Brian Wampler‘s love story with the tone produced by classic and vintage distortion and overdrive circuits gave birth to several pedals that strike a perfect balance between quality, tone-authenticity, and price point – in our guides to the best Plexi-Syle Pedals, Klon Centaur Clones and Dumble-Style Overdrives, his pedals rank on the top of the list.
However, for mysterious reasons, a RAT-inspired pedal was not in Wampler’s roster – until now. Enter the Ratsbane, a mini stompbox inspired by the famous square black distortion box.
The pedal delivers the rodent-in-a-box’s familiar, forceful high-gain distortion, and the three controls (Volume, Distortion and Filter) closely match the response of the original unit. On the other hand, the two toggle switches add flexibility to the tone, providing a combination of voicings that widens its sonic palette. Here’s what they do:
– Middle: stock gain
– Left: smooth boost in gain
– Right: aggressive yet creamy distortion
– Left: stock voice
– Right: modern, high gain, tighter distortion sound
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If you are looking for a single pedal solution with multiple degrees of gain from light overdrive to full out saturated fuzz tones, then you’ll surely love the Ratsbane. The Ratsbane is based on a true benchmark sound amongst guitarists that has been heard on thousands of famous recordings.
The full, dynamic range, and sheer sonic force of this circuit is what makes it a true king amongst distortion pedals. Turn the distortion control all the way down for a deep but powerful gain booster. Crank it up and you will find rich harmonic overtones and a throaty, fuzz-like distortion. The “secret sauce” for this circuit has always been the filter control. Turn it counter-clockwise to cut straight through the mix with precision and high-frequency attack that lets your tone soar with absolute clarity. Turn it clockwise to filter the top end, for a warm, buttery, yet clear tone. This natural full-range distortion, mixed with its unique filter control, delivers a classic cranked tube-amp sound that crosses genres and generations of music.
In typical Wampler fashion, Brian improved the circuit’s flexibility by adding two new switches. The Gain switch offers three distinct choices. In the middle gives you the “stock” gain for this pedal. Flick it either right or left for 2 additional turbocharged gain stages you can play with. The left position offers a firm, yet smooth boost in gain, whereas the right delivers an insane level of creamy distortion. The Voice switch subtly alters the compression and clipping of this pedal. It tightens the distortion to be more manageable with greater levels of gain, while rolling back some of the fuzz qualities, to deliver a modern, high gain distortion.