History of Black Cat Pedals

Black Cat Pedals was founded in the heart of Texas by Fred Bonte in 1993, at the dawn of the boutique pedal era. The only other hand-built stompbox brands available at that time were Fulltone, Prescription Electronics, and Way Huge. And the handpainted Z Vex Fuzz Factory was still two years away from its debut.

Fred Bonte had spent several years as a technician and road manager touring with The Electromagnets, featuring Eric Johnson. In addition to routine maintenance and repair of the band’s gear, Fred did amp mods and built custom electronics for Eric and and the band’s bass player, Kyle Brock. One of Fred’s custom built pieces was a rackmount active splitter for the bass rig, which Kyle Brock dubbed the “Black Cat box.” From then on, Fred used the name “Black Cat” for all his custom made gear, making it the official brand name for the company he founded in 1993.

Through an early partnership with Bob Bradshaw of Custom Audio Electronics (CAE), Fred’s Black Cat Vibe found its way into the rigs of dozens of gigging professionals and many of the best known guitarists of the era. Black Cat users have included Eric Johnson, Billy F. Gibbons, Trey Anastasio (Phish), Scott Henderson, Steve Lukather, Michael Landau, and countless others.

In late 2007, Fred passed the torch over to renowned vintage effects expert Tom Hughes, to make way for a newly revamped line of Black Cat Pedals. Using Fred’s same great designs, the next generation of Black Cat Pedals has received a super-boutique makeover, featuring high-quality components and PCBs, top-notch build quality with consistent production, eye-catching graphics and deluxe packaging. Not everything has changed, however – Black Cat Pedals are still individually hand-wired and made in the USA.

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