BORN IN TEXAS NEARLY TWO decades ago, Black Cat Pedals was known for its burly overdrive and fuzz pedals until 2007, when the company took a hiatus. Five years later, a retooled Black Cat has clawed its way back on the scene with revamped versions of its classic boxes that sport metal flake enclosures housing double-sided glass epoxy PCB boards and true-bypass switching.
Small and simple, the OD-1 ($150 retail/ street price N/A) is a remake of Black Cat’s flagship “Freddy Fuzz,” which is named after Black Cat founder Fred Bonte. With a bounty of delicious output, the OD-1’s life-mission is to force feed the front end of a tube amplifier with juicy, dynamic vittles. It doesn’t take long for the OD-1 to deliver molten distortion, either. By the time the Drive control is halfway up, you’re laying it on pretty thick. The pedal is wonderfully voiced, kicking ass with either humbuckers or single-coils, and I never missed the lack of a tone control. Although you can’t turn the OD-1’s Drive off and crank the Volume for a clean boost, you can inch the Drive barely up and use the Volume control for a “clean- ish” boost that injects a wonderfully dynamic, thick n’ throaty infusion of tough midrange and sparklingly detailed highs. Back off your guitar’s volume or lighten your pick attack, and you enter a tactile wonderland of ultra dynamics.
KUDOS Mild to searing old-school grind with a boatload of dynamic response.
Channeling Ronco’s Ron Popeil is easy when you have two pedals in one, and the OD-Fuzz ($210 retail/street price N/A) does just that, offering up the Black Cat OD-1 and a separate fuzz pedal based on the classic Fuzz Face cir- cuit. Even better, you can use the overdrive and fuzz sides together for a cornucopia of grinding delights. The overdrive side boasts sick output with an abundance of dynamic distortion. The fuzz side is snarling, and it gets pretty wild pretty quickly with tones that are equal parts savage and stoney. Tonal options abound when the fuzz is used in conjunction with the over- drive, as each side’s Volume and Drive/Fuzz con- trols are in play. For example, I could have the overdrive on all the time and just use the fuzz to add some hair and punch to my lead tones, or I might preset the fuzz side for maximum buzz and use the overdrive side of the pedal to boost my fuzz level. Hip, too, is that the over- drive and fuzz remain sensitive to your playing attack and guitar volume setting no matter how severe the pedal settings. Well done!
KUDOS Two great grinders that can work together or separately.
CONTACT Black Cat Pedals; blackcatpedals.com