts more than 150 lovers of these Scruggs-style models, and the Mills seminars. Picker and banjo expert Jim MIlls holds occasional seminars at his home outside Raleigh, North Carolina, inviting enthusiasts to study, admire, play, and perhaps buy one of the pricey five-string jewels.

Keywords:   Earl Scruggs, Mastertone, tone ring, Larry Matthis, Sonny Osborne, George Gruhn, Carter Vintage Guitars, Jim Mills, vintage, flathead

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