Black Cat Mona Wah

  • By Phillip Dodge @tonereport
  • March 03, 2014

The Mona Wah Vintage from Black Cat Pedals is a fresh take on a classic effect. Designed in collaboration with noted DIY wah guru Joe Gagan, the Mona Vintage is voiced like the original Vox wah and uses high quality carbon comp resistors and new old stock capacitors. The Mona, along with the other wahs from Black Cat Pedals, feature a pot specially engineered to provide a smoother sweep across the range of motion and new custom tuned Black Cat inductor. All models also sport a switch for choosing between buffered or true-bypass.

I tested the Standard version of the Mona Vintage which has internal controls for Q, Volume, and Freq. The Deluxe version of the Mona moves those controls to the outside and provides a three-position mini switch for selecting between three “voices.”

Before even plugging in, it’s obvious that Black Cat Pedals put a lot of thought and effort into the Mona. It has a beautifully applied black iridescent finish and opening it up reveals a very clean, hand-wired circuit board filled with “orange drop” and “tropical fish” resistors.

Plugging in, the Mona provides a rich, vocal-like wah tone that had me pulling out all of my old Hendrix and Frusciante riffs. By adjusting the controls for Freq and Q, you can dial in the Mona to perfectly suit any combination of guitar, dirt pedals, and amp. The aforementioned buffer comes in handy when running the Mona in front of some vintage-style fuzzes. For example, running the Mona in true-bypass before my Fulltone ’69 fuzz, makes for a hissy, oscillating mess. Switching on the buffer makes the two effects get along much better.

What We Like: The Mona offers a smooth travel with no dead spots in the sweep. The rich, vocal-like sweep runs from wooly to bright but never grating. It also provides two LEDs that light up when the effect is engaged. I can’t count the number of times I’ve started a song live only to realize my wah was still engaged. That will never happen again!

Concerns: You have to press down pretty hard on the toe to engage and disengage the effect. If you switch guitars, amps, and/or dirt pedals around a lot, it’s probably worth spring for the Deluxe version in order to have easier control of all of the parameters.

Build Quality: The build quality is solid, the parts are chock full of mojo, and the paint job is beautiful.

Value: With quality components and construction, the Mona is built to last a lifetime. And with the added versatility, it could be the only wah you’ll ever need. At $225, the Mona Wah Vintage isn’t cheap. But it does offer a lot of features for your hard earned cash. If you only use wah on a few songs, it might be a little steep. If you’re a heavy wah user, it’s worth the investment.

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  1. fano

    wahs and fuzz is a rascally situation. Hendrix was ahead of his time.