JHS Packrat Review: 40 Years In One Box
“JHS Pedals” presented it’s new guitar pedal “Packrat”. Distinctive feature of this gear is nine modes, emulating the sound of 9 popular guitar pedals. The masterpiece of JHS Packrat is it’s unique sound. So when the guitarist selects one of the nine modes, he is playing entirely analog circuits that flawlessly reproduce that mode. And all these features go in a small box.
The JHS PackRat Distortion pedal promises to offer a massive nine distinct versions of Rat, based on the lengthy history of the ProCo Rat. Josh Scott, of JHS, spent nine years working on this pedal, collecting thousands of ProCo Rat variations and photographing parts. The JHS PackRat is the one-size-fits-all pedalboard solution for anybody who loves the ProCo Rat in all of its iterations.
Design JHS Packrat Review
Speaking about boxing, JHS Packrat goes in black color, decorated with a rat with red eyes. On the front panel there is a metal switcher. It turns ON and OFF the pedal. To his right is located a red LED. There are 4 controllers in the upper part of the front panel. “Volume” controls the output volume. “Filter” controls the overall brightness of the circuit. Some modes get brighter as you turn this clockwise and some are reversed, getting darker instead. Each mode reacts exactly as the original circuit does. “Distortion” controls the amount of gain/distortion within the circuit. Clockwise is more, counter-clockwise is less. “Mode” selector is the main controller and it selects between 9 different versions of classic and rare RATs. Just rotate it to the mode you want and the pedal transforms itself instantly.
Simulation of 9 popular distortions
Speaking about these 9 popular guitar pedals, which JHS Packrat simulates. First one is “The Og” which is a classic RAT tone from the 70’s. “White face” pedal was popular in the 80’s and the sound is much like “The OG” but with a different type of filter control. “Turbo” mode is better for overdrive tones. “Brat” mode is perfect for grunge music. “Dirty” mode gives the most saturation and waveform clipping. “LA” has a different and more rodent tone. “Landgraff Mo’D” and “Caroline Wave Cannon” simulate distortion sounds from 2000’s. Finally “JHS Mode” is a classic modification from JHS with louder, “bigger” sound.
My impressions of the pedal
At one point years ago I did not like the RAT sound, but over the years it grew on me. When I saw this one I thought it was such a great idea. You get the OG sounding rat, but all the others and they sound simply put incredible!
I am not necessarily a RATE distortion tone player and prior experience with the RAT-style pedals is the very cool Wampler Ratsbane mini pedal. However, if you want one RAT to rule them all, the JHS PackRat Distortion is one pedal with many, many distortion tone options. Out of the box, I put all three control knobs at noon and played with the lower right mode switch. Keep the Volume and Distortion knobs at noon and play with the Filter knob to taste for each mode. This pedal has so many options for RAT Distortion tones it is ridiculous! The volume and tone does vary among the modes, but the Filter knob is key to easily dialing in several great varied tones to taste per mode. Guitar tone knob adjustment to taste and you have tons of tone on tap for RAT distortion! I really liked the Turbo RAT, LA and Caline Mod modes. This pedal is one sick RAT bastard of tone!
This JHS Pack rat is a great distortion pedal. It’s awesome to have the different Rat variations at the turn of a knob. I’m definitely happy with the results… the only issue I have is that it picks up a local radio station. I’ve tried different power supplies but it still picks up the radio station. I’m currently using the Voodoo Labs PP3+ which has reduced the intensity, but you can still faintly hear the radio station. It’s not a deal breaker, but it is kind of annoying.