While some players out there might not be familiar with the work of Dave Friedman, they definitely know the many legendary tones he helped shape. After building, modding and customizing amps for some of rock's best-known guitarists (Eddie Van Hale, Jerry Cantrel, and Steve Stevens, just to name a few), Friedman decided to take that expertise and create his own line of gear. One such creation is Friedman 100BE, a Marshall inspired tube amp that truly stands up there among the best money can buy. Unfortunately, not all of us can afford to drop thousands of dollars for an amp head. So with that said, we're taking a look at a pedal designed to bring that tone in a much more affordable and portable package -- the Freidman BE-OD.

The Features

As mentioned above, the Friedman BE-OD was built to deliver the signature tone of the company's BE100 tube amplifier. And while that alone is no small feat, there have been several OD pedals that have managed to deliver on a similar promise of stuffing classic amp tones in a stompbox, so it can definitely be done. As for controls, you get a nice suite of five knobs -- Volume, Gain, Bass, Treble, Tight, and Presence, the similar to those found on its big brother. It also features an internal gain pot, perfect for customizing your sound.

The build of the Friedman BE-OD definitely shows all the hallmarks of a high-quality pedal. The diecast metal chassis feels like it could easily take a good beating and keep on ticking while the knobs themselves feel nice and sturdy. The paint job itself isn't bad either, continuing the company's sleek gold on black scheme.

And last but not least, the BE-OD features true bypass and can be powered through your standard 9 to 18-volt DC power brick. Unfortunately, battery power is not an option but as more and more players move towards dedicated multi-unit power adapters, it's quickly becoming the norm.

be-odFriedman BE-OD Effects Pedal @ $199.00

The BE-OD overdrive pedal captures the tone of the now legendary Friedman BE-100 amplifier which has graced the stages of world-class musicians the world over.
The BE-OD delivers authentic valve amplifier sounds from a compact pedal with the controls needed to shape your tone including volume, gain, tight, bass, treble and presence. These responsive knobs will take you from light, slightly broken up overdrives to straight up gain nirvana. Built in the USA and designed to withstands decades of abuse, the BE-OD is a must have pedals for any tone enthusiast


The Sound

Overall, the BE-OD is a breeze to work with after exploring how it reacts to each knob. Once you find the right amount of gain, giving the Tight control some fine-tuning will usually allow you to quickly find your desired tone. Obviously, Bass and Treble should be set to your preferred sweet spot. If you've played on a Freidman 100BE or a classic Marshall Plexi, you'll be in familiar territory.

Make no mistake, this baby can really growl when pushed. And while high gain and plenty of attitude is definitely a hallmark of the BE-OD, there's much more when it comes to this pedal. At low settings, it delivers a warm sheen of overdrive, perfect for smooth bluesy rock. Better still, this low setting also brings out some impressive touch dynamics as the pedal really brings out the little touches and nuances of your playing. Bringing things a bit higher, you get a nice amount of grit and character perfect for anything from punk to classic rock. Pushing things a bit higher, you get into more modern hard rock territory. And despite the huge swaths of gain, the pedal is still able to maintain plenty of articulation and smooth breakup.

At it's maximum, it's definitely a bit much. And by that, I mean a bit much even for the heaviest of metal. Regardless, there is still plenty of versatility and amazing tones packed into the BE-OD even if you stay away from its max gain setting.

Final Thoughts ...

All in all, this tiny OD delivers on its big promises and then some. Featuring superb amp-like qualities and plenty of sonic versatility, the Friedman BE-OD is the perfect overdrive pedal for fans of British-style high gain amps. Sure, it might be a little too aggressive at its maxed settings but there are plenty of high-quality tones available that you won't really won't mind keeping things below the 70% mark. For a high-quality stompbox that truly delivers the "amp-in-a-box" experience, look no further than the Friedman BE-OD.