The Kay Fuzztone was a quirky, cheap looking, treadle-based fuzz pedal from the 60’s. It sounded quite unique though, and Black Cat pedals has ushered this idea into the modern era (and developed it further) with their Monster-K, an octave fuzz that is capable of complete sonic mayhem. The pedal’s first version also sported a treadle, and it was described by the manufacturer as…
…the horrific byproduct of nefarious experiments conducted by crossbreeding the Black Cat Custom K-Fuzz with our Deluxe Mona Wah.
What’s not to like?
The new stompbox, hosted in a simple case, was presented at this year’s NAMM show and brings into the light features that, in the previous version, were hidden under the treadle. No need to mention that another plus is that the new design takes a lot less real estate on your board!
The control scheme is somewhat unique for a fuzz design, as this is much more than just a 2 knob fuzz box. The signal first hits the input gain control, moving on to the voicing section. Toggle switches for ‘Clipping’ and ‘Voicing’ are present, to really shape the sound. The options for voicing are “Vintage,” emulating the original 60’s Kay, “Stock,” which is Black Cat’s original voicing, and “Monster” which provides a nice boost to the bottom end.
But what will make the true pedal geeks rejoice is the “Clipping” toggle. The three position diode switch includes “Germanium” (like in the original), “Silicon” (like in the company’s Custom K-Fuzz clone) and a Schottky diode pair.
The Fuzz Frequency control is the tone knob (which in the previous version was controlled through the treadle) and can be manipulated via external expression pedal for real-time madness.
As with most fuzz pedals it tracks much better on single notes than with chords, and while it plays fairly well with single-coil pickups, humbuckers tend to sound really dark. If that’s what you’re going for, look no further. There are certainly some great lo-fi sludge tones to be had here.
Check out the Pro GUitar Shop demo below to experience this pedal’s true grittiness.- Stoner