Hi Jim – Your comments are “spot on” as the Brits used to say.
I was watching the PBS Bluegrass special run again locally a few days ago. It occurred to me at the time that just about every lick the banjo players were using came from Earl. From the vamping licks he used to fill a few beats, to the Foggy Mountain hammered “D” roll, to the ending tag, “shave-and-a haircut…2-bits” – Earl taught us all.
If I was advising a young player, I’d say, before you study Tony Trishka or Bela Fleck, learn every note Earl played.