10 years of Mule.

10 years of Mule.

10 years of Mule. When I was 27 I saw Kelly Joe Phelps play a resonator and he changed my life for the second time. He showed me what this instrument was capable of expressing. I didn’t recognize it then but he showed me what intuition felt like. Less like a transitory feeling and more like a puzzle fitting together while it’s on fire. More like sprinting down a hill in the dark holding fireworks. It was his gift.

“How to cut metal” - that’s the unromantic google search that started Mule. I had in fact never even thought about metal being cut at that point. “How to weld” “how to solder” “laser cutting” “what is carbon steel”. I’d learn something, buy something, take it to the garage closet HQ and make something, badly. Repeat. It took a year to finish two.

We now are in a large shop and have six employees. One of the repeat questions that comes along and is debated when it comes to handmade things: to grow or not to grow?

If there is a secret to success in the most important facets of life I think it’s this: all the big questions have dialectical answers. “An integration of opposites” to quote Marsha Linehan. An answer that is a combination of two opposing ideas that is more beneficial than either on its own. Build what musicians expect, contribute something new. Grow, stay the same. We like dichotomies - it’s a quick way of clarifying complex ideas. And most argue from those opposing positions of “this or that”. It’s easy, it’s fast. We can be instant experts. When really we are able to take the strengths of each position and combine them into something better. The essential questions are found in the process of doing this.

For 10 years showing these guitars to the world has been, “here: play it” in the form of sharing videos of players that take them someplace extraordinary. It’s the thing I love the most. My heart lights up and sprints downhill. Making music is the whole point, right? The technical side of guitar making puts people in their heads when they should be in their hearts. You Mule people get this new mentality, thanks for being part of the story.

-Matt

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