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As far as performing goes, Garrison says his approach became more refined the more bluegrass he played, especially with the Punch Brothers, because they would play and record everything acoustically — or at least as acoustically as they possibly could.
"When you're playing with good musicians in that world who have really good instruments, you have to project — you have to put out a lot of sound," he notes. "So at that point, just sonically and just the way I was able to make my instrument sound, and, I guess, from just a pure tone and presence standpoint, I feel like I grew from a lot from that, and that actually helps me. I feel like now when I play jazz, because I have just a better concept of the percussiveness of the instrument, I generally try to play with as little amplifier as I possibly can, because I really want to hear that natural warmth and attack of the instrument."
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According to Garrison, who teaches music at both Metro State and the University of Colorado Denver, one of the most important things he teaches his students is versatility, something that has always served him well. "I try to expose them — whether they're electric-bass players or upright-bass players — to different kinds of music," he says of his students. "I have my electric-bass players working on Bach and my upright-bass players working on folk music, just to open their ears and see all the different possibilities."
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