In 1996, Guitar Center approached Charlie Wicks with the request for an exclusive RAT version to sell in their stores and through their Musician’s Friend catalog. This request came with one major caveat: it needed to cost GC a total of $15 at cost so that they could sell at a very competitive price.
The engineering task was assigned to Grape, the man who had designed the Turbo RAT in 1989. The task of a USA-made, $15 pedal certainly had challenges, mainly off-setting the price of the original steel enclosure. Grape rigged a new and more affordable enclosure with PVC pipe from the hardware store, which incorporated metal sides to support the pedal and give stability while the rest of the enclosure was made from hard ABS plastic. The assembly was simple and quick by allowing the circuit to pop into the face plate, then fastening the sides and back with screws.
The circuit was where Grape really shined as an engineer. It is the most drastic variation from the standard RAT topology to date, featuring an input buffer, soft clipping inside the op amp’s feedback loop (like a Tube Screamer), capacitor changes for frequency adjustments, soft touch on/off, as well as the traditional RAT hard clipping. This RAT features a departure from the classic control names and goes after the insanely popular DOD “Jason Lamb Era” aesthetic of the time. The controls are Headlights, Screech and Splatter and the footswitch is surrounded by a blood splatter graphic. This is the nineties grunge aesthetic at its finest.
This pedal shows signs of use, and is missing the back battery compartment cover, but functions as it should. We'll ship it to you super fast and super safe!