Pro Co Sound Limited Edition White Face RAT Pedal
Who remembers the 80’s? I sure do and I distinctly remember having a Pro Co RAT pedal. As a matter of fact it was the only pedal I had!!! Back in the day I was playing a few different Telecasters through older Fender amps which provided a great platform for my sound. The RAT pedal gave me the distorted, overdriven lead sound that I wanted and worked very well with my simple rig.
Pro Co has reissued a Limited Edition original White Face RAT pedal. Painstaking attention to detail includes the original type casing, accurate reproduction of the 1985 RAT Circuit and the inclusion of the LM308 chip which is one of the main ingredients to the pedal’s tone.
I was pretty pumped after talking to Stephanie over at Pro Co about doing a review of this really cool and historic pedal. Oh…..guess where I hooked up with Stephanie at Pro Co…? Twitter!!!
On the Bench: Not much to this one folks. A super heavy duty rugged casing, 3 knobs labeled from left to right Distortion, Filter (tone control), Volume and a push button footswitch. On the front side of the pedal there are Input and Output jacks and a 9v DC jack. Flip the pedal over and there is the 9v battery door. Simple!!
In the Shop: The test guitar I picked for the White Face RAT pedal review was my home built Tele-Gib using Brian Poe ash body, Musikraft maple neck, Glendale hardware & Jason Lollar Imperial humbuckers. The test amp was a 5F6-A Bassman clone using Mercury Magnetics transformers, Sozo caps, carbon comp resistors, a Larry Rodgers tweed covered pine cabinet and 4- Eminence 1028K speakers. Current production Sovtek 12AX7LPS’s and Tung Sol 5881’s were used and the GZ34 was an N.O.S. General Electric. The amp was hand built by me here at 300Guitars. I plugged into the Normal channel and set the Volume at 12 o’clock, Treble at 1 o’clock, Bass at 10 o’clock, Middle at 1 o’clock and Presence at 12 o’clock.
Now that I was set I was ready to rock!! And rock I did for about 2 hours straight. I started on the bridge pickup and set the RAT as follows: Distortion at 11 o’clock, Filter at 1 o’clock and the Volume at about 1 o’clock. The new White Face RAT pedal is waaay better than I remember it. The overdrive was thick with a very cool character and clear, defined bottom end. There was plenty of sustain and had a great rock edge to it. I could also dial the Distortion down to about 9 o’clock get a more subtle overdrive sound which also sounded great. If you increased the Distortion control up past 2 o’clock you get into heavily distorted territory that gets even thicker.
Switching over to the neck pickup I expected to lose a little definition but the RAT stayed nice and clear. I could get a really nice woman type tone that sounded creamy and smooth.
The White Face RAT has a nice dynamic feel to it as well but does not feel at all mushy. It responded to my pick attack very nicely so you could get varying degrees of distortion by your picking technique. It also responded very nicely to the guitars volume and tone control making it even more versatile.
On the Gig: I took my Tele-Gib, 5F6-A and full pedalboard to my gig and fit the White Face RAT into a little open real estate for the night. It’s a small pedal so it does not hog up a lot of room which is cool.
I loved the chunky, crunchy rhythm sounds I got out of the RAT. It sounded clear with enough separation so all the notes didn’t blur together. I like a certain amount of blurring but if there is too much the sound turns to mud and does not sound musical. No worries with the White Face RAT!
For lead solos the RAT really sounded awesome and had a great singing quality which I love with distortion or overdrive. I could get the guitar to really sing and sustain with no problem. By adjusting the Filter I could get a really searing lead tone as well…..just rippin’.
I love to tweak pedals on the fly and I found that the knobs were easy to adjust with my foot (shoe). I do this all the time during the course of a gig. I also noticed that there was no pop when stepping on the footswitch. The only negative thing I could find was that the RAT does not have LED annunciation. I’m sure that this new Limited Edition White Face RAT is built like this because the original model did not have one. It is not that difficult to know whether you have the effect engaged or not but I’d have to say that an LED would have been nice. Totally not a deal breaker in my opinion because it sounds so freakin’ good. If you are adventurous you could probably install one or have a tech do it.
Final Analysis: This is one great sounding pedal I have to say!!! Earlier in the review I said that this new White Face RAT sounds much better than my recollection of the original one I had back in the 80’s. It is clearer, more dynamic and has a smoother distortion. Maybe that LM308 chip really is the key ingredient. Whatever the reason doesn’t matter…it sounds and feels fantastic.
If you need a great rock type of distortion pedal that you can also dial down to get some good bluesy overdrive than this is an excellent choice. The new Limited Edition Pro Co White Face RAT also has a unique voice so It’s not another TS type clone. I really liked the texture and there is a slightly pronounced vowel sound that contributes to its unique voice. This is another flavor to add to the mix of things and I found it to be fun to play while exploring the sonic possibilities.
I do not know how many Limited Edition White Face RAT pedals Pro Co is going to produce but if you are on the fence about whether or not to get one do yourself a favor and get off the fence. The pedal is worth it!!
Here is a quick video demo of the Limited Edition White Face RAT pedal.