Disclaimer: I'm not paid by Viking Instruments for this review.
Mouthpiece used for this review: Beechler Custom 'Jazz' #9
Reed: Fibracell #2
Firstly, I'm more of a tenor/soprano player than alto. I spent the least time on alto although it was the alto that I began learning to play the sax. Secondly, I'm more of a Selmer-guy that anything else. I love the sound and most importantly, the feel of playing a Selmer. Thus my impressions of the Viking M58 is based on my comparison with a Mark VI Selmer. Thirdly, I'm one of those alto players who think that the alto is a bright enough horn and a metal mouthpiece would not be ideal for my needs and my tastes. Fourthly, I feel that the alto has a more singing quality than a tenor, but less of it as compared to the soprano. Fifthly, I prefer my alto sound to be rich, weighted, focused with slightly round edges.
The above are the perimeters of my biases so that those who don't agree with or don't like my review can hold their peace and not start hurling knives at me.
I bought the Viking alto as I was super impressed with the tenor (read my other review). After years of playing Mark VIs and searching for a 'good one', I was thrilled to play a tenor that was "more Mark VI" than many Mark VIs I've played.
Thus G.A.S. resurfaced and I had to have the alto.
The alto played superb out of the box. Rich (the owner of Viking) had it set-up b4 shipping it.
The horn had the weight that I want in a saxophone :LIGHT. Yes, I feel that a lighter horn resonates better. Why does it weigh lighter? Go to their website and find out for yourself. I'm not a metal alloy expert but i know that the right combination yields the best resonance. Viking got it right in this department.
The ergonomics feel familiar because of my Selmer experience. The lefthand pinky cluster feels good although at first I found the low B key a little further from my finger than I'm used to. Maybe I played too much tenor and not enough alto.
Mother-of-pearl key touches feel good on me fingers.
Next, the sound. I like it. As I said, it was "more Mark Vi than a Mark VI". Buttery. Smooth. Rich. Pure unadulterated alto sound. It had the singing quality I want. I love the bottom end. I approach the alto lower register more as a tenor player. I love the booming low Bb. The entire horn was resonating. All my fingers were vibrating. The feeling on your finger tips and the sound produced....CONNECTED. I've always wanted that. I get that vibe only with a good VI.
Intonation was spot on from top to bottom. No troublesome notes. No notes that required special lipping or embochure adjustments. Altissimo....my oh my. Very easy to hit. No misses. So, bottom notes...checked. Upper register....checked.
This horn grows on you. I didn't wanna put it down. It made me wanna '"sing" through it.
Took it through a ballad (My Foolish Heart).....my heart was sold....on this horn.
So there you have it. A tenor guy's review of an alto.
Don't start throwing daggers at me.
Read my disclaimer at the beginning.
I'm going back to playing my new alto.