“A significant leap forward in sonic performance and flexibility for guitarists of all styles”: Bad Cat finally launches the Jet Black – the guitar amp at the heart of Tosin Abasi’s new rig

Bad Cat Jet Black
(Image credit: Bad Cat)

Bad Cat has finally launched its collection of Jet Black guitar amps, which the Californian manufacturer has described as “a significant leap forward in sonic performance and flexibility for guitarists of all styles.”

Naturally, this declaration is attention-grabbing in and of itself, but the Jet Black amp platform is made even more notable by the fact that it was being used months before its release by none other than Tosin Abasi.

Though he was once seen as the poster boy for the Axe-Fx and amp modeling in general, the Animals As Leaders mastermind has reverted back to tube amps and pedalboards in recent years.

After making the switch a while back, the returning tube amp loyalist further reconfigured his amp backline back in June, opting for two Bad Cat tube amps – the high-gain Lynx, and the then-unannounced Jet Black head.

At the time, Abasi said he “hadn’t heard such clarity and definition before” – a serious statement of intent that not only serves as an affirmation of Abasi’s confidence in his new Bad Cat rig, but also as a gigantic seal of approval of the Jet Black’s performance.

Available in head and combo formats, the Jet Black was designed to bring “Black Cat amp's trademark sound to players who needed more volume” and doubles up on the EL84 tubes (four in total) resulting in improved headroom and touch-sensitive response.

According to the company, the introduction of an extra pair of EL84s led to an unexpected sonic outcome, which, in Bad Cat’s own words, resulted in an “unrestrained” and “visceral” playing experience.

Specs-wise, the Jet Black is a two-channel amp with (as previously mentioned) a built-in tremolo effect, as well as an FX loop, onboard reverb and a universal three-band EQ for hands-on sound sculpting.

Breaking those channels down further, the first is concerned with harmonically rich, edge-of-breakup clean tones, while the second is more rock-oriented, and is packed with – Black Cat says – both classic and modern guitar tones, all with their own unique character. 

On the front panel, each channel (which can be selected via a toggle switch) has dedicated Volume and Master parameters, and works in tandem with universal Treble, Middle, and Bass knobs. Elsewhere, the reverb is answerable to a one-size-fits-all control, while Tremolo (again, switchable via a toggle) can be dictated by Intensity and Speed.

There's also a line out, both for re-amping and for using external speaker cab Impulse Responses.

The Jet Black, Bad Cat says, “feels big, yet it’s still agile, responsive, and dynamic – you’re in complete control using nothing more than your pick attack and the volume control on your guitar.”

In terms of price, the Jet Black head and combo are available for $2,199 and $2,399, respectively. Both are available to preorder from retailers now.

Head over to Bad Cat to find out more.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.