Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wait, MORE Black Cat OD-Fuzz videos!

Seems like the Black Cat OD-Fuzz is the least camera-shy of all the Black Cat pedals lately. After posting the other OD-Fuzz video last week, we found two more new ones. The first video is by "Just Nick" from Rock N Roll Vintage, a cool gear shop in Chicago. Check it out!

The second video is by "Massimo" from the band SUPERVELOCE, who bears an uncanny resemblance to "Just Nick." But, it couldn't be the same guy... right? I mean, just listen to that accent! There's no way, right? Well, check it out and see for yourself...

I don't know, maybe I'm just gullible. Either way, nice job on the videos, guy(s)!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Black Cat OD-Fuzz video

Here's a video of the Black Cat OD-Fuzz that was made by Warren from New Zealand (though his accent suggests he is not a native Kiwi). Warren made a very clever and interesting modification to his OD-Fuzz that he'll describe when you watch the video. The video itself was very nicely done and we all really enjoyed it - thanks Warren!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Black Cat Buffer Boost

This is a custom product we did a couple of months ago. Claude from NYC contacted us to see if we could make some buffers for him. That's one of those things that's just so simple, it never even occurred to us to offer it as a product.

Claude told us that Black Cat Fred made some buffers for him many years ago, and now he wanted to get some more. Looking through some old documentation, we discovered that Fred actually built a good number of buffer pedals during the heydays of the original Black Cat.

We made a couple of different buffers for Claude. This one pictured here is a Black Cat Custom Buffer Boost. It has one input and three outputs, and the Level control can boost the signal up to 40 dBs. It's pretty snazzy looking too! Whaddaya think?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Super Fuzz explosion!

We get a lot of pedal repair work at the FMO Gear Shop, but most of them aren't as spectacular as this one. A customer emailed us to ask if we could repair a Fred Bonte era Black Cat Super Fuzz. At this point, we've done repairs on just about all of the Black Cat pedals from the original line, so I told the customer to go ahead and send it in.

When the Super Fuzz arrived, Greg opened it up and quickly figured out what the problem was. Someone had used the wrong power supply.  Now, this is not an uncommon issue when dealing with effects pedal repairs. Many 9V powered stompboxes even have a protection diode after the DC Jack for exactly that reason (guitarists aren't fond of reading instructions). But this was no ordinary repair.

Unlike the current Black Cat models, the Super Fuzz in question did not have a protection diode. So not only did it fry the DC power jack, but it blew the bottom right out of the battery. I’ve never seen anything quite like it! So I just had to take a picture (I thought maybe no one would believe me). But here's the proof.

I hope this serves as a lesson for pedal players everywhere. Remember kids, always make sure you're using the proper power supply with your favorite stompbox.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Mennen Speed Stick Rant - UPDATE!

I apparently hit a nerve with my previous post regarding my issue with the Mennen Corporation, at least according to our web stats. It seems a good number of people stumbled across our blog while looking for a place to purchase Alpine Force Speed Stick by Mennen. It was comforting to learn that I was not the only disenfranchised Mennen Speed Stick deodorant user. Maybe if we band together and rally for the cause, the Almighty Mennen Corporation will hear our pleas. Long live the Spice Scent Speed Stick! May the Alpine Force be with you!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Special Orders don't upset us!

We recently got an email from Jeff from NY, who wanted to know if we could make a Black Cat Bass Octave Fuzz with top jacks instead of side jacks. I checked with Greg first to make sure there wouldn't be any complications, and after getting the okay was happy to tell Jeff it would be no problem.

The only slight drawback would be that the silkscreen would still indicate side positions for the In and Out jacks. Jeff said that wouldn't bother him in the least, as long as the jacks were on top. This was a cool project to work on, and it turned out very nicely. The best part was getting this email we received from Jeff:

I received the pedal today... AWESOME! It sounds great, and thanks for moving the jacks to the top.

I have to say, the wiring and construction is meticulous and probably one of the finest pedals I've seen (and I've been tinkering with pedals for almost 20 years). As with most fuzz boxes, it sounds better with passive basses rather than active electronics, but it's such a nice fuzz tone.

 I really regretted selling my old Black Cat Bass Octave Fuzz (the gray one), but now I have basically the same thing only much better! Best Regards, Jeff

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Trash Cat!

I don't think we ever publicly introduced our custom made Black Cat pedalboard from Trailer Trash. This was a special request from my Black Cat business partner Hugo, who wanted a custom 100 percent Black Cat pedalboard after seeing my own personal glow-top pedalboard that Rooster from Trailer Trash built for me a few years ago.

The board includes every single production model Black Cat pedal, plus a few Black Cat Custom one-offs that Greg built especially for the board. We've officially dubbed the board Trash Cat, short for Trailer Trash/Black Cat.

The picture doesn't quite do justice to the board – in person, it's a showstopper... literally! We took it with us to the NY Amp Show, and every other person who walked by did a double-take, often stopping to ask questions or just gawk. It was a lot of fun just to see people's reactions.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Mummy Lives!

Here's something you don't see everyday, it's an Electro-Harmonix Bad Stone phase shifter. This is the very first version of the Bad Stone, sporting the infamous Mummy Face.

The Mummy Face is one of the most baffling and unsightly graphics in stompbox history. I don't know what Mike Matthews and company were thinking with this one… let's just say it was the '70s and leave it at that. For those brave enough to click, I made sure to include a nice closeup of that hideous Mummy mug.

This Bad Stone came to us in bad condition. The customer wanted us to fix it and make it sound good. Well, we succeeded on the first count. As for the second count… well, there was only so much we could do.

First, let's talk about the repair – as soon as Greg got it open and had a look at it, it was obvious that someone had been messing with the Mummy, so there had already been some poorly executed repair work. But Greg had it all figured out in less than an hour; he had to replace two electrolytic caps and a pot that had a broken lug. Then he handed the pedal to me so I could check out just how bad this Mummy could be.

All I can say is there's a good reason they don't make this one anymore. The Bad Stone is an early FET-based phaser, so the fidelity will be somewhat limited to begin with. Then again, the original MXR Phase 90 and the Maestro PS-1 Phase Shifter both used FETs, and we love those pedals. Anyway, we did spend some time calibrating the unit, but it became apparent that it wasn't going to get much better than what we had. The bottom line is this is a collector’s piece. You don't get it because it's a great phaser (it's not!), you get it for the Mummy Face. It's all about the Mummy.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mennen Speed Stick Rant

This has absolutely nothing to do with music or gear, but I just wanted to publicly vent about an issue I have with the Mennen Corporation. Since I was a teenager my favorite deodorant was Spice Scent Speed Stick by Mennen. Unfortunately, my beloved Spice Scent Speed Stick was inexplicably discontinued several years ago.

I wasn't aware of the situation at first, I just noticed that it was getting harder and harder to find. I even had a phase where I searched for it relentlessly on the Internet, like it was an obsolete germanium transistor or something. I finally called the Mennen Corporation and was told that Spice Scent Speed Stick had indeed been discontinued, but they had a new fragrance that was very similar called Alpine Force. So I begrudgingly adjusted myself to using Alpine Force.

Now, you can probably imagine the severe case of déjà vu I had when I started to discover that Alpine Force was becoming a rare commodity. I went through the same routine of relentless Internet searching. Many online companies still have the product listed. I ordered a case of 24 sticks of Alpine Force from one company, only to be refunded a couple weeks later because the product was, in fact, out of stock. So to the makers of Mennen Speed Stick, if you're listening, you just lost a lifelong customer.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Vintage Keyboard Studio update

Here's a project at the FMO Gear Shop that we haven't discussed all that much, especially considering how cool it is. It's our Vintage Keyboard Studio.

I've been working on the studio for almost two years with "Keyboard Mike" Thompson. We've rearranged the studio several times since we started, usually when a new vintage keyboard or analog synth has been brought into the fold.

I wish I had thought to document every incarnation, though we have taken a LOT of nice shots of various vintage keys. These are some pictures I took of how we had the studio set up this past May.

I got the idea for the studio a long time ago, and moving into the FMO Gear Shop gave me the first real opportunity I've had to actually try it out. We started off doing a lot of repairs and restorations.

One of the things I was particularly interested in pursuing was doing custom work and modifications on vintage keyboards and synthesizers. One of my favorite projects has been hot-rodding a 1971 Fender Rhodes Stage 73 electric piano, which you can see above. I've named it the Dream Weaver (after the song by Gary Wright).

I also had new custom cases made for my Rhodes Chroma and Rhodes Chroma Expander made of exotic figured Bubinga wood (see below).

The Bubinga wood Rhodes Chroma and Expander cases were made for me by Wes Taggart of Analogics. I have to say, I was really pleased with how they turned out. Both keyboards also have the PSU and amazing CC+ upgrades available at the website.

We're just scratching the surface, there's a ton more info about our vintage keyboard and synthesizer escapades to come. I wanted the studio to have it's own virtual home and individual identity, so we're going to be posting all of that info on our new website:

The website is a work in progress. I got the domain set up, and Keyboard Mike has been working on the content for the past week or so. I originally intended for us to use some kind of Content Management System, but Mike suggested starting with a blog format to develop some of the concepts and material. There's definitely no shortage of material either. The website in its current state is just a taste of what's in store.

One final note - the thing that really prompted the launching of the virtual Vintage Keyboard Studio is the fact that it has officially outgrown its current physical location. We just can't fit all the cool synth gear in that room in an ideal way. Not only that, but we now need the space for our other projects at the FMO Gear Shop.

So... we're looking for a new home. If anyone has any leads on finding a suitable (and roomy) spot in the vicinity of New Haven, CT that's worthy of housing all these cool vintage keys, definitely let us know.

Monday, August 9, 2010

There's a New Girl in Town

It's official... we've got a new member on our team. I hired Kryssi several weeks ago and proceeded to subject her to a grueling 90-day trial period to see if she would work out. Well, she did, and now we're glad to announce that Kryssi is a permanent member of our FMO team.

Kryssi is an accomplished guitarist who studied at Hartt School of Music, and (get this) she's actually into guitar pedals. I think there may be a dozen or so bona fide pedal chicks in the whole world, and one of them now works here. Of course, it takes a lot more than that to be able to actually handle the job, but Kryssi has proven she definitely has what it takes to make things happen. She's already taken charge of all the social networking for Black Cat Pedals, and now she'll be handling sales for Black Cat as well. Feel free to send her an email if you're interested in the pedals, or just want to say hi.

Friday, August 6, 2010

This makes it all worthwhile

It's been more than 5 years since I wrote Analog Man's Guide To Vintage Effects. The book still sells at a moderately steady pace of up to a dozen or so per week throughout the year, except during the holidays when the orders quadruple. We've now sold several thousand copies.

Of course, I realize this book is a weighty tome, but I often wonder to what extent each copy has been read. I suspect there are many owners who have never read it in its entirety, and I'm certain there are a good number who've done little more than look at the pictures (well, they are nice pictures). But once in a while, I'll get actual feedback from a reader. I always love to hear comments from people about the book, especially if they're like this email I got yesterday from "Lefty Perry" in New Hampshire:

Hey Tom,
I had to write this quick story to you. Last night I was sitting at work with your book on my desk where it always is. This guy comes in that I did not know played guitar and looked at the cover. He picked it up and said WOW, WHAT A COOL BOOK. We talked about it. He said he thought it was an old book because it is in such used up shape. I said NO, IT'S ONLY ABOUT TWO YEARS OLD BUT I READ THE BLOODY THING TWO HOURS A DAY. I have read and re-read your book over and over again. I told this guy where he could get your book because I could never lend my own copy out... MAN YOU REALLY DID A GREAT JOB ON THIS BOOK! I am sure you have never received a bad review. Thanks for your hard work!
Perry in NH USA

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Black Cat Germanium OD-Fuzz

Germanium Fuzz Lovers, rejoice! Black Cat Pedals is now offering a Germanium version of the popular Black Cat OD-Fuzz. Responding to many customer requests for an OD-Fuzz with Germanium transistors, Black Cat is now offering the Black Cat OD-Fuzz with the Germanium transistor option as a $15 upgrade.

The Black Cat Germanium OD-Fuzz is essentially the same as a standard Black Cat OD-Fuzz, except the Fuzz Face side uses two NOS 1960s metal can RCA Germanium transistors. It cleans up well when you roll back the volume on the guitar, and does everything that people have come to expect from a good Germanium Fuzz Face. It also meshes amazingly well with the OD-1 side of the OD-Fuzz.

The Black Cat Germanium OD-Fuzz ($225) is just the thing for those who like their fuzz warm and woolly. While the standard Black Cat OD-Fuzz ($210) still uses NOS Philips BC108 transistors, for those who prefer their fuzz with a silicon sizzle. For more information, check out

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Black Cat Pedals Video!

Here's a video that was shot by the folks at Premier Guitar magazine at the NY Amp Show. Greg and I are both stunningly articulate, though I can't vouch for photogenic qualities (that's why we let Sara model the shirts). This was shot rather late into the show, after I had done a full day of demoing and talking, so I was pretty beat. Greg sounds way more peppy and alert here.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Black Cat Custom MKI Americano v2

For anyone who didn't know, we did a second run of the Black Cat Custom Tone Bender MKI Americano, which we offered exclusively to our email subscribers. We built ten pedals, sold eight and have been sitting on the last two for a few weeks. But we've decided to stop being selfish and offer them up for sale. We changed the graphic slightly, but other than that these are exactly the same as the first batch. Here are some pictures of the MKI Americano v2.

We've received some fantastic feedback from our MKI Americano customers. I thought I would share a few of the comments we received. Needless to say, we're pretty overwhelmed with the response:

Hi Guys!
I won your MKI Americano on eBay in March and I just had to write to tell you that this is the best damn fuzz I have EVER PLAYED!!!!! This pedal is made so right you guys should be charging DAM prices for them. Never in my 17 years of playing and 4 years of buying VERY expensive boutique gear have I ever had so much joy playing music through a single device! It plays nice with all my guitars - 1998 Fender Strat Eric Clapton with Fralins, 1975 Stock Fender Telecaster, Gibson LP 1958 VOS, Jackson SL-3 etc. I think you guys get the idea. It loves my Mesa Stiletto 2x12 combo and my Marshall 1987x MKII. It works with everything I plug into it/it into. Great work! I have owned the ("insert name") here stuff, and I can honestly say this pedal is Number One. Could you please please please please please please please please I’M REALLY BEGGIN’ HERE GUYS!!!! Build me another one as a backup? DID I SAY PRETTY PLEASE!!!!???
Lots of love, John V

The pedal does have that MKI killer sound, dynamics and overtones; the way the notes bloom out after that are hit and raise to the distortion level, I love it! Great build and solid pedal!

Thanks, Mark H

Tom, I just got my MKI Americano and all I can say is WOW! It has far exceeded my expectations. This is probably the most difficult circuit (as I'm sure you guys know) to get right and you guys nailed it! I have 4 other MKI builds, which are all great pedals, but yours is the most authentic sounding. I think a lot of builders try too hard to make this circuit sound pretty and IMO the primitive sound is what I love about it. I was really hoping this pedal would sound more Yardbirds era Beck, sizzle, spit and all, and I got exactly that. Excellent! I am really surprised you guys got so close using American components, but I guess they are not as important as the builder's skill and ears. Anyway, Thank you for giving me the opportunity to get this incredible pedal, and I will definitely be doing business with you in the future as my finances permit. Thank you Tom and all at the shop for a really fantastic build, I will certainly enjoy it!

Mike B

The MKI arrived bright and early last week. I have to tell ya that I was in heaven over the weekend, bro. My God it's just brilliant, Tom! Absolutely brilliant! You guys hit this thing right outta the ballpark. With a Les Paul and the volume rolled back to around 7 it's so tastefully lethal. It's the 1st time I've ever turned on a pedal, fuzz or otherwise, and heard the sounds I've always heard on all my favorite records. I know you're prolly thinking that it's just the honeymoon period. But after playing for almost 32 years Tom I don't have honeymoons anymore. At this stage of the game it only takes me a few minutes to know whether or not I'm going to like a circuit or not. And after not even a minute I knew the Americano was going to be special for me. I just love it Tom. And I wanted ya to know. So that's all amigo. I just wanted to let you know that your hard work is appreciated. And that I love my MKI a metric ton. Thanks for the awesome circuit, and the lovely craftsmanship too. Peace Always,
Charlie R

Monday, June 28, 2010

More Black Cat Pedals T-Shirts

Due to popular demand, we've added a couple more sizes to our selection of Black Cat Pedals t-shirts - Small and XXL. Yes, believe it or not we have had several requests for the XXL size... in BOTH colors! And not surprisingly, we've had some requests for Small size shirts as well, one of which came from our Black Cat Pedals spokesmodel Sara, who told us that she never wears her Medium Black Cat t-shirt because it's too big for her. Here you can see her modeling the new Small size shirts.

We now have Black Cat t-shirts in both colors and all five sizes available at the FMO Gear Shop.

Friday, June 25, 2010

New Pedal - Black Cat Custom Professional MKII

Black Cat Custom is at it again. In the vein of the infamous Black Cat Tone Bender MKI Americano, we have created the Black Cat Custom Professional MKII. Like the MKI Americano, the Professional MKII began as a special request from a customer, but this time we only made two additional pedals (still available for sale as of this writing).

The Black Cat Custom Professional MKII is our take on the iconic 1960s Sola Sound Tone Bender Professional MKII, made famous by Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, and Eric Clapton among others. The Black Cat MKII is wired point-to-point on double turrets, just like the MKI Americano. However, we opted for a more traditional approach, rather than repeating the Americano theme.

Our component selection for the MKII reflects an old-school British flair, using a Newmarket NKT274 and two Philips OC75 transistors, Mullard tropical fish capacitors, and the board material is made from genuine Stonehenge bluestone (okay, I made that last part up). In all seriousness, the Black Cat Professional MKII is everything we could want in a great MKII Tone Bender.

Monday, June 21, 2010

NY Amp Show

We attended our first public event as Black Cat Pedals at the NY Amp Show, June 5th and 6th at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Piscataway, NJ... Here for your viewing pleasure are some pictures... Welcome to the Amp Show!

< Inside the Embassy Suites Hotel 
Here's the Black Cat Pedals room > 

< Embassy Suites Hotel Lobby
  Black Cat Pedalboard >

< Tom demos some Black Cat Pedals

Amp Show Souvenirs >

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Who wants a Tweed Deluxe?

That's right, we're making amps now! Check out this Tweed Deluxe clone that was just built by our assistant tech, Chase. He actually did this on his own, with very little input or assistance from Greg. And believe it or not, this was Chase's first amp build - not too shabby, huh?

Chase ordered the 5E3 kit from Mission Amps and asked if he could take a day off and work on it at our shop. Then he dug in and got to working on it pretty intensely and managed to have it finished in a couple of days. Here are some pictures of the result. Anyone need an amp kit built? Let us know!

Friday, May 7, 2010

I'm Awesome!

Hey everybody, I'm awesome! At least that's what it says on these cupcakes that Black Cat Sara made for my birthday. In case you can't see it, there's a letter on each cupcake so altogether they spell "You're Awesome." It made me feel pretty special when she brought in these awesome cupcakes... and they were pretty tasty too! Sara and I ate most of them right there on the spot, although we had some help from everyone else in the shop. Now, I don't know how awesome I really am, but I sure do have a great crew working here.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

FMO Customer of the Month - 5/10

For some strange reason, that I won't even begin to question, our sales over the past couple of months have been absolutely phenomnal. It seems like everything has picked up all at once - our custom and repair work, vintage sales, and new dealers for Black Cat Pedals. At first, I thought it must be a fluke, but the orders and requests just keep coming.

Among all this activity, there is one particular customer who really stands out - our new Canadian friend, Mr. David Sheeler. David is a vintage effects collector with exquisite taste who just discovered the FMO Gear Shop on the web. A great match! For we all know, the FMO Gear Shop has more vintage effects than any place else on the web. We helped David add several prime pieces to his collection, including a Tycobrahe PedalFlanger, an original Vox Clyde McCoy, and an original MXR Blue Box. As if that weren't enough, Dave's a super nice guy who's been great to deal with. Thanks Dave!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Two Different Shows in One Day

Things have been crazy/busy this past week, which culminated yesterday with being a vendor at the first ever Westchester Guitar Show, hosted by Rosehill Music Center, then leaving right from the guitar show to go see Todd Rundgren at the Ridgefield Playhouse. The show for this current tour is called "Todd Rundgren's Johnson" and features his band performing select works of blues legend Robert Johnson, along with many of Todd's own songs done up with a blues treatment. I went with Analog Mike, who had backstage passes and kindly invited me as his +1 guest.

I've been a Todd Rundgren fan for many, many years and I've probably seen him over 20 times. So even though I knew the guitar show would be grueling and leave me exhausted, I told Mike I would definitely be attending the concert. We had the passes courtesy of Todd's guitarist, Jesse Gress, who's an Analog Man customer. Also playing was Todd's cohort and ex-bandmate in Utopia, Kasim Sulton on bass, and former Tubes drummer Prairie Prince. Mike suggested we give Todd a signed copy of Analog Man's Guide To Vintage Effects (great idea!). The show was great, and afterwards Jesse came out and took us backstage to hang out for a bit. Here's a picture I took of Jesse's pedalboard.

Eventually, we were ushered to the tour bus, where I finally got to meet Todd and found myself... well, a little tongue-tied, honestly. I did give him a signed copy of Analog Man's Guide though, and I also brought my own personal copy of the book (in which I collect autographs) for Todd to sign. He wanted to know which page to sign, so I asked him what his favorite pedal was. After a few chuckles and a little head scratching, he said, "Well, the first pedal I ever had was that brown fuzzbox... I think it was... a Maestro?" I quickly opened the book to the picture of the Maestro FZ-1 Fuzztone. He wrote "Mmmm... I'm getting fluffy fuzzy" along with his signature and the date. 

Thursday, April 1, 2010

First Ever Interview

Stomp That Box has just published the first ever interview with yours truly. It's a lengthy, tell-all piece that details my early days at Analog Man right up to the revival of Black Cat Pedals. It's a great read with a lot of interesting and humorous anecdotes. A must for pedal heads! 

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Blog Page!

Oh hey, look! We have a new blog page. We switched over to blogger to take advantage of the features and versatility we were missing on our old blog. Unfortunately, we lost ALL the old comments that you kind people have left for us over the past year and a half. That actually bummed me out. Oh well. Please feel free to leave lots of new comments, we'd like that.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Here’s the latest from Black Cat Pedals - the Black Cat Custom K-Fuzz!

We had two customers call in the same week with a request for us to build a Kay Fuzztone replica. I knew our last custom project (the infamous Black Cat Tone Bender MKI Americano) would be a tough act to follow. So I wanted to make sure we came up with something really spectacular. And just like with the MKI Americano, I figured as long as we were doing it, we might as well go ahead and make five of them.

The original Kay Fuzztone dates back to the late 1960s. Kay produced a series of pedals using the same cheap, soft plastic treadle-type enclosure. Each pedal was a different color – there was the blue Kay Tremolo, red Wah-Wah, black Bass Boost, and the orange Fuzztone. They were super cheesy and flimsy, but some of the circuits sounded fairly decent.

The orange Kay Fuzztone has recently become extremely popular, mostly due to the fact that it was used by The Edge of U2 for the intro to the song “Elevation.” It’s also apparently a favorite of producer Daniel Lanois. So, not surprisingly, the prices for the original have seen a big increase. One recently sold on eBay for $313.19 and another one went for $511.50!!!

In keeping with the tradition of the MKI Americano, we went all out and over-the-top, doing everything the hard way and making this our most expensive undertaking yet. We needed to use a wah-type enclosure. But it couldn’t be just any wah case, no. I had to insist it was orange, like the original Kay Fuzz, which meant I had to order unpainted, unassembled wah kits ($50 each). Then I had to get them painted. I took them to a place specializing in custom automotive finishing (which added another $35 to the cost of each pedal). The color we chose is called “Molten Orange Candy.” It looks spectacular in person! But we didn’t stop there; I insisted we have something equally spectacular for the tread. I finally found this shiny, yet surprisingly durable gold glitter rubber foam material. This is one seriously pimped out pedal!

 It was actually our builder Greg’s idea to install an orange LED in the lower part of the case to create an under-lighting effect, which I got a kick out of (I told him it was like something I would have come up with). To further accentuate the effect, we installed a reflective insert on the underside of the top piece. Sound-wise, it's dead nuts close to the original, except the ride feels much smoother for your foot, as it's a real cast metal case with high quality hardware. The actual circuit is the same as the original Kay Fuzztone, only we used better quality premium parts in ours. Greg etched the boards himself, and his builds are meticulous as usual. So there it is, the Black Cat Custom K-Fuzz! Priced at $275 each, our short run of 5 pedals sold out within a week.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Black Cat Pedals T-Shirts are here!

Look what we just got - brand new Black Cat Pedals T-Shirts. There are two different shirts available: Black with yellow cat logo, and Ash with black cat logo, both in sizes Medium, Large, and X-Large. Here you can see both shirts being modeled by the lovely Black Cat Sara (click on the thumbnail pics for close-ups). You can get your own Black Cat Pedals Tee at the FMO Gear Shop.
                       Black Cat Shirt Black Cat Shirt Black Cat Shirt

Monday, February 8, 2010

Behold - the Black Cat Tone Bender MKI Americano!

Check out the debut pedal from Black Cat Custom - introducing the Black Cat Tone Bender MKI Americano! This was special request commissioned by a customer, so we decided to make five of them. They all sold rather quickly.
Although we told the customer we could make a MKI for him, it seemed to me that there are already a few DAM good builders who have been doing the point-to-point MKI thing lately. I wanted ours to be unique, so I decided to come up with an angle that would really distinguish ours from the rest.

Since Black Cat Pedals is a decidedly American brand, I came up with the idea of making an American version of the MKI – Black Cat Tone Bender MKI Americano. Rather than using British-made components (or Asian, for that matter), we made a deliberate point of using all AMERICAN components (which, believe me, was no easy feat in this finicky circuit):
Texas Instruments 2N404 trannies, Sozo and (USA) Sprague caps, NOS carbon comp resistors, Switchcraft jacks, Carling switch, etc... all inside a custom handmade enclosure. We used red and white cloth wire to go with the blue of those Sozo caps (those big ones were $7 each!). And for a final touch, the legs of each transistor are dressed with red, white and blue wire. So here, for your viewing pleasure, is the result (click on the thumbnail pics to get a better look).

Saturday, February 6, 2010

We have a new homepage!

Believe it or not, I've never had a homepage that I really liked on our website, until now! Thanks to Sarah Radawich for making this happen... thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Supa Dupa! Another FMO Custom Shop creation...

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY! 2010 is looking to be our best year yet!
FMO Supa Tone BenderHere's the latest from FMO Custom, built at the request of Ray Jung. It's a custom, one-off Supa Tone Bender, made to the specifications of the original 1974 Colorsound pedal that Steve Hackett used. Whadda ya think?
FMO Supa Tone BenderI ordered some expensive, but very cool looking enclosures for another build we're doing, and I thought it would be a good fit for this one as well. Greg etched a circuit board from scratch, and did a masterful building job, as usual. Our customer, Ray, wanted the graphics to look as close to the original as possible. Fortunately for us, we were expertly assisted to that end by Greg's wife, Sarah, who is a graphic design professional. Not only that, but it looks like Sarah will be available to help us with future graphic design projects and web design tweaks. Like I said, it's looking to be our best year yet!