From Gilmour to Grohl, the Pro Co Rat has earned its place as a bona ﬁde classic distortion pedal since it was first released in 1978.
It’s been through many guises, too, including the Rat 2, You Dirty Rat and Vintage Big Box Rat reissue and many more. But now everyone’s favourite rodent-based dirt box has been given the miniaturisation treatment resulting in a ratlet measuring just 5cm wide by 8cm front to back and 5cm high.
Now, we know that people get sniffy about reissues and clones of classic pedals, so it’s worth pointing out that Pro Co says the Lil’ Rat uses identical components to our – fairly ancient itself – Rat 2. But there are a few changes.
Most notably the controls have been shrunken, and while it doesn’t run oﬀ a battery like its big brother, the Lil’ Rat has thankfully had a power jack upgrade to a standard diameter barrel size, and Ratfans will be pleased to hear that the ‘A’ glows red when it’s engaged, just like you’re used to.
Most importantly, how does it sound? Well, like a Rat! The Distortion control winds in that familiar fuzzy-edged gain, and the volume governs your overall output, but the key to the Rat’s personality really lies in the filter control.
All the way to the left with maximum clipping gives you the full frequency range, and it’s here that you’ll find the airy presence and grind that helps achieve the little rodent’s distinctive sound. It’s an aggressive sweep, and you can smooth things out easily by backing oﬀ the gain and turning the filter to the right to roll off the highs.
The filter also helps if you want to start stacking with other drives or into your amp’s distortion channel, bolstering your sustain à la the original Dave G, but without careering too far into ‘grunge’ mode.
It’s been a little while coming, and surely the sight of other brands producing Rat-like mini-pedals has lured Pro Co out of hiding, but for well under $100, why not catch a genuine Rat that you’ll be able to fit on even the most cramped of ’boards?
- PRICE: $69 / £89
- TYPE: Hard clipping distortion
- CONTROLS: Distortion, Filter, Volume
- SOCKETS: Input, output, power
- POWER: 9 volt PSU (not included)
- TRUE BYPASS: Yes
- CONTACT: Rat Distortion