Switching to the second position, with both
the bridge and first mini-humbucker activated,
the Rat Bastard sounded like one of the fattest Strat-style guitars you’ll likely hear. Things
changed up a bit with just the mid-position
pickup on. While it didn’t exactly sound like
a Strat’s mid pickup, it didn’t sound like a
bridge-position humbucker, either—but it did
exhibit a nice woody texture and was very
usable. By itself the neck position mini-humbucker is fat but clear with a nice, jazzy tone,
only with more definition than a standard
full-sized humbucker. Running both the bridge
and neck together produced a very good
Thinline Tele tone, but with more resonance
than your off-the-shelf variety.
The Final Mojo
This guitar could have easily been a nonstarter. Let’s face it, a semi-hollow, alder-body
guitar that sports a bolt-on neck, a dual set of
mini-humbuckers, a stainless steel nut, Sprezel
locking tuners and Graph Tech saddles could
have been, in the hands of a less-skilled luthier, a misadventure. Roger Fritz pulled it off.
The Rat Bastard is an extremely playable
guitar that allows you to relax and enjoy the
ride. Sure, it can get raunchy, especially when
played through my quick-tempered Mesa
Boogie, but even with a cleaner amp, the
guitar performs admirably. The Rat Bastard
is smart, functional, and elegant—if there’s a
fault to be found, I can’t find it.
“The Rockbox Boiling Point is a fabulous
overdrive/boost pedal, very flexible and
adaptable in many situations...it almost
doesn’t matter what amp you’re using: set
the amp at a clean, neutral setting and the
Boiling Point provides rich, juicy tone that
cleans up when you turn down in a way
that the best amps do.”
–Elliot Easton - The Cars
you want a guitar that can go from
uptown semi-hollowbody sounds to
countrified twang with a flick of a switch.
your idea set up includes a single
volume knob and a trem system.
It was time to get dirty, so I plugged into my
Mesa Reverb Rocket. Even while being subjected to high levels of distortion, the bridge
pickup maintained its Tele-like bark without
becoming shrill or unpleasant, and the individual mini-humbuckers remained distinct
and produced a very Mick Ronson-like snarl.
To be fair, the in-between settings did lose
some of their Strat flavor, but I’ve had problems even with Strats maintaining that sound
whenever they were pummeled by the Mesa
Boogie. Roger points out that not every one
digs mini-humbuckers so other pickup configurations are available on request.
Head online to share your
comments and ratings at
Fritz Brothers Guitars
MSRP $3600 (as tested)