The pioneering bluegrass guitarist George Shuffler has died April 7. He was 88.
Shuffler, one of the forefather’s of bluegrass defined the genre with his then unique cross picking style (cross-roll) as it came to be known inspired by Maybelle Carter’s lead guitar lines and Merle Travis’ finger picking style. George Shuffler played for groups such as Bailey Brothers, had a 20 year stint with the Stanley Brothers, and then with Ralph Stanley and His Clinch Mountain Boys.
George Shuffler was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Hall of Fame in 2011.
Clinch Mountain Boys’ guitarist and friend of Shuffler, James Alan Shelton, made a statement this week on Bluegrass Today:
At a little past noon today, George Shuffler was called up to join the Angel Band. For all of us who have tried down through the years to fill his shoes in Ralph Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Boys–Larry Sparks, Keith Whitley, Ricky Lee, Renfro Proffitt, Hank Smith, Junior Blankenship and myself–we all owed a debt of gratitude to George Shuffler for showing us the way – James Alan Shelton.
Shuffler was born in Valdese, North Carolina in 1925. He received his first guitar at the age 12 and was soon appearing on stage in his local district. In 1946 he sat in with The Bailey Brothers who, were so impressed with his playing they invited him to join the band.
In 1950, Shuffler was then invited to join a new band, put together by singing duo Carter and Ralph Stanley whom he continued to play with for some 20 years