I held my first guitar, an Egmond 12-string, when I was about 8 years old, lashing the strings but not yet playing chords and driving the neighbours out of their minds. Round about that time I also got my first record, "Are you experienced", by Mr. Hendrix. It was played countless times on a cheap plastic Philips record player (nowadays a collectible item), with my amazed brother asking: "Do you like that?" A lifelong love for the guitar was born.
My ambition was to master a craft and work with wood, a beautiful, natural material for which I felt an elemental affection. I was also a keen sailor and there followed a period of traditional yacht building at a yard in Joure, Friesland (1984). I was unable to afford an expensive guitar and the band saw at this yard cut up the pieces of maple and mahogany from which I built my first guitar. After having finished this instrument, my future was clear to me. I had seen the light.
I was convinced that first-class training was essential for making good instruments, so I started a three-year course in musical instrument making in Belgium, under the tuition of Geert Vermeiren. After completing this course, I worked at the musical instrument department of municipal museum of The Hague, where I was involved in setting up a database of technical drawings of important musical instruments from the major collections of museums around the world. This also gave me the opportunity to study important historical plucked and bowed instruments closely.
Meanwhile I was invited to participate in the entrance examination of the prestigious West Dean College in England. There an international group of students specializes several crafts, including the construction and restoration of historical plucked and bowed instruments. After succesfully passing the entrance examination, I worked for three years as an apprentice under the supervision of two masters, Roger Rose and Martin Haycock, concluding my studies by obtaining my certificate.
After my graduation (1992) and return to Holland, I joined forces with my wife Lucienne van der Lans (Violinmaker) and set up a workshop in the historical centre of Dordrecht, Holland's oldest city.