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Aladar de Vékey

de Vekey Type 4 Concert Ukulele
Type 4
DeVekey style 2 Concert
Type 2
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 pre WWII years, (I have read it opened in 1910), and may well have been the first person to import Martin instruments  into this country. Of his own brand Ukuleles, they famously come in 4 styles, with 1 and 2 being the standard Mahogany or spruce top and 3 and 4 being increasingly ornate. They are a small (16in) Tenor size, have a fretboard than meets the body at the 10th fret rather than the 12th or higher. this gives them a distinctive elongated style of body and they do 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). 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.  I have seen some these "unbranded "ones with a sounhole label for Jose Fernandez of Saxony. Saxony would be round about where I strongly suspect they were actually made but I'm not sure if Mr. Fernandez had an instrument making factory or was just a distributor of locally made instruments?

On top of all 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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