George Shuffler, a pioneering guitarist and bass player and a 2011 inductee into the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame, died Monday (April 7) at his home in Valdese, N.C. He would have been 89 on April 15.
Shuffler is credited with inventing the “cross-picking” guitar technique that enabled him to fill with both rhythm and melody the frequently long spaces between the vocal lines in bluegrass lyrics.
Prior to joining the Stanleys in 1952, Shuffler worked with the Carolina Boys, the Melody Mountain Boys, the Bailey Brothers and Jim & Jesse & the Virginia Boys. His chief musical influences were Merle Travis, the Sons of the Pioneers and the Blue Sky Boys.
As a songwriter, Shuffler is credited with composing “Give the World a Sunny Smile,” “Just a Phone Call Will Do” and “When I Receive My Robe and Crown.”
Besides his more than 17 years of playing and recording with the Stanleys, Shuffler also toured with Bill Clifton and Reno & Harrell.
He received the North Carolina Heritage Award in 2007.