The Black Cat Custom MKI Americano was our first Black Cat Custom offering. It began as a special request from a customer to build a MKI Tone Bender replica. Since there were probably a few other people who might also be interested in having one, we thought we might as well make five.
It seemed that there were already a few very good builders doing the point-to-point MKI thing at that time, so we wanted to come up with an angle that would really distinguish ours from the rest. And since Black Cat Pedals is very much an American brand, we had the idea of making an all American version of the MKI – Black Cat Custom MKI Americano.
So rather than using foreign-made components, we made a deliberate point of using all AMERICAN components:
- New Old Stock 1960s Texas Instruments 2N404 transistors
- Sozo and (USA) Sprague caps
- NOS carbon comp resistors
- Switchcraft jacks and Carling switch
- Custom handmade steel enclosure
We also used red and white cloth wire to go with the blue of the Sozo caps. And for a final touch, the three legs of each transistor are dressed with red, white and blue wire.
The MKI Americano was a huge hit and sold out immediately. Due to the many requests we were receiving, we decided to do a second run of ten for our email subscribers, which sold as quickly as the first run. As the requests continued, yet another run seemed inevitable.
Before we began building the third run, we were asked to refrain from using the name “Tone Bender” in our products by the owners of the trademark. So we removed the words from the graphic of the MKI Americano Series 3. Other than the omission of the Tone Bender name, the MKI Americano is made the way as it’s always been made.Made in the U.S.A.