I Ain’t No Rat

I recently got a Vintage Reissue ProCo Rat in a trade, and even though I’ve never been a fan of the sound, I figured it would be fun to mess with.

I have mixed feelings about this pedal. It’s really weird. The Multi Rat PCB, which was used in many of their Rat variations, is probably one of the lowest quality PCBs I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen some crap. This is a USA made pedal, but who knows where the PCB came from, it’s just garbage. It has the thinnest traces, with poor bond to the board, and I can’t even think of a pedal I’ve worked on in the past 10 years that was this bad. The workmanship was also very poor. Poor soldering joints, sloppy work in general.

Here’s what gets me. A lot of the components and parts they used were pretty good quality. Carling DPDT switch wired true-bypass without an LED. Xicon electrolytic caps (I like Xicon in general). The pots seem to be decent quality. The jacks are crap, and I generally don’t like ceramic capacitors, but overall the parts chosen were good quality.

I stripped the board down to the bare PCB and took a photo, I figure this should be useful for anybody troubleshooting the pedal and trying to follow the schematic. Here’s a photo:DSC03696So now I’m at the point where I decide whether I want to put this back together with some better components, or use a DIY PCB. I’m leaning towards the DIY PCB. I ordered one from a popular DIY guitar site, and I can’t imagine the quality being as low as the ProCo board. Normally I would order the PCB from GGG, but their price was almost twice as much, so I went with the cheaper option…and I bet it’s still much better than the stock board.

I would say that anybody looking for the Rat tone, don’t waste your money on originals or even modded originals. Get a clone. Photocopies are supposed to be less accurate than originals, but in this case I think the stock PCB is an unreliable piece of garbage. It always bothers me when the few pennies it would cost to improve the quality of a product isn’t spent because a slightly higher profit margin is more important than product quality. I still like ProCo cables, but that’s about it.

One thought on “I Ain’t No Rat

  1. JMPGuitars Post author

    Side note: I have read reviews stating that build quality completely depends on who built the pedal. Some of them were supposed to be made quite well, while others, like this one, were sloppy hack jobs.

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