Rat settings

(10 posts)
  1. callum

    Hey guys, I've had a rat for a while but I've only recently started actually using it.

    I'm finding it sounds great on the e a d and g strings (especially down low), and it also sounds great on the b and high e string above the 12th fret. But around the 5th fret on the b and high e, I get a strange tone, almost quite digital sounding which I don't like.

    Have any of you experienced something similar and no of a way to counteract this?


  2. The Rat is a pretty simple circuit that uses diodes to hard clip a voltage amplified signal.
    I think what you're describing is the sound of the hard clipping, you can certainly reduce the amount of clipping by backing off the gain, or disguise it a little by turning down the filter (tone).
    The Rat comes in several versions and the only significant difference between the Original, Rat II and "You Dirty" is the type of diodes used to produce the clipping. It's a fairly straightforward and common modification to put two or more different types of clipping options on a switch to yield some different distortion textures.
    Of course, playing style, strings, pickups and amps will also all come into the equation. It maybe that the sound of hard clipping is not for you. There are other options. Another type of clipping, found more often in overdrives, is known as "soft clipping." Here the clipping is done in the feedback loop of the opamp and does sound "softer." Some designs employ both hard and soft clipping too.
    I build, repair and modify effect pedals, including Rat type circuits, at codtone.com and am always happy to talk effects!

    Captain Cod

  3. callum

    Yeah I had a mess around a bit more and taking the gain down definitely improved it. At the moment I only have access to a practice amp, hopefully it'll sound a bit better through my proper rig.

  4. Din

    Anybody knows if kurt uses the Rat in parallel? meaning that what sounds is his clean sound plus the rat?


  5. sandman

    I don't know if he does, but I do. I found the tone of my actual guitar was effectively lost when using the RAT and the sound I got out sounded too metal. This is of course fine for certain situations, but not what I wanted. Mixing the RAT in parallel allowed me to be able to keep the clean tone of instrument and get a little bit (or a lot) of gravel in the tone giving it a bit of reed like character (in my opinion anyway). I'm not very good with pedals and what not though so there may be other more knowledgeable opinions than mine. but I'm not sure if that has to do with what this thread is about, or is it...

  6. What sandman says is exactly how I see things, and how I use one too.
    I think the answer to Din's question is "no, yes and not at all".
    I suspect that early Kurt stuff would be just the Rat with the gain low, a la Sco, then latter, when he began prominently using Lehle gear, I think the Rat is in parallel, (listening to some solos on the album with the OJM for instance), though now he's gone digital I think he's probably no longer using a Rat live.
    Unfortunately, here in Australia, I've never had the chance to see him live, and the floor shots online of his pedals show a almost humorous tangle of cables, so this is all speculation on my part ;)

  7. callum

    I was using the xotic x-blend to combine the rat sounds with my clean sound. It kinda just sounded like 2 guitar to me, if any of you have any advice on that I would welcome it...

  8. You'll hear the attack of the clean and it's short decay, then the sustain of the distortion follows it. I think this is why it sounds like two separate guitars. (kind of cool in it's own way tho) Try just a little compression on the clean sound, it helps the two sounds merge.

  9. callum

    Ok I'll try that out and see what happens. Cheers!

  10. Cool! Let us know how it goes.
    I'll bet there's quite a few guys here who have a shot at a "Kurt" type solo tone at times- c'mon, 'fess up! You dim the lights, put on some distortion, delay, turn up the mids, turn down the treble, sing along...maybe wear a peaked cap and big sun glasses...;)
    I'd be very interested to hear how many use a Rat (or similar), and how (parallel looper, low gain, tone off, etc.), and also from guys who use some other kind of distortion/drive. In particular the hollow or semi players, these are guitars that I find to be especially difficult to pair with dirt pedals.


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