Steve Martin Earl Scruggs Banjo

We think of Steve Martin as a comedian and actor but he’s also a banjo player. He once said, “The banjo is such a happy instrument–you can’t play a sad song on the banjo – it always comes out so cheerful.”

Steve actually played with bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs. In the video below, you can see Steve Martin playing “Foggy Mountain Breakdown on The Late Show With David Letterman.

The banjo in Steve Martin’s comedy routines is actually not a prop. He loves playing it and he’s quite good at it!

He plays the banjo circuits with Steep Canyon Rangers and admits to owning eight banjos.

Steve Martin LOVES Banjos!

“Every one of them I use on stage since each of them has a different tone, or for tuning. I didn’t want to waste the audience’s time if we had to take a break to tune up,” Martin said in an interview with Billboard. “Some are clawhammer banjos, which is an open-back banjo, and some are bluegrass banjos, which have a resonator back. Right now I’m playing a Nechville for my three-finger style and a Deering, which is an open-back banjo and is absolutely beautiful.”

In 1969, Steve Martin was rather unknown. The then 24-year-old landed a spot playing banjo with Glen Campbell! He was a writer for “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour” and he was able to play “Cripple Creek” with five other banjo players on the show.

Martin tweeted about this when Glen Campbell passed away from Alzheimer’s last year. As you can see in the tweet below, Martin looked a lot different back then. It was before he had his signature premature grey hair.

Steve Martin has done a lot to elevate the appreciation of bluegrass music. He says, “it rivals any specialized genre.”

Share this if you love bluegrass music!

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