Well, I'm back, after a week of much needed vacation. Somehow I managed not to die without the mudcat for an entire week, so I know it can be done. (hey max, I'm glad it is so easy to recall all the threads of last week)
An insterment is an extention of you. If the insterment is not very good, you suffer. I saw that on vacation while watching some girls play piano. They were better then the piano, and while they were probably used to inferior insterments (which are not that bad, I've heard some truely aweful ones, these were just not a full size Stienway grand.) When the best isn't avaiable though, they did just fine on what was there, and you could enjoy the music, but in the back of my mind was the nagging thought they they could do better on something else.
One of my co-workers used to play with a Jazz band, and he spent two years on the road taking his electric guitar to whoever the pro was in that town for an adjustment. One day he borrowed a different guitar from someone else, and was amazed at how much better it was.
Personally I hope to some day be at the level where my Mandolin isn't better then me. Not likely, it does have a sweet sound (as my instructer puts it). Accually the insterment does matter, as I discovered when I took the plastic uke off the wall and tried to tune it. Of course I could have a deaf from birth person out playing something like that in minutes.