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-   -   Problems with new (to me) Mule Tricone (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=625926)

sedandelivery 09-13-2021 12:18 PM

Problems with new (to me) Mule Tricone
 
Hello all,

I have been lusting after a Mule Tricone with a cutaway and pickup for several years. They rarely come up for sale, so I pounced on this one. It arrived today. It looks totally great. It plays.....not so great.

First off, when played with bare fingers there is significant rattle. I gather from research and intuition that rattle is fairly common on resonator guitars and I assume solving this issue won't be terribly difficult. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. Maybe something got jostled during shipping? For some reason it does not rattle when using a pick.

The big issue is that I can't fret a single note above the 12th fret on any string. All the strings lay on the frets too much. You can see from the photos that the neck relief seems to end at the 12th fret and then the fingerboard extension is totally flat, causing a hump that results in no playability. I know, I know, who is actually hand fretting above the 12th fret on a resonator guitar? Not many people, and for slide the guitar sounds glorious as is.

Is the type of neck/body joint issue common on resonators? I have 3 days to ship this guitar back for a refund if I need to. The guitar does not have a truss rod, that I can see. I suppose maybe you can access it from the inside?? Maybe Mule owners can chime in on how they have handled neck adjustments? Also the current string are too heavy for my liking. Maybe lighter strings will help?

Thanks in advance for any help!
https://payload.cargocollective.com/...915-2_1000.jpghttps://payload.cargocollective.com/..._0916_1000.jpghttps://payload.cargocollective.com/..._0917_1000.jpghttps://payload.cargocollective.com/..._0918_1000.jpg

pagedr 09-13-2021 12:37 PM

I'm sure some people on here more knowledgable than I about resos will chime in with their thoughts, but in addition to getting advice here it's probably not a bad idea to shoot your questions/concerns over to Matt Eich (owner of Mule). He's a nice guy and I'm sure would be happy to help you out.

sedandelivery 09-13-2021 01:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pagedr (Post 6808476)
I'm sure some people on here more knowledgable than I about resos will chime in with their thoughts, but in addition to getting advice here it's probably not a bad idea to shoot your questions/concerns over to Matt Eich (owner of Mule). He's a nice guy and I'm sure would be happy to help you out.

Cool, will reach out to him. Thanks!

rick-slo 09-13-2021 01:19 PM

Is the bridge string height adjustable?

sedandelivery 09-13-2021 02:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rick-slo (Post 6808520)
Is the bridge string height adjustable?

I believe so but I'm not exactly sure how that works with Resos.

Also, mods, feel free to move this to the Resonator section if need be. My mistake for not putting it over there.

rick-slo 09-13-2021 02:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sedandelivery (Post 6808577)
I believe so but I'm not exactly sure how that works with Resos.

Also, mods, feel free to move this to the Resonator section if need be. My mistake for not putting it over there.

If you can raise the bridge and then tighten the truss rod you might get rid the the problem without creating a problem on playing on the lower frets. Have a guitar tech check it out if any doubts about doing any tweaking yourself.

sedandelivery 09-13-2021 03:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rick-slo (Post 6808589)
If you can raise the bridge and then tighten the truss rod you might get rid the the problem without creating a problem on playing on the lower frets. Have a guitar tech check it out if any doubts about doing any tweaking yourself.

Yeah, taking it to a tech tomorrow. We'll see how that goes.

Robin, Wales 09-13-2021 04:16 PM

It is difficult to tell which aspects of the geometry need correcting without seeing the guitar. The necks on reso guitars are mounted very differently to normal acoustic guitars. The body hangs off the neck, in the same way a banjo is constructed. You may need a neck reset or rather re-fix (which is easier on a reso than a flattop). I can see a gap at the heel on one of the photos. Or you may find that the wedge between the neck stick and fretboard support plate is simply too thick and is lifting the fretboard extension.

If the tech you are seeing tomorrow has not had their hands inside a reso then they could be left scratching their head. I would definitely contact Mule. These are not cheap guitars and I'm sure that they will have a fix for you.

Teherie 09-13-2021 04:52 PM

My son ordered a New custom Mule Tricone with a cutaway Last year and itís his favorite guitar. He got a great set up on his and the owner of Mule worked at Huss and Dalton at one time. Yours looks like the same model and Iím confident they can help you out.

My son also owns both a National Tricone and a single cone too. He dropped the Tricone that he purchased used off at Elderly Instruments for a set up. He drove two hours out of his way on the way to Chicago.

blindboyjimi 09-13-2021 05:25 PM

I have a Mule single cone and it should play perfectly. Something must have got bent in shipping. Did you unscrew the top and look at the biscuit, the 3 cones and the connector pieces? The guitar is heavy and it couldíve been squeezed. The good thing is, that the parts are simple to come by and itís hopefully not the neck itself. Iíd get it checked out quickly so if itís badly damaged you can get a refund.

frankmcr 09-13-2021 07:08 PM

This article may be generally helpful.

http://www.resoguit.com/careNfeed.htm

sedandelivery 09-13-2021 08:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by blindboyjimi (Post 6808710)
I have a Mule single cone and it should play perfectly. Something must have got bent in shipping. Did you unscrew the top and look at the biscuit, the 3 cones and the connector pieces? The guitar is heavy and it couldíve been squeezed. The good thing is, that the parts are simple to come by and itís hopefully not the neck itself. Iíd get it checked out quickly so if itís badly damaged you can get a refund.

Thanks for all the input, everyone. Yeah I didn't want to open up the guitar bc I was afraid it may affect my ability to return it. I spoke with the shop...Willie's American Guitars, if anyone has any experience with them....and they have been very helpful and understanding. My tech will open everything up and take a look tomorrow and then I'll assess if it's worth keeping and fixing.

The slide notes that play well sure do sound sweet. We'll see!

achdu 09-14-2021 06:25 AM

Sorry to hear of your problem. Like you I've been lusting after a Mule.

I hope Robin Wales doesn't mind me posting the advice he used to give when he ran Busker Guitars. It helped me sort out rattles/strange noises on 2 resos I had, an MM Blues and Continental single cone.

A tech couldn't stop the rattle on the Continental - he put a matchstick in the tailpiece! Hopefully your tech will know more about resos!

http://www.buskerguitars.co.uk/3.html

sedandelivery 09-14-2021 02:47 PM

Unfortunately, upon luthier inspection, the neck on this guitar mostly likely has a manufacturing defect and will need to be completely replaced. He speculated that the location/angle of the stick may be incorrect. Not trying to put down Mule, I'm sure 99% of their stuff is fantastic. This stuff happens. Plus, who knows how well the previous owner took care of it? I will be shipping it back to the shop. I hope they ship it back to Mule for a replacement neck and somebody gets a great guitar.

Mycroft 09-19-2021 04:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sedandelivery (Post 6809350)
Unfortunately, upon luthier inspection, the neck on this guitar mostly likely has a manufacturing defect and will need to be completely replaced. He speculated that the location/angle of the stick may be incorrect. Not trying to put down Mule, I'm sure 99% of their stuff is fantastic. This stuff happens. Plus, who knows how well the previous owner took care of it? I will be shipping it back to the shop. I hope they ship it back to Mule for a replacement neck and somebody gets a great guitar.

Have you considered contacting Mule to find out what a neck replacement would run, and then see if the seller would drop the price by that much? If they are as hard to come by as you say?

blindboyjimi 09-19-2021 04:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sedandelivery (Post 6809350)
Unfortunately, upon luthier inspection, the neck on this guitar mostly likely has a manufacturing defect and will need to be completely replaced. He speculated that the location/angle of the stick may be incorrect. Not trying to put down Mule, I'm sure 99% of their stuff is fantastic. This stuff happens. Plus, who knows how well the previous owner took care of it? I will be shipping it back to the shop. I hope they ship it back to Mule for a replacement neck and somebody gets a great guitar.

I cannot imagine Matt Eich would let a defective guitar out of his shop. He is well known for perfection. But attaching an 8lb body to a light Mahogany neck and a maple biscuit sitting on very thin and fragile cones can definitely cause damage in shipping.

sedandelivery 09-19-2021 08:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mycroft (Post 6813399)
Have you considered contacting Mule to find out what a neck replacement would run, and then see if the seller would drop the price by that much? If they are as hard to come by as you say?

I have, yes. Having trouble getting an answer.

sedandelivery 09-19-2021 08:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by blindboyjimi (Post 6813409)
I cannot imagine Matt Eich would let a defective guitar out of his shop. He is well known for perfection. But attaching an 8lb body to a light Mahogany neck and a maple biscuit sitting on very thin and fragile cones can definitely cause damage in shipping.

Yes, when you put it that way, I canít imagine the guitar would have left the shop like this either. However, the guitar case has a card from Chicago music exchange in it, and I bought it from a shop called Willieís, so that would probably mean Iím at least the third owner. Heavy strings for slide, a neck with no truss rod, and previous owners that did lord knows what to itÖ.who knows how it got to be this way. I can say I noticed the neck was messed up the second I opened the case. I was hopeful that resos had some weird neck angle quirk I wasnít aware of and it would still be ok, but upon attempting to fret the higher notes I realized something was seriously wrong.

frankmcr 09-20-2021 11:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sedandelivery (Post 6813544)
Yes, when you put it that way, I canít imagine the guitar would have left the shop like this either. However, the guitar case has a card from Chicago music exchange in it, and I bought it from a shop called Willieís, so that would probably mean Iím at least the third owner. Heavy strings for slide, a neck with no truss rod, and previous owners that did lord knows what to itÖ.who knows how it got to be this way. I can say I noticed the neck was messed up the second I opened the case. I was hopeful that resos had some weird neck angle quirk I wasnít aware of and it would still be ok, but upon attempting to fret the higher notes I realized something was seriously wrong.

Seems like it's between you and the shop you bought it from, and not really related to Mule at this point.

Have you contacted Willie's?

GCWaters 09-20-2021 11:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by frankmcr (Post 6813918)
Seems like it's between you and the shop you bought it from, and not really related to Mule at this point.

Have you contacted Willie's?


Definitely contact Willie's--they have a great reputation in Minnesota and the upper midwest...

sedandelivery 09-20-2021 01:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GCWaters (Post 6813923)
Definitely contact Willie's--they have a great reputation in Minnesota and the upper midwest...

Yes I contacted Willie's about 5 mins after playing the first notes on the guitar. They have been helpful, and I will shipping the guitar back tomorrow for a refund. I also asked them if they would be able to reach out to Mule to inquire about a neck replacement but I haven't heard anything on that front.

I am little peeved that they allowed this guitar to even leave their shop. I'm guessing they got it in and somebody ripped a couple quick slide lines on it, it seemed fine and they put it up for sale. Oh well, mistakes happen.


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