OK, lets be honest about this - it DOES matter how much talent a person has. It also matters how physically suited or encumbered they may be. That's reality. But some of the most exceptional performers I have known were not particularly gifted when they started. Conversely I have seen great natural talent put to little or no use. Hard work to overcome modest limitation seems an ideal formula for exceptional success. In the same regard, equipment matters. Finding a tool that makes it easier to achieve the desired result translates to spending more time and energy refining one's technique and expression instead of simply fighting to make the horn work. The right equipment, and what that is will be unique to the player, is a key component of allowing hard work to manifest into excellence as a player.