RAT

(32 posts)

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  1. jorgemg1984
    Member

    Hi!

    I am looking for a good distortion pedal to use in some jazz gigs. The RAT would be my first choice since I love the tone a lot of guys can get out of this pedal (Rosenwinkel, Scofield, Monder, Frisell). But then you start reading those threads about modded vs unmodded, USA vs China, new chip vs old chip and its very confusing.

    Whats your experience with RATs? Buying a USA version and do something like Alumns mods? Get the real 80s thing for a huge price? Or there are other pedals that can get you there?

    Thanks!

  2. david6strings
    Member

    hi jorge. i think the old ones are great. it's what maked them famous. the same with marshall, strats, les pauls, 335's and fender. but i always say the same, try it. check it with your guitar your amp and your setup in general and judge is it works for you. maybe you realize you prefer another one choice like the sparkle drive or something. i have heard two models my friends have. one vintage and the other is the one you can buy now withouth mods. i don't know, for me both are fine. i can't suggest you nothing because i don't know what sound are you looking for and it's really dificult for you to explain it with words in a forum. if you don't have friends with this pedal, try to ask a guitar player just when he has finished the gig...they usually are kind. i remember i used to ask all the time kreisberg and kurt hahaha

  3. jorgemg1984
    Member

    Yeah the thing is I live in Lisbon... a lot of stuff is not available here!! I might be able to score a vintage RAT or a Freakshow Rabbit for a good price, lets see.. I really love almost all RAT tones I hear on records!

    Register
  4. jazznan
    Member

    I love the Fulltone OCD and it's not even that expensive

    Magical rainbow ponies
  5. steepcreeks
    Member

    The Freakshow Rabbit looks pretty nice Jorge. They say it's modeled after the org. Rat yet using higher quality parts to begin with.

  6. jbroad
    Member

    check out barber pedals made by david barber. i think they're the best o.d. pedals being made today and are a great value. the ltd, small fry and direct drive are all amazing sounding!

  7. jorgemg1984
    Member

    I like the OCD although I am not sure its worth the price.. But I am really after the RAT vibe! I am sure Barber pedals are great but again I am not sure it will give me the RAT sound I like so much..

    The Rabbit seems great (although so many people say its not really a RAT...), I am waiting for a mail reply!

  8. The Rat works great for jazz guitar. I have three that I made myself.
    One is a Build Your Own Clone kit pedal (called the Mighty Mouse), which is really versitile, it has 5 different variations of the rat in one box.
    I also built a clone of the early rat and another rat with my two favorite variations.
    The differences between them all are fairly minimal though. I definately don't think spending a fortune on a vintage one is worth it.
    The new Chinese ones aren't especialy well made, but it's fairly inexpensive to have one upgraded, or have a clone built.
    I hope this isn't considered spaming, but I'd be happy to build you one to 'classic' specs if you'd like.

  9. jorgemg1984
    Member

    Thanks for your offer, but I have a very good tech that will build me a RAT for free here if I order something from BYOC :)

    I have reached the conclusion there is a lot of snobbery on RAT discussions (and others). As you said, Chinese ones are poorly constructed, that doesn't make them sound bad. Even if you buy a regular USA its easy and cheap to upgrade the chip. And probably something from BYOC, a good clone or a regular RAT with Monte Alumns mods have to sound good!

  10. I'm not suprised your tech will do it for free, pedal building is very addictive!
    You're quite right about gear snobbery too. To a certain extent, chaseing gear is the refuge of those who don't practice enough :)
    I can't recommend BYOC highly enough either.
    Cheers from Oz,
    Ben

  11. jbear
    Member

    Barber's are amazing. I run the Small Fry though Fender's and it literally is a Dumble-in-a-box if you set it right. It does quite a lot more than that, but that's what I do with it. It is NOT a RAT though.
    I would recommend the El Raton pedal by VFE. It does that classic RAT sound, but some other things too and it's very well made.
    I am also a fan of the Sonic Fusion pedal...super transparent, but again...not a RAT.
    I get everything I need out of those three plus a modded TS9...of course the rest of the path is in play so...some that work for me may not for you. Just giving my take.

  12. Joxo
    Member

    Hey

    The thing with the RAT is the Filter knob. It lets u use the pedal as a booster more than a overdrive pedal. If thats what your looking for then check it out. Dont believe the hype about mods etc. Just Be sure not to get a chinese one. If its overdrive u want, then there is many cool pedals out there. the ibanez tubescreamer is one of them. /j

  13. jorgemg1984
    Member

    Yeah, the El Raton seems like a good option! Its now called the Alpha Dog. The Freakshow Rabbit and the Cmatmods Black Plague (now called Ratified) seem very good options also.

    No, I really want the RAT vibe. If I wanted overdrive the Voodoo Labs Sparkle Drive would be my choice!

  14. silverwater
    Member

    Hey Jorgemg1984 -

    I've got two RAT pedals, one is the newer model, the other is a vintage reissue.

    There's a video where a guy plays both of them:

    [+] Embed the video | Video DownloadGet the Video Player

    I LOVE the vintage reissue. It's extremely versatile, great for adding a little fuzz to your clean tone, or cranking all the way up for rocking ridiculousness. It never sounds muddy, and I love it's ability to cut through when playing with bass and drums. I'm not sure how it stacks up against the original version, but I know it costs a hell of a lot less.

    The new Rat, also demoed in this video, is pretty shitty, and was just about useless to me until I did this really easy mod where all you do is cut the 47 ohm resistor:

    http://www.diyguitaramp.com/rat.html

    Now I feel like I can get a decent sound out of it, but it's still not as good as the vintage reissue.

    And as chance would have it, I just got 2 LM308 chips in the mail (5$ apiece). Some people swear by this mod, others (like Joxo) say they don't really do much. I'm gonna give it a shot, I'll let you know how it sounds.

  15. jorgemg1984
    Member

    Wow thanks for the video! I heard nothing but great things about the Vintage RI... its an option on my table, I have a friend that is living in NY, he could bring it to Portugal at a very good price in December.

    About the chips you will read tons of stuff about it... truth is both Keeley and Monte Allums put that chip in new Rats.. Vodka Mods put another one... some people even say China ones sound as good as vintages, others say you don't have two old RATs that sound the same.. its hard to know what to believe!

    My tech will build me one or get me one with lots of switches and the original chip... lets see what he can get me! :) This is the original circuit

    http://www.tonepad.com/getFile.asp?id=89

    He said he can build me one for around 30€ (just parts)...

  16. Joxo
    Member

    "And as chance would have it, I just got 2 LM308 chips in the mail (5$ apiece). Some people swear by this mod, others (like Joxo) say they don't really do much. I'm gonna give it a shot, I'll let you know how it sounds"

    Well it does stuff. What i mean is that these pedals is built to screem. to be used with powerfull amps. The thing is that jazzplayers dont use them in this way. At least not me. I use it more or less as as a tone control and to get that extra push to cut trough the mix. Sometimes to get a lead type tone. So what is true about rockplayers opinion about what RAT to get maybe does not apply for jazzplayers.
    Thats what i mean by "the hype".

    By the way, the new RAT is not a shity pedal ! I can get nice sounds with it and i know a lot of people and greate players that can. Silverwater, your pedal must be broken or somewhat a bad unit. The older ones and the reissues are better but at least i cant tell the them apart in a live concert. /j

  17. silverwater
    Member

    @Joxio: It's useless to argue about something as subjective as the usefulness of a pedal, but I must say I disagree with just about everything you said. Well I can't really comment on the effectiveness of mods since I've yet to experience it first hand, but John Scofield is a jazzplayer and he uses and hassaid good things about the Keeley mods.

    I couldn't use the new RAT as boost and add a little dirt before I did clipped the 47om resistor because it was always too muddy. Now I can, but it's still not as good as the vintage reissue.

    And My pedal is not broken, I know this because it sounds exactly like the one in that demo video. Listen to it again...you seriously can't tell the difference? When directly compared to the other RAT, the new one sounds cheap and plasticy. Robert Keeley isn't even accepting them to be modded anymore because the quality is so substandard. From his site:

    "BREAKING 2008 NEWS! We are no longer selling new RAT pedals because of the horible quality that we see them in. They are now made in China and the workmanship is the worst I've ever seen. We would have to redo/replace so many things that the cost would increase by at least $45. We are working on a way to have you look at your serial number to determine if yours is one we can work on (when they where built much better). So, for the time being...No New Rat Pedals From Keeley. We are looking at ways of coming up with our own RAT style pedal. I am very excited about that! Thanks for your understanding players!"

  18. jorgemg1984
    Member

    Yeah Scofield has at least on Keeley RAT. Monder also! And i love their distorted tones...

  19. mrzzajjazz
    Member

    Hi!
    I have a '85 limited edition whiteface RAT, and I feel that it is difficult to get the exact tone that I want out of it. Maybe it's a little too "fuzzy". Silverwater: the cutting of the 47 ohm resistor sounds really interesting and pretty easy to do, but I am no technician, so I wonder if I'm not satisfied with the result, how difficult is it to fix this back to its original state?

  20. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    Simply solder it back with a low power iron, and done.

  21. mrzzajjazz
    Member

    Ok, thanks JorgeRubiales.

  22. geetarted
    Member

    I have gone threw, as many above, lot's of boost/overdrive/distortion pedals and have found on the most basic of levels that the amp and volume has a lot to do with the outcome. Being aware of the details of tubes/speakers and overall vibe of the amp effects the way pedals bump the pre-amp or distort/compress the sound. Most twins are tough and have to be cranked which is hard in small club situations. The Rat is well known but inconsistent like tube screamers, hence the mod's available from Keeley, Analogman( website worth reading ) and others.
    1st in my line-up is Maxon's SD-9. More headroom than a tube screamer and more gain. I always go back to this one. The best bump/ boost i've used is the Roger Mayer Voodoo 1. Huge headroom and can get amazing fuzz tones.

    I think the most important "effect" is the volume knob on the guitar. eg rat pedals compress tone when cranked but if you dial back your vol knob thinks become crispy. Have Fun!

  23. jorgemg1984
    Member

    So I made my decision. Talked with my tech and several local guys that build pedals and amps. They all agreed new RATs are poorly contructed and sound fine but not as good as old ones. An exact replica of an old rat can be built for something like 30€ for the parts and they all told me it will sound much better than these days RATs.

    This is the original circuit:

    http://www.tonepad.com/getFile.asp?id=89

    But I actually settled for this thing:

    ImageShack Album - 21 images

    6 clipping options (one being the original circuit), LM308 chip, ruetz mod, feedback mod, led, true bypass, regular 9v jack and a really nice looking pedal (mine will be white, pink is not for me). Final cost 100€, buying a RAT and modding it would probably cost me the same or even more... Will report the sound when I have the pedal (2 months waiting time)

  24. add4
    Member

    For what it's worth, i played at changing a few components in my rat III, modding it back to original, vintage specs. then tried some other mods (Fat rat +ruetz mod on a potentiometer) The sound is MUCH better, more musical, less harsh, much more 'watery' and more transparent. overall it sounds more like a vintage distortion. i'm really happy with it.
    I'm now playing with a few other things, i have add a switch that does overdrive/distortion/boost modes, and another switch that controls the diodes used in the clipping, 3 options too, first offer more dynamics, less distortion, harsher clipping. second offers lots of saturation and compression and third is more tube like, round and growling distortion, sensitive to touch, my favorite one. I also plan on adding another pot to control the amount of clipping from diodes, but i have to try how it sounds :)

    Just to say that with a soldering iron a few bucks and informations (i myself read a LOT on the internet, and built 3 stompboxes by myself before doing that) it's really possible and easy to change the rat (and a lot of other devices) to make them behave more like you want them to behave.
    even with the rat III (which is as people said, ok, but nothing like it sounds after being modded to original specs)

  25. jorgemg1984
    Member

    Yeah everyone reports that both vintage specs and mods (ruetz, clipping options, etc) will put your RAT sounding much better.

    I would love to be able to do that... Reading schematics is not very hard (specially a RAT one) but I am terrible at any hand work besides playing guitar! Because as you said you only need a schematic, some cheap electronic components and a soldering iron.. But even so any tech can build an exact replica of the vintage rat (tonepad schematic) or modding a rat to original specs or adding some mods (beavis audio has all the mods for free) for much less money than buying a vintage reissue RAT (200$ or 250€). Even a good boutique pedal is cheaper and will probably have at least clipping options.

    Pro Co living of the past as many other companies. A shame...

  26. One of my favorite distortion sounds is Brad Shepik's from Song's for Wandering souls---

    http://grooveshark.com/#/album/Songs+For+Wandering+Souls/5403316

    Not too gritty but just right for the situation I think. I think it was a rat---i don't know about the specs or anything.

  27. add4
    Member

    From my limited experience in stomboxes building, the cost comes from the box, quality jacks, pots, paint, connectors, switches...
    The electronic parts inside most boxes varies between 10 and 20$ for the more complicated ones.
    The cost also reflects the time needed to wire the circuit to the pots and jacks. this is much longer than the actual circuit. unless you have spent a lot of time preparing your stuff and the pots, jacks and switches are soldered on your pcb.
    But the paint, decoration, and wiring is the long (and thus expensive) stuff.
    So if you are putting a circuit in a box, you might as well put something with options and things to tweak since the electronic part is cheap.
    After that, maybe everyone doesn't want a 11 knobs distortion for everyday purpose ^^

  28. jorgemg1984
    Member

    I agree with you but selling an original RAT for 200$ is pure marketing... Specially when you produce 2000.

  29. jorgemg1984
    Member

    Just found out a company that makes a tube screamer and a rat in one pedal... you will basically get a whole history of distortion and od in one box (it it sounds good).

    http://www.vfepedals.com/VFE_Pedals/Gallery.html#50

  30. jorgemg1984
    Member

    http://imageshack.us/g/837/dsc00296i.jpg/

    It's here and it sounds great!

    Next and final pedal will be a tube screamer / ep booster in one... from the same guy, I really loved this RAT.

    Thankls for all your help!


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