Dave Friedman… If you have never heard of him I highly suggest you Google his resume. Working with the who’s who of Rock n’ Roll, from Eddie Van Halen and Slash to Steve Stevens and Joe Perry. You name them; Dave has probably worked with them. Dave started life as a pedalboard and rack system guy who modded Marshall amps. Then that graduated to the Friedman amp line. Most notably the BE, and Dirty Shirley amps as well as a few others. Now the Friedman line has exploded with a line of pedals based around his signature sounds and amps. Today we are going to look at the Dirty Shirley and the Buxom Boost. Both based on his amps and both dramatically different from one another.
Let’s start with the Dirty Shirley. To understand the pedal, first we must understand the amp that is the pedal’s namesake. The Dirty Shirley is a 40-watt amp… very British. Dave would say, “A rock n roll JTM45 style circuit” with his signature tweaks. The Dirty Shirley is an extremely touch sensitive amp that can go from chimney clean to aggressive high gain tones. This is not a tight high gain machine. Think Led Zepplin, AC/DC etc. Plenty of gain on tap.
The pedal really captures the amp remarkably well. What I really liked about the Dirty Shirley is the full ample EQ, Bass, Mid and Treble, as well as a presence which gives this pedal amp like versatility. This is a master volume pedal, just like the amp, with a gain and volume. The feature that I enjoyed quite a bit was the tight switch on the side. Switching between multiple guitars I was able to tame the bass and lows with a flick of a switch. Ofcourse, I wanted to rock out all day with my Les Paul and blow out the neighbors… but I didn’t. I was able to get convincing tones at bedroom level as well. I also ran it through its paces with a Strat and Tele. The Dirty Shirley handled the single coils just as well. Originally I was looking for a higher gain pedal for my board and thinking the BE-OD would be the ticket. After spending time with the Dirty Shirley pedal, that scratched my Marshall itch. Running the pedal at 18v was huge. This pedal might just stay on my board.
Not all boosts are created equal. That statement has never been more true. If you have ever read my column before, you probably recall how I am a sucker for Boosts and low gain overdrives. I love how they can take your base tone and elevate it harmonically as well as be a straight clean boost while others ad color. The Buxom Boost does both. Lets take a step back and take a minute to talk about the amp. Like the Dirty Shirley and BE-OD, the Buxom Boost is based off of the Buxom Betty amp. It is a 50-watt EL34 based amp that brings the best of British and American amp stylings. The whole point of this amp was to be a great pedal platform, concentrating on the big clean tones. The Buxom Boost steps it up a notch. The EQ on this pedal is different from most. The Bass and Mid are boosts and the Treble is a cut. The EQ bypass control lets the boost be more transparent. Little to no color to your original tone. This pedal has plenty of headroom at 9v but at 18v it screams. The Buxom Boost is ultra-quiet, it doesn’t add a lot of gain to the signal. I always welcome that especially if there is a fussy pedal on my board. I don’t want to amplify the noise. Think of the Buxom Boost as a boost as well as an EQ. I really enjoyed playing this pedal, again Dave knocked it out of the park.
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