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George Gruhn (left) accepts the IBMA’s Distinguished Achievement Award from artist and longtime friend Vince Gill.

George Gruhn Honored With
Bluegrass Award

Vince Gill on hand as vintage guitar expert is recognized by International Bluegrass Music Association.


GRUHN GUITARS FOUNDER received a Distinguished Achievement Award during the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) 29th Annual Awards Ceremony, held in Raleigh, North Carolina September 27. Long-time friend Vince Gill presented the award to Gruhn. The Distinguished Achievement Award honors those whose outstanding contributions or influence have left an impact on bluegrass music, whether in general or in a specific branch of the industry. According to the IBMA, the recipient “should embody the spirit of one who ‘pioneers’ or opens new possibilities for the music.”

Established in January 1970, Gruhn Guitars is a mecca for musicians and vintage instrument collectors worldwide. The store buys, sells, consigns, trades, and appraises fretted instruments while housing one of the world’s premier vintage and used collections. George Gruhn is recognized worldwide as a leading expert on vintage American fretted instruments. His contributions in support of bluegrass music remain an integral part of his work.

"What separates truly great instruments
from the average is the
finest examples seem almost alive.
They have soul and personality."

As part of his acceptance speech, Gruhn said: “Gruhn Guitars evolved as a result of a hobby that got out of hand. My academic background is all in zoology. I never set out with the intent of opening a music store, but my addiction and obsessive-compulsive disorder led me to want to collect some of the finest vintage fretted instruments—the archetypes. What separates truly great instruments from the average is the finest examples seem almost alive. They have soul and personality. They are not simply obedient servants—they become the musician’s partner and make suggestions as well as take orders.

“Most of these instruments were designed well before the advent of bluegrass music [...] but found their voice in bluegrass. Had it not been for bluegrass music, in all probability these instruments would not be nearly as revered today. I am proud to have been able to play a role in bluegrass music.”

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