Bucky Pizzarelli has given the world of music many things, including two sons – John (guitar) and Martin (bass) – who feature prominently in today’s world of jazz. Born in 1926, Bucky is still going strong at eighty-eight years of age and is noted for his amazing skills as a rhythm guitar player, something he seems to have passed along to his son, John. Bucky has a strong affinity for guitar compositions of the 1930s, when jazz and dance music were brilliantly combined by the likes of Carl Kress and George Van Eps.
Bucky Played a Unique Instrument
Bucky brought one other item of note to the world of modern guitar: the 7-string electric guitar, which he played almost exclusively. He first encountered the 7-string via George Van Eps, adopting not only that instrument but also George’s renowned chord progressions that were used as solos in place of single-note runs. The chord solo has since become a standard soloing style in guitar jazz and something John Pizarelli is known for.
A Little 7 String History
For those nouveau rock guitarists who think that maybe Steve Via is responsible for the 7-string electric guitar, now you know better. We have George Van Epps and Bucky Pizzarelli to thank. Incidentally, 7-string acoustic guitars have been in use for over 150 years, having come to prominence in early-19th-century Russia and Western Europe. Van Eps had a custom 7-string electric built for him by Epiphone in the 1930s, while Bucky’s preferred instruments are built by Robert Benedetto. Finally, yes…Steve Vai is responsible for the first mass-produced electric, solid-body, 7-string guitar, the Ibanez UV-7.