Projects: De Vekey Style 4 uke

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Aladar de Vékey was reputedly a Hungarian who opened a music shop in Bournemouth just before the First World War. He is believed to have been the first person to import Martin ukuleles into the UK, and around 1930 commissioned a range of high quality ukes bearing his own name. Four styles were available, with Styles 3 and 4 being the most ornate. They were probably made in Germany (Bohemia or Saxony), and were sold through his own store and in London. This Style 4 was the most expensive and rarest model in the range. It is a tenor size - approximately 26 inches long with a 16.5 inch scale length. It has a fretboard which meets the body at the 10th fret rather than the 12th or higher, with a distinctive elongated style of body. Although they were made in small quantities and don’t often come up for sale they do have a reputation for being very good quality.

It's in original condition, but was found in a loft and needed extensive cleaning and setting up. The bar frets needed reprofiling, as they were uncomfortably sharp. As often occurs when ebony fingerboards dry out there was some shrinkage, so a degree of re-humidifying and feeding helped.

The body was pretty sound, although there was a minor separation in the binding at the waist - visible in the pics, which were taken before this was addressed. And there were a number of minor cracks in the back which needed attention. Unusually, the sides were solid rosewood, but the back was slab-cut and laminated on a lighter wood. Once this was done it set up and played very well.