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 yr right hand is.
There are 2
Nationals that I've been playing nowadays, a steel NRP that Brother
Dave gave me in California, it's light and responsive and just sings
right along with itself. My older guitar is a '99 National Delphi that
is pretty heavy in both weight and sound, it's been everywhere with me
and has a painted rooster on the back that my son and I did when he was
3 and it was raining out one day. The neck has been broken twice by 2
different airlines, but National has fixed her up like new. When I got
this guitar I got rid of my wooden one and never missed it.
Fraulini Angelina 12-string : I
asked Todd Cambio to build me something simple, with no
inlays or decorations, and he created this amazing parlor-size
12-string. It's loud all across the strings, and can play the ballads
as well as honk out the junk-rags. I've had a few 12-strings and have
really loved the instrument all along, but with my hand-troubles I've
found it harder and harder to control them. This one I can wrap myself
around keep on top of it a little better.
Mark Lillo lap-style guitar: Mark
gave me this beautiful Weissenborn style lap guitar and I've been a fan
of these guitars for a long time thanks to John Fahey and Jack Rose.
The sound is deep and completely different from my National and the
change in position has been helping my hand quite a bit. I put a
Fishman Rare Earth pickup in it, but it's already loud and has a great
bite without it.
Dresser and Connie Ward for the great photos taken at The Sh*tty Barn
in Spring Green, WI. You can find their work at nathdresser.com, conniewardphotography.com,
and The Sh*tty Barn Facebook page.
Photo credit to Connie for the banjo photo used in the banner.