PROCO RAT - "The Woodcutter" mystery

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by fieldsroyal, Jan 9, 2008.


  1. fieldsroyal

    fieldsroyal Member

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    Hi all - I've finally gotten around to joining TGP - my first post!!!
    I have a very early Reissue RAT - 1991 - which sounds awesome - IMO much better than my small box vintage rat -
    I recently opened it up and found it had a sticker with the word "Woodcutter" typed on it.
    - I thought it might have been a mod but I haven't uncovered anything to this effect. Any ideas as to who/what the "Woodcutter" would be????
    :BEER
     
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  2. dbx

    dbx Supporting Member

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    Maybe the nickname of the technician that loaded the board/tested the unit? An email to ProCo might get you a better answer...
     
  3. catalinbread

    catalinbread Member

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    Mine is a Woodcutter variety too. I always thought it was the dude that built it.
     
  4. Ed Reed

    Ed Reed Senior Member

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    I've got an old Rat 2 and I looked in it and it says KATRY.
     
  5. fieldsroyal

    fieldsroyal Member

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    thanks folks - it didn't appear to be modded in any way - probably a quality control mechanism. These reissues are tops - WAY undervalued.
     
  6. fyler

    fyler Member

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    is the sticker on the pots? i have a 91 reissue, as well, and there is a sticker across the pots with what i assume is a signature on it. killer pedal.
     
  7. Ed Reed

    Ed Reed Senior Member

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    Can you tell from the serial number what year it is? Mine says RT- 207818.
     
  8. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

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    Mines a late 80's rat and its says something like "master of the universe" on the PCB. Maybe they all have that but I think its friggin hilarious.
     
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  9. fieldsroyal

    fieldsroyal Member

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    My circuit board actually has "1991" stamped into it - serial number is RT-157619.
    I guess "The Woodcutter" was just his nickname - I bought mine in small town Toowoomba Qld in 1994 i think - modding wasn't so popular back then (at least not in Toowoomba)
    the sticker is placed across the pots - very apt as this pedal could bring down trees!!!
     
  10. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    And the rush is on for "Woodcutter" Rat Reissues :)
     
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  11. bazooka47

    bazooka47 Member

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    mine is a "master of the universe" version as well
     
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  12. cameron

    cameron Member

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    Funny. Sounds like a variant on the classic "Inspected by #17" type of marker.
     
  13. SonicVI

    SonicVI Member

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    I had a pre-LED one from '87 that had something like "from the depths of hell comes the rat" printed on the pcb.
     
  14. Ryan

    Ryan Member

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    I love the creativity.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Klon Solo

    Klon Solo Supporting Member

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    My rat sticker lead me here. I am also woodcutter'ed.

    I guess there's nothing else out there concerning this info? I don't want to know bad enough to contact them - just curious.
     
  16. Black_Label

    Black_Label Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm pretty sure I read somewhere on TGP and it was confirmed by the ProCo guy around here that the labels were put on there by each builder so that, in the event of a problem and a pedal that's sent back for fixing, they'd know who built it and who to send it to. Some used nicknames, some real names - they just had to know who it was internally. A lot of the pedals won't have a name, just a blue or red dot sticker on the pots. I recently sold my Rat2 that was built by Miss Pugs.

    I don't think anyone knows who Woodcutter is/was. Some people say that his are particularly good sounding Rats but I don't believe they're really any better than others of the era. That said, of all the Rats I've had, my '88 Woodcutter is my favorite of them all.
     
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  17. ItsaRat!

    ItsaRat! Member

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    Oh boy. I'm really sorry to spoil the myth folks, but Woodcutter did not do anything different than anyone else on the line. He was, I'm told, a super cool guy, and one of the fastest assemblers at the time, but did not do anything different to the Rat than anyone else. I sometimes did some work during slow times back in that department, so I do have some considerable experience with how employees were trained and how Rats are built.

    There was a lot of emphasis on attention to detail, good harnessing, speed, and technique, and there would have been no room for someone on the line to experiment. The way the shop was set up was very much a "color by numbers" setup. There weren't bins full of different resistor values and mojo components available for employees to try. It was set up such that even those without electronics knowledge could stuff a board accurately. In order to do any experimentation, an employee would have to buy their own Rat, take it home, and experiment. Any mods would have had to come out of their own pocket. Unlikely, since he didn't play guitar. Woodcutter got his name because, and I'm not kidding, he loved to cut wood. Not carve it mind you, but literally cut and sell wood.

    And in any case, if Kandi (head of the department for 20 plus years) would have seen some other component stuffed in the board it would not have passed inspection. There were four distinctive steps and inspections in the manufacturing process for Rats. Each one of these steps would require its own signature. One involved stuffing the board, at which point a sticker would be applied, one was crimping, one was soldering and adding the pots, etc. all of this was for good QC. Somewhere out there, a bunch of people have ItsaRat! Stickered Rats (unless I used my initials- I can't remember). No employee aside from engineering would have had any authority (or desire for that matter) to make changes to standard devices. The goal is to make them right, and be as efficient as possible.

    He passed away some time ago so it sometimes bothers me that other companies use his name without any benefit to his widow and family. I know that no one's getting rich from it, and that there isn't any malice there, but it does bug me at times. I told his widow about this whole myth one time, and she thought it was hilarious (didn't tell her about the use of his name because I wasn't aware of it at the time - I have no idea how she'd feel about it). I joked with her once that it was too bad that he didn't sign his cut logs "Rat stuffer." ;) again sorry to spoil the myth here my friends, but this is the real deal.

    If you got a great one, it is due to luck in having component tolerances coming together in a magical way. Just as likely with any other Rat of the era.
     
  18. adamajah

    adamajah Supporting Member

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    Massive thumbs up for this post! Thank you
     
  19. Paulstarr

    Paulstarr Member

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    does this have anything to do with this?[​IMG]
     
  20. s360guitarist

    s360guitarist Supporting Member

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    It might imply as such, but the website for said company states I think t hat they engineered it off of the owners favorite Rat. If what @ItsaRat! Says is true and they were all made the same, there is nothing to really new to steal.
     

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