Skip to main content

JHS Pedals’ PackRat crowds 9 classic and rare RAT distortion circuits into one compact stompbox

JHS Pedals Pack Rat
(Image credit: JHS Pedals )

After undertaking a comprehensive survey of the world’s RAT population, poring over 100 circuits, JHS Pedals supremo Josh Scott has hand-picked nine of his favourites and housed them in one regular-sized distortion pedal, the PackRat.

Since its launch in 1979, the ProCo RAT has proven itself a supremely versatile dirt box, capable of capable of adding some spicy grit for blues and rock, saturated distortion for metal, with a quasi-fuzz feral tone when maxed out. 

But with so much choice on the market, so many variations on the theme, choosing one has always been one of the most difficult acts of gear procurement. That also made developing the PackRat something of a Herculean labour, with Scott's research extending to over 20 hours of interviews with former ProCo employees who built the original units. 

Here, using the same Multi Mode technology behind the Bonsai and Muffuletta – which packed many flavours of Tube Screamer overdrive and Big Muff fuzz pedal circuits into a similar-sized enclosure – you have a very tidy pedalboard solution that offers a tantalising array of ratty sounds from all-analogue circuits that replicate the originals right down to component drift.

The pedal itself is straightforward like the those that inspired it. There are controls for Volume, Distortion and Filter, and a nine-way stepped potentiometer that switches between the circuits.

This greatest hits package kicks off with OG mode, covering the first production RATs made between 1979 and 1983. Next up we have the White Face V3 (1984-1986) mode, which offers an ostensibly identical proposition to the OG while offering a wider sweet spot. Then there’s the Turbo mode, replicating a model that saw out the ‘80s with an LED clipping for a more touch-sensitive performance.

JHS Pedals Pack Rat

(Image credit: JHS Pedals )

Moving on, we come to the budget Brat V6 circuit, which augmented the RAT recipe with an input buffer circuit, soft clipping and different capacitor values, then the Dirty V7, which replicates the Dirty RAT, and the LA, which revives Ibanez’s LA Metal stompbox circuit.

Finally the Landgraff MO’D replicates the John Landgraff’s RAT-inspired ‘boutique’ distortion, a Caroline Wave Cannon mode, and last but not least, a JHS Mode, which rounds out the RATS with a signature flourish. And there you have it: nine RATs, one PackRat pedal, and it retails for £/$249.

See JHS Pedals for more details. 

JHS Pedals Pack Rat

(Image credit: JHS Pedals )
Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.