Black Cat Pedals are hand built at the FMO Gear Shop, a 1500 square foot workshop/office/gear demo space located in Foxon, CT, Southern New England, USA. On most days you can find Tom, Greg, Donato, and Sara all working at the shop. They are often joined by any number of recurring helpers, visitors and assorted characters, such as Keyboard Mike, Pablo X, Gabriel Scrole n’ Beans, Hugo, the Mayor, Dump Boy, Dave the mailman, and Delia.
The day to day operation of the business is managed by Black Cat co-owner, Tom Hughes. He’s our boss. Tom is the author of Analog Man’s Guide To Vintage Effects, keeper of the keys at For Musicians Only, and a renowned gearhead. Having known Black Cat founder Fred Bonte for several years, Tom was the one who pitched the idea of revamping the Black Cat brand and taking it to the next level.
Our master technician and head pedal builder is Greg Radawich. Greg has been with us since we relaunched the line. He had been a hardcore DIY pedal builder for more than five years before coming to work for Black Cat, so he had a solid background to begin with. The Black Cat Custom Shop was started to showcase Greg’s incredible skill and craftsmanship. Greg is a one-man pedal building MACHINE! He works in our shop 45 hours a week and has singlehandedly built more than 3000 pedals. He is ably assisted by Donato Biceglia II (a.k.a Donato Gelato), who has been with us for two and a half years. Donato is an engineering student, amp builder, and our team mascot. He helps with various tech tasks, such as preparing subassemblies, drilling boxes, and he builds the OD-1 and the Super Fuzz. Donato recently redesigned the tone stack for the Bee Buzz and Wee Buzz to double the range of the tone control without affecting the gain structure of the circuit.
Black Cat Sara is the member of our team who has been with us the longest. She is our Admin Extraordinaire, and handles almost as many tasks as Tom does, including customer service, processing orders, sales, marketing, social media, bookkeeping, photography, and many other things too numerous to mention. Sara plays the guitar as well, so she helps with testing each and every pedal before it ships: Sara plays, and Tom turns the knobs to check all the functions. She’s got a good ear too, so she can hear if something isn’t quite right with a pedal just as well as Tom can. Of course, the role Sara is best known for is as our Black Cat spokesmodel, appearing in our ads and videos.
A couple of other key people should be mentioned, although their day to day participation may not be as great. First of all, Black Cat business partner, Hugo Vivero, without whom we would not have been able to relaunch the brand. Hugo’s contributions and support with finances, connections, directions, and wise counsel have been invaluable. Another steady presence has been Mike Thompson (a.k.a. Keyboard Mike). Mike has done everything from IT and network support, to pedal building, to drilling boxes, to cleaning the shop for us. Alex Carpenter, head technician at Analog Man, helped Tom quite a bit in the early stages of relaunching the brand. And Sarah Radawich did all of our graphic design for the first couple of years after the relaunch. She handled everything from pedal graphics to ad design, and she even did the design for the first iteration of our website. We would also like to acknowledge the great engineering assistance we’ve had from our friend, Mark Miller, who passed away last fall. Mark was a retired Electrical Engineer who was always there to help us whenever we had an issue that was a little over our heads. His generosity and expertise are sorely missed.