Mike Fuller – Fulltone Musical Products Inc.
Fulltone was founded in 1991 by Michael Fuller a Session Guitarist, Composer, Performer, and Electronic Tinkerer. Mike was featured in Guitar Player Magazine (4/93) upon winning first place in their ”Ultimate Guitarist Competition” Blues category. Fulltone pedals were born out of a love for Jimi Hendrix, fine vintage pedals and Mike’s frustration at the inconsistencies and the often fragile nature of old gear.
Even if you are not a guitarist or do not typically record guitars, you should find this conversation with Mike inspiring as there can be no compromises if you want the best tone!
Auralex: The quest for the ultimate guitar tone is frequently an all-encompassing ”disease” for those afflicted and it seems apparent that you have a severe case. Do you recall any early experiences you might share regarding your contraction of the tone ”disease?”
MF: oh yes…at 13 years old I was fixating on Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti album, using 2 cheap portable cassette recorders to bounce back and forth to try and mimick all the guitar parts on ”10 Years Gone.” And around the same time…I remember my dad walking in to the garage catching me in in full swing with a chisel in my left hand and a hammer in the right coming down on a $600 Gibson L6-S because I felt the bridge PU was too close to the bridge, making it too bright sounding. Damn that Eastern Maple was tough to get through!
Auralex: Could you briefly discuss how your awareness of acoustic factors has played a role in the development of your products?
MF: Well I have always been more fond of round tones…never really liked the Treble or Presence knobs cranked too high on the amplifier. Same thing with my studio, I like to hear the room sound but don’t like the harsh hi-end reflections that I used to experience prior to running across your guy’s products.
Auralex: Auralex appreciates your appreciation of GRAMMA (not to be redundant). What is it that GRAMMA offers you?
MF: Oh that’s easy…I use it on guitar tracks…especially when using 4×12 cabinets, and I have a few (see pic below). I use it on all Bass tracks (even though I mostly track with a small Vintage Ampeg B15) because the GRAMMA gives me control by decoupling from the surface that is under your amp. See it’s not a matter of volume, I used to record muddy Bass tracks no matter what volume I recorded at because prior to using the GRAMMA my entire floor was an extension of the cabinet! Now I don’t have to automatically reach for the EQ and shelve all frequencies below 80hz…..I get the sound of the amp consistently, no matter which room I track in.
I also have a GRAMMA board at all times under my subwoofer near my mixing console, I wouldn’t use a subwoofer without one.
Auralex: In this same regard, how have Auralex products (Studiofoam and HoverDeck) helped your studio operations?
MF: Every room is different and every room has its shortcomings…with studiofoam I can shape the sound of the room and eliminate problem spots/bad reflections. I couldn’t get a decent drum track in my current Tracking room prior to the Studiofoam install as there was a nasty ”rockabilly type” delay in the room. It’s gone now.
Ever hear or record drums in a carpeted room? (laughter) No thanks. The Hoverdeck brings the sound back to punchy, tight, crisp. Also, not all of us can afford a $100,000 floating floor in our studios, and even then you’re not guarenteed that your floor won’t become part of your drumkit. Again, I’m interested in recording the DRUMS, not the drums along with the rest of the building’s vibrations!
Auralex: Flyer question – if you had two hours right now to do anything musically related, how would you spend the time?
MF: That’s easy! I have a 1957 strat plugged in at the home studio right now! It’s plugged into a Fulltone Tube Tape Echo into a 1965 Deluxe Reverb on top of a gramma board and mic’d up with a Korby modified Telefunken-badged Neumann U67 mic! I’d track some guitar if I wasn’t talking to you right now 😉
Thank you Mike not only for your support of Auralex but for your great Fulltone products and the standards you’ve established. Here’s to great tone and inspired music.