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  #1  
Old 09-13-2021, 12:18 PM
sedandelivery sedandelivery is offline
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Default 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!

Last edited by Kerbie; 09-14-2021 at 06:39 AM. Reason: Language
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Old 09-13-2021, 12:37 PM
pagedr pagedr is offline
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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.
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Old 09-13-2021, 01:05 PM
sedandelivery sedandelivery is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pagedr View Post
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!
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Old 09-13-2021, 01:19 PM
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rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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Is the bridge string height adjustable?
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Old 09-13-2021, 02:30 PM
sedandelivery sedandelivery is offline
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Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
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.
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Old 09-13-2021, 02:45 PM
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rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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Originally Posted by sedandelivery View Post
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.
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Old 09-13-2021, 03:04 PM
sedandelivery sedandelivery is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
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.
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Old 09-13-2021, 04:16 PM
Robin, Wales Robin, Wales is offline
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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.
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Old 09-13-2021, 04:52 PM
Teherie Teherie is offline
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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.
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Old 09-13-2021, 05:25 PM
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blindboyjimi blindboyjimi is offline
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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.
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Old 09-13-2021, 07:08 PM
frankmcr frankmcr is offline
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This article may be generally helpful.

http://www.resoguit.com/careNfeed.htm
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Old 09-13-2021, 08:16 PM
sedandelivery sedandelivery is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blindboyjimi View Post
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!
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Old 09-14-2021, 06:25 AM
achdu achdu is offline
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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
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  #14  
Old 09-14-2021, 02:47 PM
sedandelivery sedandelivery is offline
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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.

Last edited by sedandelivery; 09-14-2021 at 02:56 PM.
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  #15  
Old 09-19-2021, 04:25 PM
Mycroft Mycroft is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sedandelivery View Post
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?
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