Earl Scruggs

Legendary musician Earl Scruggs’ Gibson RB-Granada Mastertone banjo is to be part of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s “Precious Jewels” display. The banjo, Scruggs’ primary instrument, has never before been exhibited. It will go on display July 12.

The “Precious Jewels” display is part of the Nashville museum's core exhibition, Sing Me Back Home: A Journey Through Country Music. It spotlights a handful of seminal instruments upon which much of the foundation of American music was created. Other Gibson instruments on display as include Mother Maybelle Carter’s Gibson L-5 guitar and Bill Monroe's Gibson F-5 mandolin.

The Granada was acquired by Scruggs in a trade with Don Reno in the late 1940s, and he used it on the 1949 recording of his composition “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” by Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs & the Foggy Mountain Boys. The song was a showcase for Scruggs’ astonishing dexterity. He continued to use the Granada on the road and in the studio with Flatt & Scruggs and the Earl Scruggs Revue, and he played it for the rest of his life.

Over the years, modifications and repairs to Scruggs’ favorite banjo included refitting it with nickel-plated hardware, replacing a warped neck, and adding cam-style “Scruggs tuners” to the peghead that were subsequently replaced by mechanical D-tuners. In 1988, Gibson restored the Granada’s resonator to its original sunburst finish and installed a curly maple neck in the style of the original.

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