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Rat Help

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  • Rat Help

    So never been much of a pure distortion guy, usually it's either Boost, OD, or Fuzz. But I figured considering the overwhelmingly large number of great players who love the Rat, I'd give it a shot. But I've been fiddling with this Whiteface reissue Rat for like a week now, and I just can't seem to find the magic.

    Tried it into a clean amp, dirty amp. It seems to get ultra-buzzy very quickly, and by the time the filter knob makes it usable again, I've lopped off a huge chunk of tone. I know a lot of the supposed greatness of the Rat is supposed to be for cutting through in a band context, and I haven't had a chance to try it with a full band yet, hopefully over the weekend.

    It's such a well-built, time-tested classic, I really want to love it, but I'm just not kiving with it. Maybe I'm crazy here, anyone have a similar experience?

    Any Rat lovers have some tips as to how you're running yours successfully?

    I'm not a businessman; I'm a business, man.

  • #2
    Using the phrase "lopped off a huge chunk of tone" makes me think you're approaching it with the wrong mindset.

    It's a ratty sounding distortion, that's what it does. It's got attitude, and you play riffs through it with a smile on your face. Just turn the gain to the amount you want, turn the tone knob up until it's not hurting your ears with treble, and adjust volume to taste.
    Originally Posted by telephant

    Tone is really half the argument. We both know ultimately it means nothing. Write a song. Write. A ****************ing. Song.

    UK based band;


    • #3

      ^Cirrus is spot on. The Rat was my only dirt pedal for years. I tend to run mine with the distortion anywhere from 9 to 1 o'clock, the filter between 1 and 2 o'clock, and the volume between 11 o'clock and 1 o'clock depending on the amount of distortion. If you don't get on with it, that's cool. I've never understood the whole Tube Screamer thing.


      • Blakemore
        Blakemore commented
        Editing a comment

        I know most people only like it at gigging volumes, but I always liked Rats at low volumes too. It definitely has a sort of fuzzy distortion sound that you have to be into. It doesn't really make your Twin sound like a 5150 or something. It's just a cool, "ratty" sounding gain pedal. I've always seen it as a middle ground between pushing an amp with an OD and using a fuzz.

    • #4

      If you don't like the tone of the RAT ( I don't) then ditch it and get something else.

      That is why there are 10,000 dirt pedals.


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      • Dinosaur Sr.
        Dinosaur Sr. commented
        Editing a comment

        Yeah, I know there's no shortage of ways to go, I just don't wanna try it a couple times and definitively say "This thing sucks, I'm out".  I've had quite a few pedals that I didn't click with right off the bat, only to find a setting that I loved after fiddling.  I just wondered how others were using them to make sure I'm giving it a fair shot.

    • #5
      Yeah man, it only has three knobs. Give em a few turns and see what works.

      My Rat has been modded up and down, so I can't say it has the same characteristics as the small box variants. If you're keen on keeping it around for another chance, look into the Ruetz mod. Quite popular to bring the gain way down on Rats and turn them into nice fat boost/overdrive pedals.
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      • thom
        thom commented
        Editing a comment

        I've seen a zillion of similar threads over the years...

        I fell out of love with my rat too, basicly when I discovered it's not the only affordable distortion pedal in the world. People seem to either love it or hate it. I'm not sure either where it earned it's fame, I'm sure at least some of the reputation comes from the fact that a lot of bands and guitarists in the late 80s and early 90s looked for something other than Boss/EHX/MXR.

        Using it with a loud amp might make some difference. It may be picky with amps and guitars all together, I'm not sure. Anyway, if you don't need all that gain and want to ressurect some low end, I can recommend the Ruetz mod. That, with a dirty sounding amp or some other dirt pedal, will get you way better tones than a stock rat through a clean amp.

        If you can't spare the gain, just spending the same money on something else makes a whole lot more sense though imo. Putting two ruetz'd rats after each other might solve the gain loss, but for the same price there's a TON of better alternatives imo.  

        I even replaced mine with a $40 Mooer Cruncher. Not that that's a rat clone or anthing, it's more of a hairy smooth distortion, it doesn't have the harshness of the Rat. I since then also got a Crowther Hotcake, which I so far also really prefer over my old Rat. 


    • #6

      Rats sound like rats. Its not an amp in a box so much as it is somewhere between a distortion and a fuzz. Either you make it work or you dont.

      Like for example I've found htat its totally the wrong pedal for tight rhythm playing, its for loose and nasty stuff.


      • Zappa74
        Zappa74 commented
        Editing a comment

        RATs are easy.

        Distortion knob... start it at 120. Maybe 10 if you want a little more hair. Anything much past that and it gets a little fuzzy, but the sound also gets thicker (if you're one of those people who think the RAT is too thin).

        Filter... start it at 30 and slowly back it up til you're happy.

        Most important thing: use your guitar's volume knob. Taking away some guitar volume cuts off any harshness that the RAT might bring and the pedal responds very well to volume change.

        I run the Distortion and Filter knob just a little beyond what sounds best with the guitar volume all the way up. A little more gain than I need and a little brighter than I need. Then, I just roll the guitar volume back ever so slightly and it's perfect. If I need a little boost/cut, roll the guitar volume up all the way and you're brighter and punchier.