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 email@example.com
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.
Eating is good. Eating too much is bad. Working out is good. Work out too much and you get hurt. When it comes to our physical bodies we understand balance.
When it comes to our minds it’s kind of a free for all. Sure there’s talk about balance in regards to work and rest, and stress and fun. But are our minds just work and rest and stress and fun?
Technology is great. Too much is bad. What we lose when there’s too much technology is intention, fallibility, and selflessness. Usually in that order. Carried along by our impulse and habits we lose the intention that drives us towards where we want to go. Because we can so easily voice whatever thought comes to mind (a credible thought or not) we lose the ability to recognize that most of the time we are wrong or have nowhere close to the information needed to have an opinion. Talk about yourself enough and eventually selflessness is out the window and we are bent and satisfying ourselves.
It’s hard to tell when we lose those things because they are in our mind. We don’t have to buy new pants, we don’t limp around from running too much. Those patterns turn into our thoughts, or are removed from our thinking, so subtlety that the free-for-all that is our minds think it’s just “us”. And if there’s any doubt we use our adult-sized vocabulary to rationalize the new us. When you understand the drawbacks of technology you can balance them. Intention- set your direction. In things that need to be done, and in your interaction with other people. Fallibility- Practice keeping your opinions to yourself, knowing that sometimes thoughts are just thoughts. Selflessness- Do things for others simply because they are others.
A few years ago when I got done busking in Chicago I was talking to a grizzled veteran of musician who we affectionately referred to as Crazy Uncle Ken. I told him that it was a great busking day, as far as they go, where people got into what I was playing and it didn’t feel like I was a nuisance. He listened kindly, said that it was great I had good experience, and then said;
“Be your own cake”
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