PROCO RAT - "The Woodcutter" mystery

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

  1. BadMotherPlucker

    BadMotherPlucker Member

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    Mine is signed "Xjng Tsong Chau II"
     
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  2. iluvfender

    iluvfender Member

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    Just picked up a 1988 Woodcutter Rat. Traded it for TC Electronic Flashback that I had for 4-5 years that I bought used. The guy even threw me $20 with the Rat. I had it on my local Marketplace. He really wanted the delay to go along with his Hall Of Fame Reverb and was extremely excited so no guilt on my end. Didn't care for the Rat he said and obviously didn't know what he had. I asked him to send me some gut shots when he said he had a USA Rat and I knew I had to have it, it's been well taken care of.
     
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  3. Gutch220

    Gutch220 Member

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    Legend has it, Mr. Woodcutter personally sneezed into every RAT in the late 80's to give it that extra mojo.
     
  4. The-Kid

    The-Kid Member

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    Pretty much if it was assembly line style and all this guy did was stuff boxes after the PCB was made and stuff. Not to take away from WoodCutter but he was just stuffing boxes as you said and totally agree with what your saying here about this myth.

    He didnt make the PCB or solder stuff or anyone who put a name on it in the end as most of it was an assembly style job.

    I think it really speaks to what it takes to make a really good pedal......

    You dont need special sauce or mojo...... In a garage with just one dude making it on a bench hand making each capacitor and pot....... Thats cool but allot of these classics were just not made that way and were in fact made in an assembly line setting and the are some of the best tones and many legends used them and sounded amazing just the same.

    Fuzz Face, TS pedals, RAT pedals etc etc
     
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  5. The-Kid

    The-Kid Member

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    RIP WoodCutter. Maybe it wasnt special or technically hard what he was doing but people who played the end product sure appreciate the work regardless.

    Good stuff and need to open mine up my FATRAT and see whats up with initials or names lol
     
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  6. ItsaRat!

    ItsaRat! Member

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    Howdy Brent, I dunno how I didn’t see this, prolly cuz every few months or so I get a new set of likes and I don’t always see new replies. you’re thinking of Steve Kiraly, aka Uncle Steve, who did pass away about a year ago. I’m bummed I didn’t get to go to his last birthday celebration. Different guy. Woodcutter/Doug passed away quite some time ago, and I never met him. They both have Trish in common. Trish was a member of the management team at ProCo, and she and Woodcutter were married a long time ago. She’s the one I told about this whole woodcutter myth which she found really hilarious, since, as I mentioned, he didn’t even play guitar. she and Steve as I recall did get married about a year before he died, but Steve and Woodcutter are two different people. Steve was ProCo’s head engineer and was around since the very early days.
     
  7. The-Kid

    The-Kid Member

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Compared to all the pics my FATRAT is most similar to this build in topography as its probably modeled after this Reissue and the that particular Big Box style.

    A bit different as its got some more stuff going on with the Mosfet and the Fat switch but pretty damn similar. All the components look pretty clean to compared to that pic you posted, Im pretty impressed a bit extra wire but again does have 2 switches for more options. CTS pots, thick board, true bypass 3PDT switch.

    Still make em pretty clean I must say.


    Also Initials vs nicknames now. Still dope pedal :)
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2020
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  8. LordThurisaz

    LordThurisaz Member

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    Honestly, this kind of makes me want a ProCo documentary. We can give screwed up meth heads with all sorts of issues a documentary (and it is apparently super awesome -- yeah right), so surely a company like ProCo can do one. I'd love to know more about the people who provided such a killer pedal and the background to some of the other products as well, like the Turbo, Dirty, Solo, etc.
     
  9. The-Kid

    The-Kid Member

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    Something to this circuit, the build, the pedigree.

    Still made in Kalamazoo in case of FATRAT, TURBO, YOU DIRTY RAT. Keeping the tradition alive.

    Of course the Chinese RAT2 is dope to and holds its own for sure but glad to know and personally appreciate the level of care and love that still goes into making these at any rate.
     
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  10. ItsaRat!

    ItsaRat! Member

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    Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but none of them are made in Kalamazoo anymore. I am no longer with the company, but they were making them in Missouri as of the time I left.
     
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  11. ItsaRat!

    ItsaRat! Member

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    That’d be cool, but unfortunately, we’ve lost a lot of the key players. One of the OG peeps who ran the snake department (and used to work for Systech) just passed away too. Much of the stuff I’ve passed along about ProCo culture has been from the many conversations I had with my co-workers at ProCo, many of whom had been there for over 20 years. It was a cool place. I would love it if someone would have a comprehensive and detailed conversation with Scott Burnham not just about the Rat (my understanding is he’s really, really bored talking about it), but about ProCo in general. They used to do a lot of cool stuff with console patchbays and that sort of thing. He has, I’m told, a nearly perfect memory and even remembers specific orders and designs. I found evidence of this when he gave me some info about the layout of my console from memory of having designed patchbays for them. Crazy stuff. He’s a brilliant guy. I’m sad I didn’t get to go hang with Unkle Steve and him before Steve passed away.
     
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  12. The-Kid

    The-Kid Member

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    I'm pretty sure they switched it up as the FATRAT is made in Michigan Kalamazoo now. They really didn't cut at corners with them and definitely live up to the name and pedigree.

    May be wrong but I just got this one last week.

    the Turbo and You Dirty are made in Missouri still for sure but the FATRAT is made in Kalamazoo Michigan bad says on box.

    Maybe production switched just for this model to really show that they just aren't making a Reissue. They are making as is like back then!

    Not that it's better as a result of it but as a Player I appreciate it and it's worth it's weight in gold to me in that sense. How many things that they made back then do they still make in the same towns. Maybe different facility but cool to know it's being made in the original town. If it is made in Missouri should be good either way as the other RATS have been made and are still being made there.

    @ItsaRat! Thanks for all the info on the subject.

    Really cool stuff

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  13. JukeBoxRat

    JukeBoxRat Supporting Member

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    I love this thread and Rats! Mine is a circa 2003 Turbo Rat with no tape inside. There are what appears to be initials written on the lower left of the pcb. Would those have taken the place of the tape at some point? Just curious.


     
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  14. ItsaRat!

    ItsaRat! Member

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  15. ItsaRat!

    ItsaRat! Member

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    Not meaning to be argumentative but considering I worked there for ten years, created the FatRat build documents, and that I was there during the factory shutdown, During which I bought a bunch of surplus equipment and components, I’d say I have a bit of insight. ;)

    That said, it’s possible that you did get a Kalamazoo one from a dealer who has had it long enough for that to be the case, or maybe they’re still using those labels (totally possible), but I assure you, there is no ProCo manufacturing in Kalamazoo. All of the US Rat manufacturing was moved to the Missouri factory. It wouldn’t be efficient for them to set up a separate Kalamazoo site for just the FatRat. Factory space is EXPENSIVE. I wouldn’t worry about that though, they weren’t cutting corners. The ProCo section of the Parsons building is now a lab from what I understand. As in chemistry. There are a handful of folks in Kalamazoo however they’re sales staff and AR staff. There are some factory employees who moved to Missouri though.
     
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  16. Gutch220

    Gutch220 Member

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    I have one that says "Larry 6-87" , built in 1987.

    Does anyone else have a "Larry"?

    Legend has it he would sneak in at night and build them, and when he was finished he would sprinkle a magic powder made of ground-up unicorn horns, and leprechaun bones.
     
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  17. jaymeister

    jaymeister Member

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    When I see the alias production names, it makes me think of the Netflix series “Money Heist”.
     
  18. Gutch220

    Gutch220 Member

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    I wish we had some kind of list of all the names throughout the years, just for fun.
     
  19. mk.ufo1988

    mk.ufo1988 Member

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    "WOOD-CUTTER"
    "Larry"
    "Larry's Cousin"
    "I Was Here"
    "C. Morebutts"
    "NOSE-PICKER" (I hope he washed his hands)
     
  20. Gutch220

    Gutch220 Member

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    don't forget
    Master of the Universe
    Steve
    The Duck
    Ivanka
    Donna
    Tamet
    The Dolph Man
    Grape
    Stephanie
    Vikkie
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020 at 11:55 PM

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