Based on the Fuzz channel of the OD-Fuzz, but with Japanese components and an extra wide ranging Bias control that allows you to dial in a sweeping array of fuzz tones and timbres.
The Black Cat N-Fuzz is another Black Cat legacy product, from the original line created by Fred Bonte. The original N-Fuzz was made in limited numbers between 2001 and 2003, and was only available in the Asian market. The circuit was based on a modified Fuzz Face, with an additional toggle switch for high and low output.
According to Fred Bonte, the letter N represented “N-Channel” to describe the type of transistors used. Like the names of most other Black Cat products, “N-Fuzz” was more short and to the point than “N-Channel Fuzz.”
Like the original, the new N-Fuzz also uses N-Channel (NPN) transistors. But we felt there was room for improvement with Fred Bonte’s original design. The toggle switch of the original N-Fuzz selected between two fixed bias points, which resulted in one position having a High output, and the other position having a Low output. We replaced the toggle switch with a variable bias control pot. This control makes the new N-Fuzz much more versatile.
After discussion with our Japanese distributor about reintroducing the N-Fuzz to the Asian market, we decided to further redesign the N-Fuzz circuit to use Japanese electronic components. This gave a new meaning to the name, which now stands for “Nippon Fuzz.”
In selecting transistors, we tried several different types before we found the perfect combination. We eventually decided on Toshiba 2SC1815 for Q1 and Panasonic 2SC1384 for Q2. Much experimentation was also needed to achieve the widest usable range for the Bias control. This allows the N-Fuzz to offer many different tones and timbres of fuzz.
– Uses premium Japanese transistors and capacitors
– Extra wide range bias control offers many tones and timbres of fuzz
– Durable powder-coat “Holographic Sparkle” finish
– 3PDT true-bypass switch and Switchcraft jacks
– Uses 2.1mm Boss style power jack or internal 9V battery
– Hand-wired, Boutique quality, Made in USA
Start with the Bias control set at 12 o’clock. This will give you a more traditional fuzz sound, similar to a Fuzz Face. You will notice if you turn the Bias control counter-clockwise, the volume gets lower. But when you turn the Bias control clockwise, the volume gets louder. So you must first get the tone you want using the Bias control, and then adjust the Volume control to your liking. Note that even with the Bias turned all the way down (CCW), you can still get slightly above Unity Gain by turning the Volume all the way up (CW).
Another useful feature that makes the N-Fuzz more versatile is the Fuzz control. In most Fuzz Face type pedals, players keep the Fuzz control turned all the way up, otherwise it doesn’t sound good. The amount of fuzz is then controlled, NOT with the Fuzz knob, but with the Volume control on the guitar. The N-Fuzz will work this way too. But there is another “magic” setting, if you turn the Fuzz control about ¼ turn back from full clockwise (or approximately 3 o’clock). Rather than sounding weak or broken, this setting allows the N-Fuzz to open up and become more dynamic. There are many great tones to be discovered in the Black Cat N-Fuzz.