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Thread: What's The Cheese On The ProCo Rat?

  1. #1
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    Default What's The Cheese On The ProCo Rat?

    I've heard that this pedal can do anything from a light OD to wool sweater layers of fuzz, how's this hold up? How does this thing perform in terms of the EQ, feel, texture, versatility, and other categories? What can this pedal do that others can't? What are its strength's and weaknesses? What pedals and pickups does it play well with? What settings are particularly usable on this unit?

    What particular model do you prefer as well? I hear that there are a few on the market. I'll be using this for anything from bluesy OD to hair metal levels of distortion in conjunction with my EHX Soul Food.

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    Default Re: What's The Cheese On The ProCo Rat?

    It is indeed versatile. As someone who owns every type of distortion, overdrive and fuzz -its one of the top for desert island triple duty -some of MXRs also being really versatile.

    But to me the magic of a RAT is the harmonic and feedback response under your fingertips walking the fretboard. It has a pleasant thing -it can even make a greenback speaker wail in feedback.

    It reacts a little different than other pedals.

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    Default Re: What's The Cheese On The ProCo Rat?

    Anyone else got anything to say about this pedal?

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    Mojo's Minions Lewguitar's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's The Cheese On The ProCo Rat?

    I’ve owned a few. Jeff Beck used one for many years before replacing the Rat with a Klon.

    Beck’s my favorite rock guitarist but I never could get 100% comfortable with a Rat.

    It’ll get fuzzier than my Klon KTR. Almost as fuzzy as a Big Muff. The Klon KTR isn’t a fuzz.

    There are settings on the Rat that allowed me to turn it on, turn the volume on my guitar way, way down, and get a cleanish but slightly gritty clean tone...and then turn my guitar’s volume up for different degrees of more and more overdrive.

    The Klon does that even better than the Rat though, and I haven’t owned a Rat since buying my first Klone. Now I use a Klon KTR.
    Last edited by Lewguitar; 01-11-2019 at 08:12 AM.
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    Default Re: What's The Cheese On The ProCo Rat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lewguitar View Post
    I’ve owned a few. Jeff Beck used one for many years before replacing the Rat with a Klon.

    Beck’s my favorite rock guitarist but I never could get 100% comfortable with a Rat.

    It’ll get fuzzier than my Klon KTR. Almost as fuzzy as a Big Muff. The Klon KTR isn’t a fuzz.

    There are settings on the Rat that allowed me to turn it on, turn the volume on my guitar way, way down, and get a cleanish but slightly gritty clean tone...and then turn my guitar’s volume up for different degrees of more and more overdrive.

    The Klon does that even better than the Rat though, and I haven’t owned a Rat since buying my first Klone. Now I use a Klon KTR.
    A RAT is my go-to dirt pedal if I have only one choice, it does lend it's own voice to the sound, not a transparent pedal at all. I have used a RAT II for years, also have a big-box Vintage version, and a couple of others. Yes, it is versatile but don't expect it to be a clean boost or transparent OD. It's a fat sound with a lot of harmonic content that is quite pleasing to my ears.
    Al

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    Mojo's Minions devastone's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's The Cheese On The ProCo Rat?

    Rats are great, and yes with the gain down it makes a nice boost, but it's not 100% clean, it still has a little grit. Turn it all the way up and it goes past distortion into fuzzy tones, I don't know of any pedals that have that much range in their distortion, and yes, it does impart it's own tone to your signal. Definitely worth a try if you don't have one. FWIW, Nuno Bettencourt's early tone (before ADA) was a Rat pushing a Marshall JMP, although I think he pretty much always had one in his rig.

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    Toneologist Liam1963's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's The Cheese On The ProCo Rat?

    I've never owned one, I have a Big Muff Pi, and a couple of MXR Distortion + pedals, what does a RAT do that those don't? Or should I just pick one up (fairly inexpensive) and see for myself? How many different variants of the RAT are there?

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    Mojo's Minions devastone's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's The Cheese On The ProCo Rat?

    More of a distortion that a Big Muff, but it will cross over into that kind of territory. Capable of more gain than a Dist+, and the tone control makes it more versatile. And again, it has it's own tone.

    IF you are curious and find a good deal, yeah, go for it, it's the only way you'll know. There are a few variants, not sure how many, there is the Rat, the Rat II, the [*EDIT* "You Dirty Rat"], the Turbo Rat, and the Solo. The Solo is a little different from the rest. There have been some small circuit changes in the others over the years, and the biggest thing is the originals used a LM308 opamp and the newer ones us an OP07 but I can't tell you a specific date that the change happened. I think the new Rats are made overseas and the older ones are made in the US.

    As far as the difference between the Rats, the Rat II is basically the newer version of the Rat, maybe a slight circuit change, but it uses Silicon clipping diodes, the [*EDIT* "You Dirty Rat"] is the same circuit with germanium diodes, and the Turbo is the same with LEDs. That said, you can buy a kit from BYOC that has a switch to get all three, the kit also comes with a NOS LM308 chip and is true to the original circuit.
    Last edited by devastone; 01-11-2019 at 11:33 AM.

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    Default Re: What's The Cheese On The ProCo Rat?

    Rat also works as an overdrive -even for Bass.

    Here's light Bass Overdrive using regular RAT


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    Default Re: What's The Cheese On The ProCo Rat?

    Quote Originally Posted by devastone View Post
    More of a distortion that a Big Muff, but it will cross over into that kind of territory. Capable of more gain than a Dist+, and the tone control makes it more versatile. And again, it has it's own tone.

    IF you are curious and find a good deal, yeah, go for it, it's the only way you'll know. There are a few variants, not sure how many, there is the Rat, the Rat II, the Vintage Rat, the Turbo Rat, and the Solo. The Solo is a little different from the rest. There have been some small circuit changes in the others over the years, and the biggest thing is the originals used a LM308 opamp and the newer ones us an OP07 but I can't tell you a specific date that the change happened. I think the new Rats are made overseas and the older ones are made in the US.

    As far as the difference between the Rats, the Rat II is basically the newer version of the Rat, maybe a slight circuit change, but it uses Silicon clipping diodes, the Vintage Rat is the same circuit with germanium diodes, and the Turbo is the same with LEDs. That said, you can buy a kit from BYOC that has a switch to get all three, the kit also comes with a NOS LM308 chip and is true to the original circuit.
    Thank you for the info! I'll pick one up, and I can always add a switch and a couple of LED's if it warrants a modification (or two)! Advertised for $70.00 on Sweetwater, not a huge expense...

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    Default Re: What's The Cheese On The ProCo Rat?

    I nominate this thread title as Best Thread Title So Far of 2019.
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    Default Re: What's The Cheese On The ProCo Rat?

    I have a run-of-the-mill Rat 2, and I love it. Its strengths in my hands seem to be blues and hair metal.
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    Mojo's Minions devastone's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's The Cheese On The ProCo Rat?

    Assuming form the prices, it looks like the plain Rat (the Rat II) is made overseas and the other versions are still made in the US(?). Apparently the one with the germanium diodes is the "You Dirty Rat" version, not the vintage, sorry about that.

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    Default Re: What's The Cheese On The ProCo Rat?

    The way I use pedals like the Rat or the Klon is NOT as a clean boost with the gain turned way down on the pedal.

    Instead, I turn the guitar itself down to 2 or 3 for cleanish rhythm tones.

    Then I turn the guitar up for increasingly more overdriven and saturated lead tones.

    Eventually, I’m on my bridge pickup with the guitar’s volume on 10 and I start turning the guitar’s tone control turned way down...maybe on Zero, tho more often on 2 or 3.

    That starts getting me that “Wah Wah pedal in its sweet spot” kind of soloing tone and puts me into Brian May, Tom Scholz, Cream era Clapton, Santana and Gary Moore-ish territory.
    Last edited by Lewguitar; 01-11-2019 at 08:26 PM.
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    Default Re: What's The Cheese On The ProCo Rat?

    First of all, I hate to be that guy - but someone has to...

    There are DOZENS of Rat threads. Anything you could want and more is out there. I mean, in here....If it is true deep knowledge, the search function is your thread.

    Other than that, it is a killer boost into a standard Marshall type amp with a unique type of tone control. There is a thread just about the Toine control on the top page of this room.
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    Default Re: What's The Cheese On The ProCo Rat?

    I also recommend looking at the many Rat clones out there, which have mode switching options that allow you to go between various incarnations of the Rat. They receive lots of praise and are on a lot of boards currently. Namely the Mooer Black Secret, Mosky Black Rat and the Tom'sline Black Teeth.

    Be aware that the original Rat's power supply takes an odd 1/8 input. Some don't like that aspect, whereas the clones all take the generic center negative Boss type.
    Last edited by Van Noord; 01-11-2019 at 09:44 PM.
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    Default Re: What's The Cheese On The ProCo Rat?

    My personal favorite Rat is the Proco Solo. Everything a Rat can do and more.


    I have had an original Rat on my board in the past few years, as well as a Mooer Black Secret. I have played a bunch of Rat 2'a.

    I say go Solo if you must go Rat.
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    Default Re: What's The Cheese On The ProCo Rat?

    They are a little fuzzy for me. Not as smooth as TS-derived or Klone pedals. I don't like my distortion pedals that distorted, though. Also I don't tend to use distortion/overdrive into an already distorted amp either. I don't think I am the target market, but that is probably the case of most guitar things.
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    Default Re: What's The Cheese On The ProCo Rat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    They are a little fuzzy for me. Not as smooth as TS-derived or Klone pedals. I don't like my distortion pedals that distorted, though. Also I don't tend to use distortion/overdrive into an already distorted amp either. I don't think I am the target market, but that is probably the case of most guitar things.
    Hey Dave - good jam tonight!

    No doubt the Rat can get into Fuzz territory - thus use as a Marshall boost is their super-power. In a non-over-the-top-modded Marshall.

    Into a non-timed basic 800 - killer. Don't over do the distortion.
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: What's The Cheese On The ProCo Rat?

    I like the fuzz-like qualities. I tried a couple of fuzz pedals but ended up with the Rat! Great boost into my crunchy amp.

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