Born of Viking origins in the Netherlands, Teye was fascinated, nay obsessed with guitars. He started on the family piano at age 4, then finally was allowed a terrible electric guitar which he immediately started modding, searching for the sounds that he heard in his head.
He bought his first decent guitar, a Gibson, and a few days later Teye sunk in the router to make space for a 3rd pickup. Never mind the warranty: innovation beckoned and the switching he installed as a teenager is not all that different from his current 3-pickup Electric Gypsy guitars.
Teye did well in school, very well, and was slated for University but then decided he wanted to dedicate his life to the guitar. He performed and released independent records in the Netherlands, Germany, London and Paris. Together with his father he built guitars and amps – most notably a bolt-for-bolt copy of his see-through Ampeg Dan Armstrong from a raw block of plexiglass.
Then Teye got a haircut and entered the Conservatory of Classical Guitar. This wild move was followed by another even more exotic: Teye hitch-hiked into flamenco music and was adopted by a gypsy family in Andalucia who taught him to play authentic flamenco guitar.
In Andalucia (southern Spain) Teye found plenty of the incredible moorish architecture that he had been so impressed with since as a young boy he devoured the works of Hal Foster. This fragile and intricate moorish beauty would feature heavily in his later guitar designs. Anyone who’s been to Cordoba, Sevilla and Granada will immediately notice.
Teye moved to the USA on invitation of country-rock cult legend Joe Ely and they released an album that mixed Joe’s Americana with Teye’s flamenco guitar: “Letter to Laredo” which made the 1995 year-end top ten of Spin and top 15 of Rolling Stone.
Teye went on to form a pure Flamenco ensemble together with his wife Belen, a flamenco dancer from Sevilla, Spain, and they toured the world. Teye pioneered several inventions for this group: a footswitchable portable dance floor with built-in contact microphones, a MIDI-switched light show, a modular headphone practise flamenco guitar, and he helped perfect the B-band contact soundboard and undersaddle pickup system.
And for himself he built a tube distortion pedal, a tube guitar amp, and his own design electric guitar. And then everything changed.
The Industry Pros offered Teye serious money for this instrument, and so he started taking orders. His wait list grew to over a year and Teye teamed up with his record company boss Evert Wilbrink and started making guitars in earnest, expanding his line with affordable versions built by a team of employees.
This was driven by his desire to offer his ‘ideal guitar’ to all those players who did not have the thick pocketbooks required to buy one of his top-of-the-line Master instruments, and during the decade following his first ‘S (Second) Series’ of 2008, Teye devoted an incredible amount of energy to make this desire become reality. S-, T-(Third), R-, F-, L-, E-(Emperor) series saw a constant improvement and many a new development. After constant prodding, and two one-offs, Teye started making basses too. And he came with new models: the Gypsy Arrow™ and Jazz Cat™.
Teye’s top of the line Master instruments are lauded by the demanding few of the entertainment world (Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes; Cliff Williams of AC/DC; Mick Taylor of the Stones; et al) as well as the Art community since they combine a stunning presence with some of the greatest Tones to ever come from an electric guitar. Teye painstakingly compiles exotic inlays and hand-engraves aluminum parts until he has created another Masterpiece. Then he fine-tunes each guitars electronic circuit and adjusts the playability to perfection.
The resulting Master guitar or bass is befitting of a King, a Sultan, a Maharadja in sheer luxury and opulence. Teye’s guitars routinely win direct A/B-comparisons with the most prized vintage instruments and reside at the top of today’s boutique market. But then they are so much more than just great guitars…
And then, in late 2018, the Dremel company sent a film crew to Sevilla to make the following:
When asked what is exactly the difference between the original A-series and my current Master instruments? All are hand-made and Hand-engraved by me, right?
Allow me to reflect:
“In 2004 I ordered the wood and aluminum to make my first A-Series. I created that guitar from my imagination out of the raw materials. Then people started placing orders with the understanding that I would build them one of those, so the next years I basically did that, with lots of room for customization and personalized engraving etc. But that pretty much sums up the original A-Series.
In 2008 I made my first La Perla™, which in 2009 literally led to my first La Llama™. Followed in 2010 by the El Dorado™ and then the Konstantinopolis™. I also made the El Doblon™ and all of those were breaking new ground for me, experimenting and solving new challenges. And those too, were re-orderable great guitars, the more special ones receiving the FS or fuera de serie (‘outstanding’) number prefix.
Then, in 2014 I was back in my workshop with lots of time on my hands and built an incredible crop of what were now called Masters (please see the Current Masters and the New Masters pages) I simply built what I was inspired to, one by one, and then the next, and THAT is how I want to do this: NO TWO are the same, every design brings new obstacles to surmount and new relief and elation when it all comes together. Of course, the basic guitar is still my original La India™ design which by now has gone thru many small improvements and fine-tuning.
But I am back at spending my life the way I want it, plus making the guitars that I really want to make: superb in every aspect and without compromises that inevitably are dictated by the need to produce.
So I am again working on my reputation as hermit: the following could have been MY motto: ‘Villa Don’t Call, Cause I’m Not Gonna Let You In.’
The above is my short bio. I’ve had a more elaborate one and then I have ‘THE ANECDOTES’: how I got to be adopted by the Gypsy Family from Cordoba; how I met Les Paul and what he had to say; how I performed with Bruce Springsteen etc. So for those who would like to read all that, please LONG BIO and THE ANECDOTES!