George Van Eps

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George Van Eps
Birth name George Abel Van Eps
Born (1913-08-07)August 7, 1913
Plainfield, New Jersey, U.S.
Died November 29, 1998(1998-11-29) (aged 85)
Newport Beach, California
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1924–1998
Labels Euphoria, Capitol, Concord Jazz
Associated acts Freddy Martin, Benny Goodman, Ray Noble, Howard Alden
Notable instruments
Seven-string guitar, Gretsch signature model 1968

George Van Eps (August 7, 1913 – November 29, 1998) (often called the Father of the Seven-String Guitar) was an American swing and mainstream jazz guitarist.


George Abel Van Eps was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, in 1913. He was the son of Fred Van Eps, a popular jazz banjoist. George Van Eps was self-taught and performed professionally beginning at the age of 11. He started on guitar two years later, giving lessons when he was 15. He played with Smith Ballew, Eddie Lang, Freddy Martin, Benny Goodman, and Ray Noble.[1]

Noted for his recordings as a leader, and his work as a session musician, Van Eps was also the author of instructional books that explored his approach to guitar-based harmony. He was a pioneer of the seven-string guitar (including a Gretsch signature model released in 1968), which allowed him to incorporate sophisticated bass lines into his improvisation. He was a strong influence on later seven-string players such as Howard Alden, with whom he recorded four CDs for Concord Records in the early 1990s, Bucky Pizzarelli, and John Pizzarelli.[2]

Van Eps died of pneumonia in Newport Beach, California at the age of 85.[3]


  • 1956 Mellow Guitar (Euphoria/Sundazed)
  • 1965 My Guitar (Euphoria)
  • 1967 Seven-String Guitar (Capitol)
  • 1968 Soliloquy (Euphoria)
  • 1992 Hand-Crafted Swing (Concord Jazz)
  • 1992 Seven & Seven (Concord)
  • 1994 Keepin' Time (Concord)
  • 2003 George Van Eps, Eddie Miller, and Stanley Wright (Jump)[4]



  1. ^ Peerless, Brian (2002). Kernfeld, Barry, ed. The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. 2 (2nd ed.). New York: Grove's Dictionaries Inc. p. 825. ISBN 1-56159-284-6. 
  2. ^ Ginell, Richard S. "George Van Eps Biography". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  3. ^ Watrous, Peter (7 December 1998). "George Van Eps, 85, Musician Who Popularized 7-String Guitar". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ "George Van Eps | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 August 2016.