Steel, weld, levers and sound - An insight into the Mule Resophonic 'Mulecaster'
I'm certainly very proud to offer such a unique selection of guitars here. It is something I set out to do, it was intentional. I've played and been obsessed with guitars since an early age, 6 in fact, and with my mind there's only so many ways I can look at a Strat or a Les Paul and still be excited about them. I do still get that way about the classics from time to time but my imagination,well, pretty much everything about the way I'm wired yearns for a little more. There's no doubting at all that each luthier I represent brings a new flavour to the table, but there's one that even among the luthiers, they'd be happy to admit is a really unique beast. It is of course, The Mulecaster, by Matt Eich of Mule Resophonic Guitars.

Mulecaster for sale UK

The welded steel body, swirly ebony fretboard board, metal headstock inlay and the familiar patina found on their resophonic instruments, from even just a visual standpoint, the Mulecaster is one on it's own. It's Tele body shape about the only aspect that is perhaps familiar to us, it's a faithful tip of the hat much like Mule's Style-O shape on the resonator builds.

Mule Resophonic - Mulecaster UK

The Mulecaster presented a new hurdle for Matt and the guys, the build approach had to be different to their resophonic guitars, this was to be an electric guitar after all. But it's very clear there is a strong undercurrent of familiarity for them, from the design of the body's f-hole, hollowed steel and patina, this is a new skill set paired with what Matt and the guys have gotten great at after building 300 or so resonators so far.

Mule Resophonic - Mulecaster UK

The neck is made by the same hands, carved away with the same ethos of being comfortable in your hand whilst you play it. That's incredibly important, no strong V, soft C, this is a profile that's shaped with the idea of simply being comfortable in a human's hand.  Matt has a great outlook on shaping guitar necks, after making 900 or so in his luthier career. He recently posted this on his instagram, it's a great insight - 
"This is how I think about neck carving after 900: blend all the neck shapes together, make them slightly thicker than average, and hands are not symmetrical. Waterloos are awesome but the one I played, the neck is a flat out V. You feel it and it’s distracting. Fender necks are like white velcro new balance shoes your grandma wears. So bland and shapeless its distracting. If you can blend the parts of the V and C shapes together you have something both camps will love. It’s familiar and refined. Hands are not symmetrical- I shift the center line towards the thumb an 1/8”. The thumb side is slightly flatter and the finger side is more curved and longer. Look at my hand in the picture. Makes sense right? This is especially true because the guitar is typically held at an angle. This twists and tightens up the grip. People want a neck that fits, not a certain shape even though those are ways big manufacturers communicate. My necks are around .875 at the first fret. Under “thick” and over the uber thin necks that is really influenced by all the Taylors out there. You don’t hold a guitar like a bat or a shovel, don’t carve necks like people do."

Mulecasters are available with torrefied maple neck, either quartersawn or flamed/figured and this is for more than just visual reasons. The torrefied maple provides the neck with further stability, which paired with titanium reinforcement rods means it's a trusty steed. It also makes difference in resonance to the guitar, which has a great affect on the Mulecaster due to the neck stick running right down to the strap pin.

Mule Resophonic - Mulecaster

The fretboard is bound in maple, and itself is beautifully swirly ebony. You can choose to have it with a flat radius, if you're a slide player you'll thank Matt for this, or with a more traditional (for electric guitar) 10" radius board if that's your jam.

Mule Resophonic -Mulecaster UK

The Sound. This is where it gets even more fun. The strings vibrations are amplified by Mule's own, in house wound Mini humbucker, or mini humbucker sized P90, both SO well suited to the guitar. It's two peas in a pod, no doubt. Below is a superb demonstration of this as Joshua Davis talks through what he expected to hear, against what he was welcomed with upon first plugging in his own Mulecaster. As well as demonstrating both types of pickup here. 'The neck pickup is really round, it reacts really well to the gain pedal, well it reacts to a lot of things really well'. I actually personally fitted the very first set Adam at Mule made, they were the mini humbucker/foil model and I genuinely loved them. I naively expected to just want to give it some grit and make some bluesy sounds, but I was a fool to think that as through a clean amp they provided me with a beautifully balanced tone that was responsive and engaging, that's important as a musician to find that in your instrument. It's more than just a great tone, you want an instrument that's immersive to play, to delve into a retrieve sounds and songs. It's funny I felt this way as it seems it's a general consensus and this video below displays it really well. 



If you've followed Mulecasters for a while, or even just had a quick look at them on our website here, you'll have no doubt spotted the Edward Scissorhands looking device behind the bridge on some models. This right here is the Hipshot multibender. Essentially a B Bender, like country players use for those cool lap steel sounds. Well, the multibender is as it sounds, and features 3 levers which can be positioned on the strings of choice and totally opens up this instruments possibilities. It became a thing for the Mulecaster after friend and Mule owner, Seth Lee Jones shown his own build Tele which features the Hipshot tailpiece. Seth absolutely wrote the book on the hipshot, no doubt at all. If you haven't seen him play, check it out, it'll change how you look at slide guitar forever, the guy is a monster. The Multibender, after some of Seth's wisdom, found it's way on the Mulecaster as an option. If you're after a new dimension to your instrument, consider ordering one on your Mulecaster, I personally adore it.

Mule Resophonic - Mulecaster UK

The first time I played a Mulecaster, I simply held it in my hands and ran my thumb across the open strings. The WHOLE thing vibrates and reacts to it, I simply didn't expect it for a heavy steel electric guitar. I put my hands around the neck and was met with the comfortable familiarity of a Mule, if you ever get the chance to even play a Mule I would highly recommend it as the necks are unreal, one of the many reasons why I'm obsessed with the things. The guitar acoustically is loud, super loud, in your hands it feels like a Tele so if you're a 25.5" scale, single cutaway kinda guy, then perhaps you'll feel at home straight away. Plugged in, is where this guitar becomes it's own. All of the elements, pickups, neck bracing and strength, profile, body resonance, it all comes together to make this unique experience. These are something truly special, I've been watching ever since as they have found their way into more and more musicians hands to see what sounds get made. It's really exciting.

Mule Resophonic - Mulecaster

If you'd like to read a little more about a Mulecaster, perhaps even find out about ordering one. Then be sure to drop by the listing HERE. The wait time for an order is currently about 10 months, you secure your place with a deposit. During the wait time we all geek out about what you think you want your Mulecaster to be, then when your turn comes around we pin it down and Matt makes it. The final bill is paid and it heads over to us, ready for you to make new music with it.
If you just want to ask me some questions about Mulecasters, be sure to hit up my inbox and it'll be my duty to have some fun talking about these amazing creations with you.

James.

Photos courtesy of Jameschiang.com, Thortography and Mule Resophonic Guitars.

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