This has been a long time coming for some - with just the merest of glimpses at Winter NAMM - where I feel the few boxes we saw there were surely empty shells - as I never witnessed any actual play-through. Considering how much of a perfectionist Dave Friedman is it’s all understandable really as we know he would not release anything he’s not 100% happy with.
So it’s taken the best part of the year to tweak and tune this one to perfection. In terms of where it sits - it’s kind of between the BE-OD and Dirty Shirley - while overlapping very significant parts of those too, but not going quite as dark and dense as the BE-OD at full throttle.
For many this is the perfect Goldilocks pedal within the Friedman spectrum - fulfilling the same sort of role as the versatile Smallbox Amp - covering Plexi through to JCM800. I’ve noted it’s kind of more open-pored than the BE-OD in particular - and doesn’t sound exactly like the Dirty Shirley either but really successfully inhabits both territories.
Controls are slightly different to the BE-OD and Dirty Shirley - while the overall format and topology remains very similar. We have knobs for Bass, Treble, Presence, Volume, Mid, and Gain, with a Structure toggle-switch (Gain Headroom) on the side - which controls the degree and onset of distortion. So you set it up or down depending if you want to go harder or softer in effect.
I’ve been looking forward to this pedal for a while - it’s definitely high on my wishlist, but it arrives a little late in the year for me. November’s budget has already been spent, and I have just one big ticket item remaining for the year - the Coppersound Triplegraph - just waiting for that to come back into stock. Otherwise things will need to be carried into 2021.
It seems the Friedman Smallbox Pedal will launch tomorrow at the usual price of $199 - and will start filtering into dealers in early December as far as I understand.
I’m a huge fan of the the Friedman gain pedals - and already have the BE-OD and Dirty Shirley - I will most likely add the Smallbox early next year, and I expect it to be my favourite of the 3!
Not so much in the way of demos as I write this up - in fact so far only come across one (as below). Will add more as and when they become available.