Pro Co Lil’ Rat: What is it?
The Pro Co Rat is such a legendary distortion pedal that not only has it found its way onto the pedalboards of the pros, stadium shaking and club circuit alike, it has also been aped, replicated and riffed on relentlessly.
As recently as late October last year, JHS Pedals was so besotted with this gnarly and versatile pedal that it compiled a nine-circuit mega-Rat in the form of the JHS Pack Rat. But here have a house special Rat, the Lil’ Rat, which, as the name suggests, packs a classic Rat circuit into a scaled-down enclosure. In this case, it’s a Rat 2 circuit, with Pro Co promising the exact same components, all squeezed into a chassis measuring 50mm (w) by 80mm (L) by 50 cm (H).
To do this, there are some concessions to the laws of physics, with the control dials looking like they have been put through a boil wash and shrunk to fit. But at least they are familiar, with Distortion, Filter and Volume, each indicated in traditional fashion by boxed whited text across the front of the unit.
There is also no room for a battery, but a regular 9V DC power supply will get it up and running, and in the dark, where you can’t see those small dials anyway, you’ll be reassured by the bright red LED to let you know when the effect is engaged.
Another boon for keepers of a crowded pedalboard will be cheered to know there are top-mounted jacks, which can make your setup a little tidier.
Pro Co Lil’ Rat: Performance and verdict
Retailing with plenty of change for 100 bucks, the Lil’ Rat offers plenty of bang for the buck, and when you step on it there is no question that what you have in front of you is a classic Rat.
• Pigtronix Disnortion Micro
Where the original fuzz and overdrive worked in parallel, this version also gives you the option of running the two serially with the six-stage CMOS overdrive circuit preceding the diode-clipping fuzz.
• Pro Co You Dirty Rat
If you find the original Rats too difficult to locate, or you don't necessarily require the sheer level of filth available via the Turbo Rat, this model offers a slightly smoother fuzz that leads to an almost infinite sustain.
What does that sound like? Well, its ratty all right, but that sound can change depending on how you use it, and can take you from hot, gritty drive through saturated, harmonically rich distortion, and through into a pseudo-fuzz sound that’s kind of bonkers if you have some other sources of drive in the mix.
The Rat’s versatility is a big part of the appeal. Exploring its sounds is easy. Volume sets the output level, Distortion dials in the gain, with that fur coat coming on at extreme settings, while the Filter control acts a little differently to a regular tone dial.
Fully counterclockwise it lets all the frequencies through, but as you turn it clockwise it rolls off the high end – perfect for taking the ice pick out of a Telecaster’s bridge pickup, or for dialling in smooth gain.
MusicRadar verdict: Crowded pedalboard or not, there’s always room for a Rat, more so when it’s a little micro-sized guy like this. And for the money, you can’t go wrong.
Pro Co Lil’ Rat: The web says
"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?"
Total Guitar (opens in new tab)
Pro Co Lil’ Rat: Hands-on demos
Pro Co Lil’ Rat: Specifications
- TYPE: Distortion pedal
- CONTROLS: Distortion, Filter, Volume
- SOCKETS: Input, output, power
- POWER: 9 volt PSU (not included)
- TRUE BYPASS: Yes
- CONTACT: Rat Distortion (opens in new tab)