I’m a coffee snob, but I haven’t always been. I used to buy my coffee based on fancy labels. I’d load it down with sugar and creamer, masking the acidity, the lack of flavor, or the burnt aftertaste.
Then I started roasting my own coffee beans. I quickly found that I had a better product than anything available to me in southeastern Wisconsin. I now drink my coffee naked. It has flavor without the fillers.
I never knew that what I’d been drinking for decades was of such low quality.
I think a lot of musicians can experience the same thing with their instruments. When a horn doesn’t work for them, they add creamers and sweeteners, trying to overcome their instruments’ underlying problems. Tension creeps in. Intonation suffers. Sound quality and resonance are less than what they could be.
They’ve never experienced what is possible with an instrument that is completely natural for them.
Our main goal is to fine-tune instruments for our customers. We strive to achieve a balance of sound, color, resonance, and clarity. Many times this can be accomplished in a single visit. But we do have customers that visit from more regularly, staying on top of their changing needs.
It might be time to take a look at your horn and everything you’re adding to it to make it work for you. I’m not saying sugar is bad. Well, yes I am.
Photo by Mark Daynes