The 68-year-old VanderAa accordions builds for customers all over the world. For 38 years now. His 287th copy is almost ready, three hundred is his goal.
Not a happy fairground noise
Van der Aa’s accordions do not produce happy fairground sounds, but deep, full sounds. And therein lies the master’s secret. It all started with his sister’s guitar she took with her when she got married, although she never played it. The then 17-year-old Van der Aa played it all the more and then built his own guitar. With hammer and pliers. “I did the LTS and was very handy.”
For Irish accordions I use Barunda teak
Frans van der Aa
After the LTS, Van der Aa went to the Graphic School in Eindhoven, later SintLucas, and then worked for years as an advertising artist. In his spare time he built musical instruments. After a visit to a large French folk festival with musicians and instrument builders, including an accordion builder, he then also focused on building accordions: the instrument he ultimately preferred to play.
De Boxtelaar started as an amateur builder of accordions. Until it was decided at work that the advertising designers had to give up their drawing pens to devote themselves to drawing with an Apple Mac. “I didn’t want to.” Van der Aa changed course and registered as an accordion builder, tuner and repairer with the Chamber of Commerce. “I continued as a professional.”
Soon his business was running smoothly. And now he only builds his last twelve accordions for top players all over the world. Anyone who thinks that accordions all look alike is wrong. “I use Barunda teak for Irish accordions,” explains Van der Aa. “That wood transmits the sound strongly.” Maple is the ideal wood for French accordions.
To give higher tones a full sound, I attach rubbers in special places
Even better sounds
The builder is constantly working on getting even more beautiful sounds. “I use a special material for the soundboard. No wood, because that makes a sound too happy. I do not want that. Fine for Vogeltjesdans, but not for French and Irish music. “
He keeps a secret which material he uses for this. And to give the high tones a fuller sound as well, Van der Aa has come up with another original solution. “I attach rubbers to special places.”
Also a beautiful exterior
Besides beautiful sounds, the accordions also have a beautiful exterior. The hand of the graphic designer is clearly visible in the beautifully decorated grill. “I use the computer for that.”