The Black Cat Custom K-Fuzz was our second Custom Shop pedal. The idea came when we had two customers call in the same week with a request for us to build a Kay Fuzztone replica. So just like we did with the MKI Americano, we decided to go ahead and make five of them and the sold out immediately. We've been getting requests to make more ever since, and we're now on our third run.
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 and 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 The Edge of U2 used it 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.
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. The enclosure is orange, like the original Kay Fuzztone, except the K-Fuzz features a spiffy sparkle orange powdercoat finish over a heavy-duty Crybaby-type enclosure. We wanted something equally spectacular for the tread and found this shiny, yet surprisingly durable gold glitter rubber foam material. For a final touch of bling, we installed an orange LED in the lower part of the case to create an under-lighting effect, along with a reflective insert on the underside of the top piece further accentuate the effect. The Black Cat K-Fuzz is one seriously pimped out pedal!
The actual circuit is the same as the original Kay Fuzztone, only we used better quality premium parts in ours. We also added an output buffer at the tail end of the circuit to compensate for the large volume drop that the original Kay suffered from. A trimpot on the circuit board allows you to adjust the output volume to your liking. We recently did an A/B comparison of our K-Fuzz with an original Kay Fuzztone. They sound virtually identical, only ours doesn't drop volume and the ride feels much smoother for your foot, as it's a real cast metal case with high quality hardware. This is no cheesy plastic novelty toy; the Black Cat K-Fuzz is a pedal you can actually use.