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Getting Real

When a sax player wants to blow hard bop, he or she will grab a fairly hard reed; but when it’s time to play, say an Ibert saxophone concerto, he reaches for something softer. And when a bass player wants to pull a Jaco-like sound he’ll use a round-wound string on a Fender Jazz bass, but then out comes the bull fiddle with those classy gut strings for laying the foundation of a piano trio.

Selecting the correct instrument, or the correct setup of an instrument, is what helps a musician shape the sound he or she is looking for when performing-changing reeds or strings to suit the context is how a musician squeezes those last drops of expression, detail and interpretive nuance out of any particular piece of music.

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