Black Cat Custom Tone Bender MkI Americano

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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 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.

Black Cat

The Black Cat Custom MKI Americano was the first Black Cat Custom product. One of our good customer/collector friends (Hi Gino!) made a special request for us to build him a MKI Tone Bender replica. Then I thought as long we were going to the trouble of making one, we may as well make five, since I was pretty sure there were at least a couple of other people who might be interested.

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 all American version of the MKI – Black Cat Custom 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.

The MKI Americano was a huge hit and pre-sold almost immediately, with many requests for another run. We hadn't planned on making ANY more of the MKI Americano – we had come up with it on a whim and it turned out to be WAY more labor-intensive than we expected. But of course, we didn't want to disappoint anyone. So we did a second run of ten Black Cat Custom MKI Americanos, which was offered exclusively to our email subscribers. We changed the graphic slightly on this run, but other than that they were exactly the same as the first batch.

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