Proco Rat - Am I really missing that much?

Hector Arcadius

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This is one of the threads one begins on hot, summer days. So take it for what it is...



So... I have a Sovereing on my board (absolutely killer distortion pedal, very shape-able) and I have also owned a Jam Pedals Rattler in the past, which is a Rat-clone. I really liked it, didn't love it with my Les Paul. I really, really liked the neck pickup tones but... I didn't own a single-coil guitar back then, mind you.

Now I listen of demos with Rats and single-coil guitars and that sounds like a killer all-around dirt-box for such a guitar.

Am I really missing on so much all this time? I refer to the standard, run-of-the-mil Rats and not high-end boutique clones. If I get one, I will get the current, straight-up model.

Rhetorical question: should I really buy one...?


Shoot!


:D
 

guysmiley

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I recently traded for and old RAT 2. I have to say it's really versatile, but I haven't bonded with it dimed. I love it for overdrive or for a bit more bite. But it doesn't have the bite at higher gain settings. I found it was a bit flabby. I've only tried it with two amps and a single coil guitar so far. I do like it. Not sure if you're going to get much of a difference from the clone to the original.
 

Alligatorbling

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I have one I did the LM308 swap to. Its a cool gain box, it has its own voice that is unique. Try one :)
 

Rich

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I have one I did the LM308 swap to. Its a cool gain box, it has its own voice that is unique. Try one :)
Ditto to what AC said and I have one too, one from 1986.

It's cool and worth having if you really want to sample everything that's out there and the filter is my favorite feature. But, compared to so many other pedals available today, the Rat is nothing special and, in fact, is pretty crude in some ways.

Back-in-the-day, people said, "If you like the MXR Distortion +, you'll love the ProCo Rat" and there's a lot agree with that statement. Both pedals really sit somewhere between overdrive and fuzz but the Rat has that awesome filter control which makes it great to use as a boost pedal where you utilize more output than gain unless you're going for a hairier sound with more of the Rat's gain.

It depends on what you like and what you want. IMO, there are so many modern overdrive/distortion pedals that kick the snots out of the Rat that, unless you want the sound of the Rat (cruder, raunchier, fuzzier), there is little reason to bother with one.
 

Alligatorbling

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I have never, nor will ever understand why MXR chose to call the Dist+ that name.

It is in no way a distortion pedal. Its a boost,rough edged overdrive that pushes into fizz/fuzz.
 

Hector Arcadius

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Ditto to what AC said and I have one too, one from 1986.

It's cool and worth having if you really want to sample everything that's out there and the filter is my favorite feature. But, compared to so many other pedals available today, the Rat is nothing special and, in fact, is pretty crude in some ways.

Back-in-the-day, people said, "If you like the MXR Distortion +, you'll love the ProCo Rat" and there's a lot agree with that statement. Both pedals really sit somewhere between overdrive and fuzz but the Rat has that awesome filter control which makes it great to use as a boost pedal where you utilize more output than gain unless you're going for a hairier sound with more of the Rat's gain.

It depends on what you like and what you want. IMO, there are so many modern overdrive/distortion pedals that kick the snots out of the Rat that, unless you want the sound of the Rat (cruder, raunchier, fuzzier), there is little reason to bother with one.


Great post Rich, many thanks. I certainly don't expect it to replace either the Sovereign of the 2 other fuzz-boxes on my board (mmm... perhaps the Timmy for the lower gain stuff? That's a very HIGH mark right there! ) and I certainly agree that there are many more... specialized dirt-boxes out there today for certain tasks, and that the Rat maybe out-dated or too generic sounding. But there folks out there that have tried lots of other stuff and they keep returning to the Rat (well, at least as per some forums... ) that they must be finding something special in that little, black box. Gets me intrigued... :hmm:


Yes you are.

Love it! To the point! What's your favourite use of it? Guitar, boost, OD, fuzz, all of the above?



PS: I still don't like it with Les Pauls in all the demos. Not at all, perhaps a little more on the neck pickup. It's the single-coils that do it...
 

Rich

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I have never, nor will ever understand why MXR chose to call the Dist+ that name.

It is in no way a distortion pedal. Its a boost,rough edged overdrive that pushes into fizz/fuzz.
Yeah, it's a weird one and I have a block logo one from 1978. But, like the Rat, it has it's own personality and if that's the sound you want, that's where you're going to get it. I like the Distortion + better than the Rat, especially with a Strat and low to medium amounts of gain, it's nice and gnarly with absolutely no filtering that let's the sound of the Strat really slice through. Then again, maybe it's a good amount of nostalgia mixed in for me and that's why I dig it.

Funny thing is is that your Bling Fuzz has some echoes of the Distortion + in it, though your fuzz is much more firmly planted in fuzz territory, it's relatively transparent sounding (no small trick with fuzz) and my Strats really shine through it. :thumb:
 

JorNak

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Great post Rich, many thanks. I certainly don't expect it to replace either the Sovereign of the 2 other fuzz-boxes on my board (mmm... perhaps the Timmy for the lower gain stuff? That's a very HIGH mark right there! ) and I certainly agree that there are many more... specialized dirt-boxes out there today for certain tasks, and that the Rat maybe out-dated or too generic sounding. But there folks out there that have tried lots of other stuff and they keep returning to the Rat (well, at least as per some forums... ) that they must be finding something special in that little, black box. Gets me intrigued... :hmm:





Love it! To the point! What's your favourite use of it? Guitar, boost, OD, fuzz, all of the above?



PS: I still don't like it with Les Pauls in all the demos. Not at all, perhaps a little more on the neck pickup. It's the single-coils that do it...
All the above
 

Rich

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Great post Rich, many thanks. I certainly don't expect it to replace either the Sovereign of the 2 other fuzz-boxes on my board (mmm... perhaps the Timmy for the lower gain stuff? That's a very HIGH mark right there! ) and I certainly agree that there are many more... specialized dirt-boxes out there today for certain tasks, and that the Rat maybe out-dated or too generic sounding. But there folks out there that have tried lots of other stuff and they keep returning to the Rat (well, at least as per some forums... ) that they must be finding something special in that little, black box. Gets me intrigued... :hmm:
Well, if you're willing to plonk down around $250 for a vintage one with the LM308, it's still a cool sounding pedal and a fun one at that. You have some fuzz pedals so I'm guessing that's more where your tastes are so the Rat might be a good one for you. I'm more into modern overdrive/distortion pedals like the King of Tone, Metal Pedals Rawhide, XTS Atomic Overdrive, the Marvel Drive and other amp-in-a-box style dirt pedals; I still love fuzz, but it's not my meat-and-potatoes sound. So, for you, you might do well to check out a Rat for that gnarly overdrive/fuzz sound. :)
 

Rich

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This is a good video as the dude is playing it through a clean amp AND demonstrating how it sounds through an overdriven amp as well. These are the sort of sounds you can expect overall; I only wish he had swept through the filter control as a bit as that is the coolest part of the Rat, IMO.

[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-8Sg7VFq30[/ame]
 

Stuart_tate41

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I've just picked one up. Sounds killer with my tele not quite right with my SG or LP though..... Weird I know!
 

Batman

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I'm just echoing all of the above but. . ..

It is a unique sound that you can't get from another pedal. It sounds best to me in the low/mid gain range (more OD than Distortion)

Highly shapable EQ with the filter control once you understand how it works.
 

Les Paulverizer

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I have owned 3 Rats, 2 early 80s vintage ones, one was a "Big Box" and the other a regular size one, than I bought a newer Reissue "Big Box" and sold the two vintage ones. The reason? "Big Boxes" to me sound slightly sweeter, mellower & less harsh than the small ones, and the reissue actually smoked the original(!) as it's just as sweet but not as noisy.

I think Rats sound great with Strats, or single coils in general, and proof of that is in nearly all the Survivor records (Eye Of The Tiger, etc. etc.) where a Stratocaster is generally the only guitar used, and almost invariably plugged through a Rat, and it sounds great.
Like someone mentioned before Rats go from crunch to overdrive to full on fuzz, and when using single coils as soon as you reach that sweet spot between distortion & fuzz, then it sounds delicious!

And as far as notable Rat users go let's not forget the wonderfully angular John Scofield, who to me has one of the best guitar sounds in modern Jazz/Fusion, and who's been using a Rat for decades!

A lot of 80s hair metal bands used Rats and that became a very generic & stereotype sound, high output pickups through a cranked Rat then into an high gain amp. No dynamics & extreme compression galore! At least that's what is sounds like to me...

With humbuckers I tend to back off the Distortion (around 10 o'clock) set the Filter at around 1 o'clock and the Volume at 3 o'clock (unity gain is extremely low on Rats!) into an amp set to Crunch, then I'm good to go.

I used the Rat almost exclusively for about 1 year, then I switched to something else, but whenever I plug it in it's always a lot of fun!!!
 

Brocko

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Stuff you should know about the RAT

1) its noisy, will add unwanted signal to your chain

2) can do a good job of anything from classic rock OD to searing lead fuzz

3) stupid 3.5mm power jack

4) i found it sounded good with a strat, 4th position (bridge/middle).

5) It is quite crude - if you want a grungey OD its great

I had one and ended up passing it on. Its a decent pedal, i have actually considered getting another at times, but then i think there is stuff that suits me better.
 

dickjonesify

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I enjoy my early 90's LM308 Rat but it's not on my board. The filter controls rocks. Much preferable to a standard tone control for me. Sounds good crunchy to distortion to thick fuzzy tones. I think I like it best as a distortion.

Not sure how much it costs to ship to a foreign country but you're welcome to try it out for a while :thumb:

If you go new, I would strongly consider a used VFE Alpha Dog V2 for not much more. More tonal options. But I know, it's not the black box you always dreamed of ;)
 

rabidhamster

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I like rat pedals a lot. Its like if a fuzz pedal were a distortion pedal instead.

.
 

Les Paulverizer

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This is a good video as the dude is playing it through a clean amp AND demonstrating how it sounds through an overdriven amp as well. These are the sort of sounds you can expect overall; I only wish he had swept through the filter control as a bit as that is the coolest part of the Rat, IMO.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-8Sg7VFq30
Not bad but, like I said, for reasons beyond my comprehension(!) I found "Big Box" Rats to be way sweeter than "small square enclosure" ones, even though in theory they should have the exact same components; both the original I had & sold and the Reissue I have now testify to this.

Also, with all due respect the guy in that video is not that good a player, is he...?
It has been said that a great player will make anything sound good...and vice versa!.

To see what a Rat can really do, please do yourself (and the Rat!) a favour and watch this: https://youtu.be/7WRrukBwG5A
 


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