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Overview

The R3 is a modded RAT. 6 Degrees Music makes no bones about this. They offer yet another although the R3 does have some rather attractive extras like the G.A.S. switch which lets you choose between 3 clipping modes: (G)ermanium, (A)symmetrical and (S)ilicon. This is a big plus as all three modes offer very distinct distortion qualities, which become more apparent when the Gain is backed off to about medium range.

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Product Specs

Brand
Model
  • R3 Distortion
Finish
  • Silver/Black
Year
  • 2010s
Categories

From the Price Guide

More Information

Vancouver’s 6 Degrees Music is quietly making some waves out there in small-manufacturer (some call it “boutique”) pedal world. A while ago I had the good fortune to demonstrate and closely scrutinize their “Sally Drive”, the company’s take on the classic Tube Screamer circuit. When I opened that pedal to inspect the build quality my jaw hit the floor, such was the incredibly artistic, solid and generally beautiful internal point-to-point construction. How could a pedal that looked this good sound on par? Well, I’m pleased to say that it does and I certainly haven’t bothered sending it back to Canada from whence it came, nor will I be anytime soon! Several months later their R3 Distortion has surfaced. Again packaged with love, certificates of authenticity, individual serial number and a pedal that kicks serious butt. The R3 is a modded RAT. 6 Degrees Music makes no bones about this. The RAT Distortion (for those who aren’t aware) harks back to the mid 70’s and has appeared in nearly a dozen different official guises. It’s anyone’s guess how many clones are out there. Thousands I would think. 6 Degrees offer yet another although the R3 does have some rather attractive extras like the G.A.S. switch which lets you choose between 3 clipping modes: (G)ermanium, (A)symmetrical and (S)ilicon. This is a big plus as all three modes offer very distinct distortion qualities, which become more apparent when the Gain is backed off to about medium range. Germanium mode, for instance, yields luscious mid accentuation that can be turned into a two-mode mode by simply rolling off your guitar’s volume knob to about half way where it cleans up very well. Roll up the volume and you’re straight back on the glam rock circuit. The Silicon mode is faster, fatter, more compressed and maybe a good choice for shredders and players of heavier types of music. Asymmetrical clipping is, “louder, clearer, fatter than the other two.” This is the mode to switch to if you’re looking for amp-like tones. All of the modes have their charms and deciding which mode to go with is part of the fun. I fired up the R3 with a Fender Total Tone Strat and a Gibson VOS ’61 SG Reissue. Both guitars were fed to a Laney VH-100R’s clean channel, which is VERY clean and is quite partial to a stiff hiding from dirt pedals. My Strat is pretty bright but the R3 tames that brightness back to a mids-enriched rock tone that had me wailing away most of the afternoon. Unlike a real Rat, the R3’s Tone control is not of the ‘filter’ type; rather it is more of the standard variety but, thankfully, very subtle and useful all the way through to maxed-out. I found its 3:00-4:00 PM position to be the Goldilocks spot with the Strat. This position gave me clarity but not spikiness, and rich mids with a tight bottom end. Perfect. The same settings were also great for the SG but because the R3 has more gain than normal, and the SG’s humbuckers are naturally hotter than the Strat’s vintage single coils, some restraint where the R3’s Gain control is concerned is called for so as not to over compress and keep some dynamics and definition. This is where the importance of the R3’s mode selection comes into play. For instance, the Asymmetrical position might be a better choice with humbuckers because it’s a little more dynamic and open than the other two. Also, it should be mentioned that the R3 will operate with 9-18V DC. The more you give it the louder and more dynamic it becomes. The R3 is a truly great distortion pedal without mentioning any of its other attractions. It would be a no-brainer to put on my own pedal board and I say that in all honesty. But the R3 does offer something else that’s pretty darned special: the build. I defy anyone to take a peek inside and not be astounded at the PTP work and artistry that has gone into this and, apparently, each and every pedal that comes from the 6 Degrees Music workshop. In fact, I would say that its modest price is worth the art value alone, before you even fire the pedal up and discover that it’s a truly functional tool of rock. And if that’s not enough, for an extra 25$ you can opt for the ‘bottom glow’ function as per the accompanying photos. What’s not to love? What we like: It sounds like caramel chocolate tastes, looks like a street car, is built like a tank and has an extraordinary inner build worthy of long dinner party conversations. Concerns: It’s a tall pedal (like the Tim, for instance) and that may not appeal to everyone. However, for the record, this writer is not fussed.