Frequently Asked Questions
We're always happy to answer questions from our customers, however we field an incredible amount of email every day. Before submitting a question to us, please check here to see if it has been answered already. Thanks! :-)
We get lots of technical questions from the gearheads, so here are answers and tips for the most common ones.
Suggestions for topics? Ask Mike here.
We use True Bypass switching (with L.E.D. status indicators) in all our pedals, whenever possible. Most other pedals have a buffered output that destroys the performance of most pedals that follow in the signal-chain. Don't be fooled by the claims of "Pure Bypass," "Hard Bypass"...etc. These are just catch phrases to divert your attention away from the fact that those pedals are not true-bypass. I designed and manufacture the Fulltone 3PDT , the world's only Super-Duty Triple Pole Double Throw footswitch.
I have manufactured my own custom Potentiometers because what has been offered as "Industry Standard" has a 20% failure rate within 2 years...not acceptable. To see how we do things click here.
All Fulltone pedals are handbuilt & tested by us at our shop in Southern California using full-sized top-notch components. In the Choralflange, a rather complex pedal as analog designs go, there are NO miniature surface mount chips, capacitors, or resistors. I have our wire custom-made, and it's 22 gauge copper stranded with no tin-coating, so it stays flexible over the years without breaking. You might not know or care about components, but you'll certainly hear the FAT, Clean, Warm results. And I practice the same philosophy on all my other pedals. Overkill? Maybe. But this is something you'll keep the rest of your playing days. It's actually amazing that we offer our pedals at comparable prices.
Here's an interview with Mike Fuller from late 2007 done by Guitar Center's Platinum Magazine
Check out the user reviews of Fulltone pedals on Harmony Central. (Note: you need to filter by "fulltone".)
Q: The OCD has the brightest LED I've ever seen, it lights up my entire pedalboard, but there is NO POPPING sound like on my other booteek effects...is the OCD true bypass?
A: Yes it is true bypass, and thanks for noticing the "no pop thing." I invented an active anti-pop circuit (not simply resistors to ground ;) that eliminates almost all the snap, thump, and pop you're used to getting at higher volumes with true bypass pedals.
Q: The OCD is huge sounding, wide open sounding, why does it make my other Overdrives sound like there's a blanket over the speakers in comparison?
A: Because 99% of all pedals use clipping diodes to achieve their distortion, and the net result is you are lopping off the upper frequencies (harmonics) and most of the lower frequencies, leaving mostly only Midrange.
Q: You're right, but why don't I hear it with other overdrives?
A: Because your overdrives filter out (Lop off ) the upper harmonics, the upper frequencies, and mask your amp's fizziness. Just turn down the OCD"s Tone control, which only affects those upper frequencies....or better yet, fix the amp.
Q: Is it ok to run the OCD higher than 9 volts?
A: Yes, you can run 9volts DC, 12volts DC, up to 18 volts DC, just make sure that the Center Pin of the adapter is "Negative." BTW, you can't hurt the OCD by using the wrong adapter because it has special protective circuitry...if you use the wrong adapter it just won't work or it will hum, but you can't hurt it.
Q: Can I buy one direct from Fulltone, I can't find one anywhere in any stores?
Because I can, because I use and love them, because many people "get it." But I absolutely HATE selling them to a newbie and going through all the time/drama that unfolds when they inevitably start complaining about things that do not (and should not) bother true tape devotees.
You should not buy a Tape Echo unless you have past Tape echo experience.
You should not buy a Tape Echo as your "gig echo" unless you have experience with tape echos as your "gig echo." You most likely do not understand how to operate it, how to maintain it, and most importantly, what to do when something goes wrong... it's like someone saying: "I want a real Tape recorder in my studio"' and then they buy a tape machine and soon the reality sets in that you have to adjust it, align it, clean it, maintain it, understand how it works, etc.
We make between 4 & 7 TTE's per week, it is not my bread & butter, I do not want it to be my bread & butter, it is a low profit item for me.
Have you ever complained about a wah wah making a "hissing noise when you sweep through the range? Yes? Then the TTE's not for you.
Ever emailed someone that your "Fuzz is too noisy?" Then for sure you are NOT a candidate for a Tube Tape echo.
If you answer "Yes" to either of the above questions, then save $1200 & stick with one of the many useful, friendly, safe, boring digital and analog delays available to you at this wonderful time in effects history.
If you are still reading this and chuckling... You might be a candidate for a TTE. If you are pissed off, I have eliminated that segment of the forum-addicted, wait-list hypnotised population that I would really rather not have to service.
I've seen comments from people desperately trying to sell their decrepit old Echoplexes on Ebay "this has huge warm sounding repeats fade beautifully, not digital sounding ike the new reissues."
Yah, the repeats are warm sounding because Echoplexes hissed and hummed so badly that Maestro/Gibson had to slap a .1uf capacitor straight to ground off the playback head to cut all the highs (and the hiss). So if you want that muffled sound... turn the TTE's tone "echo tone" knob all the way OFF and guess what, you get a .1 cap straight to ground and that lovely muffled old echoplex tone.
"Old echoplexes had this amazing out of tune warble to the repeats... you can't get that with the new tape echos!"
The lovely warble was caused from the rubber roller being old, hardening, and developing a flat spot.
If you want your TTE to be "out of tune," just take a file and sand a slight flat spot on the rubber roller.... violá. TTE owners contact me and I'll send you an extra roller -- keep one round and keep one "warbly!"
I've heard rumors of a pedal called a True-Stereo VibraChorus. Where / what is it?
I developed my ((TRUE-STEREO VIBRACHORUS)) originally in 1996, although I only made a few. Of note, Southern Tracks recording studio bought one (still in service) in 1998 and have one in my studio. I will probably come out with a production version when I get a spare moment. (What's that?)
Mine has STEREO IN's and OUT's, bridgeable via switch to MONO IN, STEREO OUT. Choice of Gold Plated contact relay electronic true bypass or "cancel" via a shared stereo 1/4" jack. True Stereo Vibrato ala nothing you've ever heard, because while the vibrato on one output is bending UP, the other output is bending down.
- Vibrato I (outputs IN phase)
- Vibrato II (outputs OUT of phase...sounds like the amps just jumped apart another 20 feet
- Tremolo I (outputs IN phase)
- Tremolo II (outputs OUT of phase...sounds like the amps just jumped apart another 20 feet.
- Chorale VIBE I (outputs IN phase)
- Chorale VIBE II (outputs OUT of phase...sounds like the amps just jumped apart another 20 feet
What is a Wahfull® and why would I want one?
11 years ago I made a couple of fixed wah wah effects I called the Wahfull®... they were simply the guts from a wah wah stuffed inside a box with a knob so you could find that perfect Mid-Boost sound every time you kicked it on. Nice effect, sold a few, moved on.
Last year Robin Trower called me and said he was doing some gigs with Jack Bruce and asked "Would it be possible to have a wah wah in a regular box so that one could get that "fixed wah" sound by clicking on the pedal?" So I made one up and he's been using it ever since.
Want a Wahfull? Let me know! I may go in to production with this, depending on demand.
First, let's mull over the problem with ABY boxes!
There are 2 types of A/B boxes out there:
Passive A/B boxes
These are simple, inexpensive units using a footswitch to toggle between two outputs... some adding a second footswitch to combine the ouputs for the "Y" function. (both amps on) This can work fine when the AB box is placed AT THE END of a chain of various effects pedals, right before the amps.
- The first problem arises when (like me) you use a separate effects setup for each amp, placing the A/B Box BEFORE all the effects. THIS is when you will experience horrendous POPPING sound while switching between amps.
- The second problem (if you use fuzzes or hi-gain pedals) being a very loud white-water sounding HISS should you ( for example; have a fuzz on side "A") then switch to side "B" without turning off said Fuzz.
- The third problem is that you will get "loading" between the amps when running in "Y" mode where both amps are on at the same time, taking away highs and muddying up your sound.
- The fourth problem can be "phase issues" when running both amps in "Y" mode. When 2 amps are out-of-phase it can be very odd sounding, with an apparent loss in volume instead of the expected increase and a very strange EQ, like a wah-wah being on in a fixed position.
- The fifth problem can be dangerous as well as noisy; when a "ground loop" happens while connecting two amps via an A/B pedal, the result can be a constant loud HUM and could result in a nasty shock, especially hazardous when stepping up to a vocal mcirophone!
Active A/B boxes
Some active boxes can alleviate the loud popping sound, but do nothing for the other problems common to Passive A/B/Y boxes. And they introduce a new problem; They convert your guitar's native Hi-Impedance signal to Lo-Impedance. And most great distortions and Fuzzes simply do not like to see Lo-Impedance signal! They lose volume, dynamics, become trebly sounding... it just changes everything for the worse.
I'd like to use a power supply with my pedal. Is there an amperage range that I need to stay within?
There can never be too much "amperage" (common term being "CURRENT") offered by a transformer (wallwart, power supply) as a device only draws what it needs from a power supply. There can only be "not enough current," as in the transformer not having enough current to supply the demand from the pedal. Most analog pedals require only 50ma (milliamps) or less! Most adapters offer 200-500 ma or even 1000 ma (1 amp) so you're always going to be fine for that part of the equation.
What you really have to look out for is correct VOLTAGE. USA adapters all start out being fed 120 volts AC from the wall. You need to find out what the OUTPUT of the adapter is, i.e. "12V AC" (12 volts Alternating Current) or "9V DC" (9 volts Direct Current) etc. Most pedals run off a battery... right? A battery is 9 volts DC! So, you'd better make sure that the OUTPUT of the wallwart adapter reads "9V DC" and that the POLARITY is correct.
About POLARITY... does the adapter have the positive (+) going to the correct part of the plug (cable) that connects to the effect? 99% of all pedals have the NEGATIVE (-) (also called ground) going to the Center-Pin of the cable and effect's adapter port. Getting this wrong is what results in 85% of all returned/burnt-up pedals for Fulltone, and for most other manufacturers, I suspect.
Using the wrong adapter and causing damage to your effect voids the warranty and will cost between $30 and $65 plus shipping to repair.
I've found all sorts of cool stuff over the years. Here's a list of the coolest stuff and people you'll find anywhere.
Fulltone pedals are still handmade in relatively small quantities here in the Los Angeles area by myself, and around 20 employees. We work Monday through Thursday, allowing us all 3 days off per week for important things like Music & Cars. I pay my employees well and pay 100% of their Health care as well, therefore have some who have been here 5, 10, even 18 years. Just because I may change the look or features of a pedal does not mean the quality is not as good as the old days...in fact, we have less "come-backs" now than ever and our quality gets better and better as I figure out ways to make it better. That is my hobby, designing things better.
I design all the products, have no partners, I do all the books, payroll, ordering, etc. and answer to no one but my customers, IRS, and my wife.
I have turned down numerous multi-million dollar buy-out offers from large corporations and LOVE my job even more so than the day I started Fulltone in 1992.
So you can definitely call Fulltone "boutique," in fact we (arguably) invented that phrase;)