Based on an infamous circuit from a classic 1980’s high gain distortion pedal, the Ratsbane is Brian’s answer to the countless requests he has received to build his interpretation of this much-loved design.
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.
Brian has incorporated some unique modifications into this circuit, easily accessed by the toggle switches. With the gain switch set in the center you get the classic circuit, flick it either right or left to get insane amounts of gain on tap.
Not content with just modifying the gain stages, Brian also added a voice switch which totally changes this circuit into a modern, higher gain style distortion. This pedal can cover boosted overdrive tones, full on fuzz, and modern searing distortion tones in one small package.
This circuit is based on a modern, and in our opinion more harmonically complex, operational amplifier IC, but we know there are some purists out there that will want to try it with an LM308 IC, so we put our “engine” in a socket to allow those adventurous DIY “modders” amongst you to have some fun. We don’t recommend it though and it shouldn’t be attempted by novices.
Brian Wampler’s attention to detail and commitment to bringing you the best-sounding & most usable Effects Boxes on the market is nothing new. Those qualities are on full display within the Ratsbane. We’re all tone-freaks, and we’re always trying new things, but we hope this pedal finds it’s forever home on your pedalboard, so we built it to last that long.
Category: Effects/Pedals, Wampler
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