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Fred Van Eps (Somerville (New Jersey), 1878 - december 30, Burbank (California), november 22, 1960) was an American banjo player and maker. Especially in the ten years of the twentieth century he was a successful artist, which made many hundreds of images for different societies. Of Eps Recording Banjo was a well-known model until 1930.
Fred Van Eps, that of father's side descended from Dutch immigrants in New York, studied violin from the age of seven. When he was twelve, he became the Lord of the banjo. He got one of his mother. As a teenager he heard the banjoïst cylinders of Vess l. Ossman, which he collected and well-studied. He bought a phonograph with which you could make your own recordings and after a lot of practice he offered in 1897 as a musician in to Edison's National Phonograph Company. He was adopted and went with pianist Frank p. Banta music for Edison. Despite the stiff competition from other banjo players, such as Ossman, but also, for example, the banjo-duo Cullen and Collins, were selling the phonograph cylinders by of Eps well. The ragtime-songs like ' were A Bunch of Rags "(1900) and ' Ar Ragtime Episode" (1902). In addition, he taught and played with local orchestras.
In 1904 made of Eps (with William d. Bowen) his first gramophone record, for Columbia Records, ' Jack Tar March ' and in 1910 he first took for Victor. He passed for Victor to re-record the Ossman's popular songs, which for technical reasons could not be more pressed (for example, if the master was damaged). Of Eps got it in the following years pressure because he went (successfully) also for other record companies. In 1912, he formed his Trio Of Eps, that would have different compositions and the hard core of his different groups would be: Van Eps Quartet, of Eps Specialty Four, Van Eps Banjo Orchestra (from 1914) and of Eps-Banta Dance Orchestra (from 1916, with Frank Banta, Jr. on piano). In his trios and groups played his brother, banjoïst Bill of Eps, drummer George Hamilton Green and saxophonist Nathan Glantz. Especially during the first world war made many recordings Of Eps. In 1917 he went with other musicians who recorded always on tour, usually made for three months, under names like the Phonograph Singers, the Popular Talking Machine Artists and Eight Famous Record Artists. Also after the war still recordings made of Eps, in New York and Montreal, but after 1922 ran that back.
Of Eps developed a banjo, the Van Eps Recording Banjo and tried with plates artist Henry Burr to set up a company to produce the instrument. He focused on the factory and got out of the Eight Famous Record Artists. It was not a success, also because by electrical recording techniques (from 1925) are louder banjo at some point was no longer needed. Around that time also the ragtime had had his best time. Of Eps made his last recordings in 1926 (for Edison) and in 1927 (Grey Gull): it was the end of the heyday of the plates artist of Eps. In the 1930s gave Van Eps banjo lessons, but also that ran: the banjo was no longer as popular. Van Eps switched over to guitar and played as a studio musician with Benny Goodman, Ray Noble and Red Norvo.
In 1950 was back with a plate Of Eps, released on their own label, ' Five String Banjo '. On the plate with six songs on the piano, he was accompanied by his son Robert. His last album was released in 1956. This played his other son, George Van Eps, on banjo. George Van Eps would later make a name as jazz guitarist.