The past few years has seen some tough times for the Musical Instruments industry in general, with many established manufacturers, distributors and retailers feeling the pinch – this has however left opportunities for a number of smaller companies to diversify and expand, and we have also seen a number of new niche companies spring up.
One of these is Fultone Brass. Set up by Neil Fulton, a well-respected UK trumpet player, Fultone Brass imports Adams trumpets to the UK as well as developing a number of new products. Earlier this year I caught up with Neil at the RNCM Festival of Brass to find out more about his new venture:
What brought you to develop a relationship with Adams?
After working for nearly 20 years in the music profession I have probably tried most of the widely recognised professional model trumpets on the market. Always striving to find the best compatible sound, highest build quality and the most efficient instruments available. That search led me in 2016 to work with the Dutch instrument maker Adams. As a result I decided to take up the opportunity of being their UK dealer and alongside my playing career I set up Fultone Brass.
How did you find the experience of trying Adams trumpets different to other instruments that you have tried or adapted?
Miel Adams is in charge of the build and development of the brass range. Every model is individually designed and built in house from start to finish. As a result the quality is outstanding. Across the range I found all the models very free blowing with great slotting and fantastic tuning. Each instrument is custom built so the choice of bell material, metal gauge and finish is up to the customer. Adams also have a Selected option in every model which is based on the most popular combinations so this helps save any confusion.
Can you give us a run-down on the range?
There really is something for everyone. The ‘commercial ‘ range is fantastic. The A1, A4, A4LT, A5, A8 and A9 would all be classed as commercial. The A4LT is proving popular for jazz and big band performers. Played in the lower dynamics it’s got great body and warmth but it lights up when you give it some for the lead stuff. Russell Bennett ( West End, John Wilson Big Band and Julian Joseph All Star Big band ) is playing on one and he loves it.
The A2, A3, A7 and A10 B-flats are more classical. The A10 with a 0.55 bell is my favourite for the orchestral repertoire, very efficient with great projection.
I’m not really a C trumpet player so the Adams C1 has been doing the rounds in the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Halle and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestras and everyone seems to really like it. The piccolo is great too, sound-wise it sits in between the Scherzer and Schilke and it comes as standard with the 3rd slide trigger and both sets of cornet and trumpet shanks.
The Adams cornet has the modern main slide tuning option and traditional 1st & 3rd triggers as well. With the help of Mark Wilkinson (principal cornet of Fodens Brass Band) we tweaked the feel of it to help fit into the traditional British Brass Band sound and Paul Hughes (principal cornet at Faireys) has been testing it out as well. I think it will prove to be very popular.
There are several Flugelhorn models as well which are great plus Euphoniums and Tubas. The E3 Euph is very popular and there is a brand new Adams trombone being launched at the Frankfurt Musik Messe in April.
Please tell us a little about the other projects that you are working on.
There are some exciting projects in the pipeline for Fultone Brass. We are on twitter now and I will be working on some short video clips of the Adams range with some of the guys, so that it is easier to see and hear them all. We are currently building an A10 for Gareth Small ( Principal Trumpet with the Halle Orchestra, London Brass) and Gareth is helping with the testing of a new Adams E-flat trumpet which is being developed at the moment.
I’ve got a new range of Fultone Brass trumpet cases as well, all made in the UK. The first batch of triple cases have all sold out so far which is great. The full range of doubles, triples and quads will be available on the site soon and we are looking at developing a new Flugelhorn/Trumpet plus mutes for commercial players.
I’ve also got a new range of intermediate instruments called Manchester Brass, exclusively available to Fultone Brass in the UK. The build quality and the valve blocks are great and they will be added to the website soon.
As well as this, the first batch of prototype Ft series trumpet mouthpieces are being tested now and the second batch with a few tweaks will be ready soon all being well, again all made in the UK.
How do you combine running this alongside your career as a freelance trumpet player?
Fultone Brass has been up and running just over a year now so it’s relatively new. It’s been great so far, being a freelance musician I get to travel all over the country so that really helps and I get to meet some great people and fantastic players from all genres of music.
You can see the range of instruments at fultonebrass.co.uk