Pro Co Reissue '85 Whiteface RAT review

This filthy little vermin is an alternative legend

  • £229
  • $299
Home of the grot-heavy distortion favoured by Nirvana and The Pixies.

MusicRadar Verdict

This Rat does make some great sounds, but that price tag is a lot for a pedal of this type. It's worth considering whether you really need that LM308 chip.


  • +

    Authentic grungy distortion.


  • -

    You need to justify the price.

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Pro Co founder Charlie Wicks (who sadly passed away in March) first started building the Rat in 1978 and, after a couple of incarnations, the Whiteface arrived in '85.

At the heart of the Rat's sound is the LM308 op-amp chip; it's what many collectors regard to be the key ingredient in vintage versions. This pedal is the only one in the current Pro Co range to include it.

The Rat is a basic design with Gain, Filter and Volume controls and an on/off stomp switch. With the Gain set low and Filter rolled back, you get a dark, vintage-sounding overdrive. As you boost the Gain and open the Filter, the pedal starts breaking up and the Rat's real character shows it face.

Push the Gain past two-thirds with the Filter set to max and you're into the harshest clipping territory. It's this fat, heavily broken distortion that has made the Rat an alt rock staple.

The popularity of pedals like this has taken grot-box fuzz pedals out of the junk shop and into the boutique world. If you obsess about vintage gear, you'll love the '85's faithfulness.

Equally, crank the gain and you can indulge in the same lung-filling levels of fuzz that Kurt Cobain, Graham Coxon and Frank Black made famous, too.

The only thing left to consider is the price: there's £140 difference between this and the £89 non-LM308 loaded Rat 2.

Stuart Williams

I'm a freelance member of the MusicRadar team, specialising in drum news, interviews and reviews. I formerly edited Rhythm and Total Guitar here in the UK and have been playing drums for more than 25 years (my arms are very tired). When I'm not working on the site, I can be found on my electronic kit at home, or gigging and depping in function bands and the odd original project.