It took quite some time to come to terms with a changed reality. When it finally happened, it felt far less distressing than I thought. I cleaned, polished, tuned, and packed all but two of the seven guitars and stashed them carefully in the car – on their way to a new adventure in someone else’s hands. Yes, there was melancholy and a tense jaw for a few moments, but also a smile and appreciation for many grateful and pleasing recollections. Trading them in felt relieving and, surprisingly, rather empowering. The 7-string Jackson, my steady companion, was the most difficult to part with. The Fender Bass, Stratocaster, Ibanez Mikro, and vintage Samick KR rounded up the departing outfit, bags, and accessories. And they made a merry crew.
Not willing to let go entirely because I’m merely writing a new adjustment chapter in my musical life – the vintage and exceptionally nice-to-play Washburn BT-3 (lovingly restored) and Ibanez GRX (inexpensive but close to my heart) are still with me, have stories to tell, and are a joy to play. The Washburn is a resilient guitar that aged gracefully and still has a lot of life left in her. The Ibanez is fast, light, mischievous, forgiving, and patient – though it expresses its limits by crying “Tune me again” when pushed beyond its tolerance. I subconsciously flinch when playing the Ibanez close to the heel – something that will never change.
The trade-in was necessary to pare down, adjust, and recenter. I had a good idea of what I was looking for and set out with a clear mind to make it happen. When trading in, there is always a loss (you will never get a good value), but that was not my concern. I could have sold privately, but that would have meant a more protracted process I wanted to avoid. The deal was fair, indeed better, and faster than anticipated. Aware that I was trading for the one guitar that I felt – and feel, the most in sync with, despite my now permanent digit limitations, I was overcome by a sense of liberation and a confident mindset when she finally came home with me.
Daya, the name I gave her, is a translucent black Schechter C-1 Platinum, a beautiful mahogany body, a three-piece maple neck with a thin C profile, a 24-fret sound-rich rosewood fingerboard, satin chrome hardware, 18:1 Grover tuners that are an absolute pleasure, as well as classic dual EMG 81/85 active humbuckers. Playing this guitar is incredibly comfortable – it feels like heaven, perhaps because it excels and shines combined with the Boss Katana-50 MkII amplifier. Daya is a powerhouse for my needs and wants; we get along well. She forgives my hesitancy and invites me to pick up the pace whenever I can, smoothly keeping up with one another.
Sidenote on the Katana: I am blown away by its straightforwardness. Simple and easy to use, with plenty of effects onboard (that can be expanded further through the Boss Tone Studio software accessible on a computer via USB), it produces effortless sound to match any style. The MKII is the perfect amp for me and has plenty of power to keep the neighbors aware (no need for a higher output than this). It replaced my cheap old amplifier that had run its time. It is a plus that the Katana is lightweight and can be moved without too much effort. The combination of the two is thrilling – whether practicing during the day, quiet in headphones at night, or a gentle background sound while reflecting. The simple interface to Ableton (or any other mainstream digital audio workstation) is a great option.
Back to Daya. She reminds me of the first time I held a guitar in my hands decades ago. It feels like an extension of my body, a part of me that had been missing all along. This guitar fits me like a glove. It is my escape and sanctuary. I feel whole with this guitar, and nothing else matters. There is an incredible sense of belonging when I let my soul speak through the strings, lifting me and connecting in a way beyond words. It is captivating how music can touch our souls and bring us back to ourselves or together – it is a language that transcends words and speaks directly to the heart, using its power to inspire and heal. I have realized that no matter where life takes me, I will find myself again, attuned to inner peace. And I have.