Aladar de Vékey

de Vekey Type 4 Concert Ukulele
Aladar de Vékey type 4
Some photos by permission of John Croft (www.theukuleleman.com)
Aladar De Vekey ukulele sound hole label
Aladar de Vékey was a music shop owner in Bournemouth, (reputedly a Hungarian Nobleman but the 1911 census shows him as having been born in Australia?) in the UK in the 1930's, (I have read it opened in 1910), and may well have been the first person to import Martins into this country. Of his own brand Ukuleles, they famously come in 4 styles, (except there are some that aren't one of the four styles?) with 1 being the least decorated and 4 the most. They are typically a Concert size, have a fretboard than meets the body at the 10th fret and have a reputation for being very good quality.

Whilst these Ukuleles do carry his name on the headstock he almost certainly did not, (as I have seen suggested), make them himself in Bournemouth. If he was the first man to import Martins into the UK this proves he was an importer with a good eye/ear and as you can see, the inner label of the style 2 on the right says quite clearly "Foreign" (and I am told by the Steve Pepper, the man who sent in the photos of his collection of all four, "all four say foreign on the label and that they were designed by Aladar" so all four do have the same inner label). At the time of production this would mean that it was produced outside of the UK and what was at the time the British Empire; so probably Bohemia but maybe elsewhere in mainland Europe, (I have heard Holland put forward by his grandson for, at least the inlay work). It is also the case that there are unbranded Ukuleles that are very similar around; a little wider in the waist and different inlays though some of these are very ornate. My Windsor is an example by the same makers and would Aladar have been making Ukuleles for Windsor? I have also seen others with no branding on the headstock but the headstock itself, plus the bridge and the tenth fret neck are all pretty distinctive making me sure they were from the same maker too. On top of this there is a myth about only 6 type 4's being made, but its only a myth there were, and still are, more than that.


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