In Memoriam: Randall Fullmer
Sad news to share today as we’ve learned that bass builder Randall Fullmer of Wyn Guitars has passed away. He was 73 years old.
Fullmer built his first guitar when he was 12 years old and crafted another 30 by the time he was 18. He went to college at Washington State University. He took a film class during his second year, leading him to transfer to the California Institute of the Arts to study animation.
Fullmer had a full career in the field. He worked on films like Happy Ever After, BraveStarr, and Ghostbusters before joining Walt Disney Animation Studios. A three-month contract turned into an 18-year career during which he was the effects animator on Oliver & Company and The Little Mermaid, visual effects supervisor on Beauty and the Beast, artistic coordinator on The Lion King, and more.
He founded Wyn Guitars in 2006, where he worked as a one-man shop. His incredible designs and choice of sensational hardwoods caught the attention of the bassists like Jimmy Haslip, Abraham Laboriel, James LoMenzo, and many more.
In a 2011 feature interview, Fullmer told us about his career and concepts. When we asked about how his animation career affected his bass designs, he made some great points.
“There are very clear design principles that work in all creative mediums. As an example, in art, you often contrast big shapes with little shapes to make something visually interesting,” he said. “In music, you have soft and loud passages, uptempo and slow, familiar chord progressions, and then the unexpected chord. In guitar building, from a visual standpoint, I constantly use these principals because that’s how nature works and we’re all aware of it whether we consciously know it or not. At the same time, I want each individual instrument to look like no other – the unexpected chord.”
A documentary on Fullmer called Restrung was released in 2014. Check it out below to learn more about this incredible man.
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Randall Fullmer.