Building a better Rat trap

The ProCo Rat is a legendary pedal. It was designed by ProCo engineer Scott Burnham in 1978 in an attempt to build a better mouse trap, so to speak, compared to the pedals they were modding for customers. With some finesse, it can be dialed in as a fuzz, distortion or overdrive. It has a relatively simple distortion circuit built around a single LM308 opamp, itself now a coveted IC chip. It’s the tone on Metallica’s “Kill ’em All.” Legend has it two in a row were used for Carcass’s “Reek of Putrefaction.” Kurt Cobain, Thurston Moore, Kevin Shields, and Jeff Beck are all listed users (info from the always infallible Wikipedia). With the Rat2 in 1988, ProCo innovated again by adding what’s known as the Rat bypass, allowing true-bypass with a power indicating LED.

ProCo Rat 2

So what’s with the fucking battery cover? It sucks. Any time I see these pedals, the battery cover is long gone and the bottom is covered in icky duct tape leaving gummy residue all over the black box. The first one I got, a Rat2, was the same. Liberal amounts of Goo Gone were applied to clean the bastard. My friend gave me an original ’84 Rat. Again, no battery cover. All my friends with Rats? Duct taped battery covers.

Continue reading “Building a better Rat trap”