Mule Resonator Guitars
Custom handmade resonator guitars
My name is Matt Eich and I, along with my brother Phil and Adam Smith, build handmade steel and brass bodied single cone and tricone resonator guitars. After witnessing Kelly Joe Phelps play his resonator at a show here in Michigan I left wondering if I could use my guitar making skills I learned at Huss and Dalton Guitars to make metal bodied resonators. They are just so much guitar: volume, range of tone, look- and potential. I wanted to do them differently. I wanted them to sound more guitar like, meaning more warmth and low end. I also wanted them to look the materials they were made from- the raw steel and brass, with a patina I've developed over the years. I'm so excited to be able to offer them to players. Options like a P90 pickup, a tricone in a single cone body like the very first National guitars... I'm having the time of my life building these instruments and hearing what players like Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, Kelly Joe, Charlie Parr, Jeffrey Foucault, Jason Dennie, Jay Lapp and so many more players I've had the pleasure to get to know during the building process. When you send an e-mail, you get me. My brother Phil will send build pictures as your guitar goes through the work. That's part of the experience and story. I'm happy you're here and if you have any questions please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The guitar made it here alright, no problems at all. In fact it was pretty close to being in tune as well. And, shoo-boy, what a stunner!! Such a beautiful thing, Matt! Just wonderful, between the wood choices and the way you’ve finished them, and the great metal-work work. Eeeh yow, I love it, I love it. The shape and size of the neck is awesome, too. Now I kinda wish I had a steel-string guitar with that same neck on it. So comfortable in my hands. Yeah; a steel string with the Mule’s neck and a 12 fret joint. That’d be a good feeling guitar. Such a great sounding guitar, I love it. A musician friend of mine, Cahalen Morrison, was over here a few days ago and he played it and loved it, too. Both the sound and the look in equal measure, both awesome. He also (as do I) loved the fact that it was quite literally “The Mule.” We both figured you nailed that one right on the head.
Peace and Blessings,
So in 1927 National made a proto-type guitar that was a tri-cone fit into a single-cone body, it was some kind of test I think and they never made a production model out of it. My Mule is just that, a tri-cone set into a single-cone stainless steel body and the sound is somewhere right in between the two designs. I'd never part with my National, but this guitar doesn't really sound anything like it, and I've found that I'm using the Mule a lot these days. Matt did a fantastic job all around on this guitar, the neck feels like I've played it for years, and it's got a custom made P-90 that really sounds nice and not overly electric. I love the sound, and it's versatile, changing from sharp to growl to mellow depending on where your right hand is.
I've been playing two or three hours every day. Open D and C a half step down feel best to me, but G rings nicely there too. It's Incredible to me - having scarcely played a steel guitar except in shops - how nuanced and sensitive to attack the cones are, how each seems to pick up different combinations of volume and frequency to generate distinct overtones. I can play quiet or hard or between to the two and it's like I have three or four different guitars. Running through my rig - essentially tape echo, trem, verb, and OD - the colors multiply. Particularly dialing up the wow and flutter on the tape echo creates some note decay with the slide that feels like a whole new tool.
the craftsmanship is just beautiful. I'm really happy to have it. When I get a chance to shoot some useful video - something you can use on your site - I certainly will.
If you have a Mule and are looking for a sweet case, I recommend the Hiscox Pro ii. The size is a Small Classical.
It will run you about $270. Do you need a $270 case? You know if you do. Chances are you’re a musician who travels with the instrument a lot, and Mainstage cases are too much $$$.
If you’re looking for a bit nicer hardshell case SKB’s classical case for $125 will do you just fine.
The Mules come with a hardshell case. I havn’t had any guitars damaged in them (outside of shipping) but if you travel with a guitar eventually they will get pretty beat up. If you’re on the list for a Mule and are interested in a Hiscox let me know and I can ship your new Mule to you in it.
A couple months ago I rented a car to get to the Dallas Guitar Show. It was my first time doing so and Hertz seemed just as bad as any. I made the reservation before my trip.
When I showed up at the counter there was a line, three people behind the desk and a kiosk with three screens and “Chat with an Expert” or something to that affect above the screens. We looked at each other in line, “Can we get our car from there? What are they expert in? I have a reservation already, are they for me?” Three people daringly stepped up to the kiosk. Two were put on hold and one got through, talking to someone on the screen via a phone. The real humans behind the counter said “Next” If the people on hold went then the people behind them felt screwed, and if the people not on the phones went the phone people got screwed. I picked up a phone and it said “Wait time 1 minute” Another person picked up a phone and it said “wait time 1 minute”. I imagine instead of it giving actual wait times it just automatically said “1 minute” or else no one would even pick up. We waited four or five and then hung up.
I got to the counter. Remember I already had a reservation but we went through it all again, insurance, did I want to upgrade? We got to the gas. The options given – I could pay for the gas in the car at $2.60/gallon, or I could use the gas and they would fill it back up at $10.99/gallon. Easy choice. More choices, more paperwork, and as I walked out into the lot to pick my vehicle I saw a sign including a third gas option – I refill the gas I use and return the car full.
Well obviously it’s in Hertz’ best interests to forget that third option right? No way you are going to pay $11/gallon and unless you use every drop of fuel in the tank you’re giving them free money. $12 or so times every time the car is rented times every car they have equals big money. At first I figured maybe there is some business reason I’m missing for that second option of paying for the full tank. But there isn’t. Why even have it except for the chance of getting those unused gallons? You’ll never run it dry, and if you do you’ll have to fill it up anyways, which is the conveniently forgotten third common sense option of paying for what you use.
It’s burglary behind a mask of confusion. It’s setting themselves for failure. Who likes renting a car? No one. Eventually these crappy companies will be the Blockbuster of travel – demolished by Uber, Zipcars, etc. They will request government bailouts, or lobby against the little guys like cities do against AirBnB and Uber. People will decry the loss of jobs when really it’s they’ve sunk their own ship- one gallon at a time.
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