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This is a bit of a cross-post to the SOTW Facebook page, but I'm sort of floored.

So, last year, I picked up a Viking M21 alto sax on a bit of a whim, which was not in the best playing shape. It was leaky, didn't respond well in the palms or in the left-hand stack, and while it hinted at having a sweetness to it, it's condition was too wonky to really get a bead on what the upside of the horn might be. I knew enough about the platform and Rich Maraday's designs that I felt strongly there was a good horn in there. After some consultations with folks far and wide, including being told at one point the axe was "a lemon that I hope you didn't pay much for," I ended up reaching out to Ken Beason. Ken had set up my Viking M58s tenor, a horn I adore, so I wanted to see what he knew about the model and what could be done about it.

After trading some Facebook messages and a couple calls and photos, Ken felt pretty strongly he could make it sound great, so I shipped it off, and crossed my fingers. After what Ken calls a "major service" and a repadding with new resonators, what he sent back to me is not only good horn, but I dare say a great one. Sweeter than I expected with a lovely bell-like tone to it, it plays with great intonation, is fully responsive top to bottom. I don't like to compare horn models, but it has a 1940's quality to it that doesn't sound dated, just bright and clear (as opposed to buttery), yet capable of a nice growl or buzz when pushed.

I can't say this horn sounds like what I expected when I took the flyer and bought it, and I don't know if it's precisely what Rich had in mind, but whatever this horn has blossomed into, it is truly special. I can' thank or recommend Ken's craftsmanship, service and (for lack of a better word) partnership in making it possible.
 
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