Proco Rat 2 Distortion Pedal

This pedal really is a versatile pedal with so much to offer. I went through so many pedals and finally landed on this and I could not be happier: totally recommend the Proco Rat 2 .

Proco Rat 2 Distortion Pedal

For every gig, whether it’s rock, blues, punk, or jazz, the Proco Rat 2 will be your go-to distortion pedal. All other distortion devices are judged against this norm. It has influenced the tone of some of the most important bands in the last three decades, according to thousands of recordings.

The Proco Rat 2’s adaptability is what makes it so appealing. It’s great at arena rock rhythm tones and soaring leads because it’s used as a primary distortion. At the gig, do you have a loud amplifier with too much headroom? Your filthy channel should be RAT2. Maybe distortion is something you really enjoy. Use the RAT2 to get that extra boost you need for solos.

The volume control allows you to dial it in just perfectly against your bypassed clean tone, and the distortion dials in the perfect amount of gain from mild overdrive to full out fuzzy assault.

I’ve been on the hunt for the ‘end all be all’ distortion pedal for my board, and I think this is it for me. After going through countless other gain pedals and OD combos, I decided to give Proco Rat 2 Distortion Pedal one a shot and am pretty pleased with it. It’s got a useable function pretty much any way you set it, depending on your rig of course. I particularly like it with the distortion set to about 2 o’clock, Filter at 9, and level to taste. Plus it stacks well, which is always a plus. For the price, it’s hard to beat! 

It has a great, gritty rock tone. Think old school. It has a very unique distortion character though. I honestly was surprised at how unique this sounds. In a day and age where every other player sounds the same, this helps you stand out just a tiny bit more. I took one star off because the click of the stomp box is SUPER loud. Maybe it’s just because mine isn’t broken in yet, but it’s way loud. Like, smacking the stage with a baseball bat. So when you have a quiet moment, and tap this thing people front of house will know. (I’m comparing to something like my TC delay, that is smooth as butter).

Benefits Proco Rat 2

I own or have owned plenty of distortion boxes over the years, all the way back to the DOD FX56 American Metal I picked up in a pawn shop back in ’90. The ProCo Rat is the absolute best of them all. Kicking myself for not getting one sooner. The crunch is tight and controlled, simple 3 knob setting, works great with the OD in front or after and plays well with the Big Muff Pi in my chain. Other distortions have not been as friendly with the stacked gain boxes in the current signal chain.

  • That boost and grind that the Rat had years ago is still alive today.
  • Works for guitar or bass.
  • Add some reverb or delay for Dave Gilmour epic lead tone.
  • Built like a tank.
  • From overdrive to fuzz, this thing is one of the most satisfying circuits to play through.
  • Gritty dirt, droney fuzz, and with a tube screamer it tightens up nice as well!!
  • This pedal is very bright, but easily tamed by turning up the filter knob.
  • Works great with other pedals.

I am able to get blistering, harmonically saturated metal all the way down to bluesy ZZ grit. Others have said it is not that versatile, and as a standalone that may be more true, but I stack gain and use EQ to shape my sound more precisely.


Given the reputation this pedal has with hard rockers, I was expecting an absolute brute of a dirt box; a proverbial wall of musical sound and fire breathing distortion. In other words, something completely over the top, not unlike a Triple Wreck or, dare I say; Metal Zone.

Imagine my surprise when I unbox a controllable overdrive, it’s domesticated, even civilized. That’s not to say it isn’t capable of scorching hot drive, but it’s not quite as intense as one would expect. It’s a simple pedal, and yet it isn’t. You have 3 controls; Distortion and Volume are self-explained, but he Filter control adds an element that is rarely seen on pedals this cheap. There is no bad setting for the Filter, it’s simply to fine tune the high-end frequencies. It will let you dial your tone, but it won’t let you go crazy, and I think that’s very important.

The tone itself has a mid hump, which many traditional players of the blues and classic rock variety will enjoy, this is also great for lead work. It gets even more complex when we get to the Distortion setting. Don’t let this fool you, this is an Overdrive through and through, it’s touch sensitivity, although not astonishing by any means, holds its own against Blues Drivers and Tubescreamers. Unlike any overdrive I’ve played, however, this pedal will get to fuzz territory, ever so slightly, when completely dimed.

Proco Rat 2 Manual

This fuzz, mixed with the Filter control, gives you a variety of choosing between an almost Muff-like sound (minus the insane mid scoop) and a simple Tubescreamer. Truly worth it’s weight. And speaking of weight, you will not destroy this pedal. I dare you to even try, Boss pedals have nothing on the sheer heft of this behemoth. Overall; this pedal goes beyond what a lot of simple drive pedals do without being complex or expensive.

Proco Rat 2 has a nice distortion tone but I was really hoping for a bit more dynamic range and maybe a touch quieter. But this for sure covers any heavier genre and sounds really good doing it.

Buy If: You want a classic rock sound You need an OD that can do Fuzz You are rough on your pedals Pass If: You want a more transparent OD You want a heavy distortion You want an extremely sensitive OD.

Being a distortion, Rat, nevertheless, allows you to achieve a wide range of sounds. The secret lies in the control knobs, and more precisely in the fact that the settings of Distortion and Filter are in a non-linear and, I would even say, interactive interaction.

First, the Filter, which is a tone control, works “in the other direction”. That is, it adds highs when you turn it counterclockwise, not clockwise. Second, it does this not as a usual tone control, but rather as a real high-pass filter. As a result, in the leftmost position of the knob there are even too many high-frequency harmonics and the pedal starts to “sand” noticeably, which is good for garage-alternative styles, but not so good for classic rock. So I had no desire to turn this knob to the left of 11 o’clock, even though I like bright sounds.

With the Distortion knob at around 7-8 o’clock you get naturally clean, bluesy sounds. The pedal still allows you to leave quite a lot of treble, but with a slight turn of the Distortion knob to the left you have to reduce the amount of it. If you clean up the treble, then in the distortion range of 8-9 hours you can get still clean, but already saturated with harmonics sounds. Thus, approximately, the pedal was used by one of its famous users John Scofield – not for distortion, but to “fatten up” the sound.

Then, after 9 o’clock, the distortion zone begins. If between 9-10 hours the distortion is still light, so that you can play rock and roll rhythms without making them “metal”. But in the zone of 10-12 hours it’s already real rock distortion. To demonstrate it, I made a file, which, moreover, contains a characteristic rock riff, which gives everyone the opportunity to estimate for themselves how the sound of the pedal corresponds to the sound of Marshall amplifiers – because originally the Rat pedal was designed so that the Fender amplifier user could get the sound of an overloaded Marshall, and at any volume level.

But even in this very “distortion zone” its character has different shades. In the area of 10-12 hours it has a little bit fuzzy, at 12 o’clock, as you can hear in the example with the imitation of Marshall, it is already a full-fledged distortion, and in the area of 2-3 hours the amount of gain for the rhythm is already limiting. And in the case of rhythm parts, I would not turn the distortion knob any further. In the case of soloing, of course, you can add more gain. If you use a guitar with humbuckers and turn the filter to 2 o’clock, you can get a rock sound, and if you use a Stratocaster (or a similar instrument with singles) and add highs, you get a bright and aggressive blues sound. It’s nice to note, that the sound of Stratocaster with the Neko pickup, filtered at about 3-4 hours, gets nicely rounded and singing.

The sound of the pedal is quite traditional and not so underground at all. There are objective reasons for that. First of all, as I said before, the creators originally set the task to imitate the sound of Marshall – the classics of rock sound, but not the alternative sounds. And the advertising slogan Sound Of The Underground does not indicate the musical style, but presumably plays with the fact that originally the pedals were produced in a small basement room of the Pro Co factory (I have a suspicion that the name Rat was born because of this). Also, we should not forget that the characteristic garage sound of the 90’s came not only from the pedals themselves, but also from their combination with inexpensive Peavey combos, which were massively used by youth bands of that period.