In May 2023, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum celebrated the donation of renowned musician, bluegrass pioneer, and Country Music Hall of Fame member Earl Scruggs’s storied Gibson RB-Granada Mastertone banjo to the Museum’s permanent collection.
Scruggs played the iconic banjo throughout his more than 60-year career, including in concerts, on TV sound stages, and in the recording studio with Flatt & Scruggs and the Earl Scruggs Revue. The banjo can be heard on Scruggs’s famous composition "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," by Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs & the Foggy Mountain Boys—showcasing his innovative three-finger picking style that would influence generations of musicians and expand the possibilities of the instrument across the world. The Gibson banjo remained Scruggs’s primary instrument until his passing in March 2012.
Vince Gill opens the ceremony, followed by remarks by Museum CEO Kyle Young. Lindsey Scruggs, Earl’s granddaughter, shares her memories of her grandfather playing the banjo and offered thanks to the Museum for its stewardship of country music’s story.
The Earls of Leicester—Jerry Douglas (dobro), Shawn Camp (lead vocals and guitar), Jeff White (mandolin), Johnny Warren (fiddle), Daniel Kimbro (bass), and Charlie Cushman (banjo)—perform "Salty Dog Blues" and "Rollin’ in My Sweet Baby’s Arms,” and are joined by Sierra Ferrell singing “Before I Met You.”
Before Alison Brown’s performance of “Earl’s Breakdown,” backed by the Earls of Leicester, Brown and Douglas speak about the importance of the banjo’s donation and the original instruments of Flatt & Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys being reunited again in performance for the first time in more than fifty years. "These instruments are the reason why I play music at all," said Douglas.
Following the ceremony, Scruggs’s Gibson RB-Granada Mastertone banjo was returned to the museum’s galleries. The banjo is on display in the museum’s Precious Jewel core exhibition, alongside several other iconic instruments.
Learn more about the Museum’s collection: https://countrymusichalloffame.org/collections/
FOLLOW THE MUSEUM