Friedman Amps

Dave Friedman is an amp-whisperer to the stars. Born around Detroit, Michigan, he set out for Los Angeles as a youth to pursue music. He found himself working at Andy Breuer Studio Rentals, one of the biggest gear resources for studio musicians on the scene, where he quickly developed a reputation as a tech.

About Friedman Amps

Dave got started building racks and rigs when he was 18 years old at Any Breuer Studio Rentals for some of the hottest session players of the era, such as Mike Landau, Dan Huff, Dean Parks, and Mike Lukather. Later, he moved on to Egnater amps, where he was mentored by Bruce Egnater. Highly motivated, it didn't take Dave long to graduate from mentee to partner, and he proved pivotal in the development of the Egnater four-channel tube rack IE-4 preamp.
After moving on from Egnater, Friedman began incorporating the IE-3 preamp into the 50 and 100 Watt Marshalls that he revered. Over the years, he had become a master of all things Marshall. It was the amp of choice among all his rock and roll heroes, but each year and model offered different tones and nuances. He cataloged all the desirable characteristics of his favorite examples and dreamed of making them all available in one amp, complete with modern reliability.
As he refined his vision, Dave Friedman came to be employed by the very artists who inspired him in the first place, including Jerry Cantrell, Steve Stevens, and Eddie Van Halen. He was tasked with modifying their amps to better accommodate their unique sonic vision in the contexts of the kinds of venues they were accustomed to performing in. For example, when Steve Stevens (Billy Idol’s guitarist/co-writer, top session player, and lead shredder on the “Top Gun” anthem) approached Friedman for advice, Dave politely informed him that he was known for a certain Plexi tone that was no longer as widely available. A stunned Stevens agreed, and they set about replicating the tone that had launched the guitarist to fame, with additional EQ flexibility for different venues.
After a few decades of catering to rock royalty, discerning, well-connected gear enthusiasts, and the various amp companies who hired him for consultations, Dave Friedman decided to start building a bonafide Friedman amp from the ground up. The components and part would be hand-selected and of the highest available quality. Furthermore, he would incorporate all the insight and wisdom that he’d gleaned from years of modifying the rigs of working professionals into his designs. 

The Friedman “BE 100 Deluxe”

The flagship model of Friedman amps, this 100-watt box of staggering power nails that quintessential “British” tone, while still very much being its beast. It’s certainly more self-aware than its predecessors offering incredible flexibility through a variety of tone-shaping features. To begin with, the master volume is designed so that you can achieve a perfect picture of the BE circuit’s character at lower volumes. Turn in up, and you’ll be treated to a host of subtle, interactive options that will allow you more control over the way the sound is hurled about the room. The power section of the BE100 Deluxe features three-position switches for frequency and response, a presence knob, and a thumb knob control.

This hand-wired amp boasts 100 watts through three separate channels, each with independent gain and master knobs. The BE and HBE channels bring that quintessential crunch that made Friedman legendary, and the clean channel derives its character from the Plexi circuit of the small box combo amp. The BE 100 Deluxe shines with virtually any kind of guitar and is highly responsive to pot movements and hand technique. With an app like this, you can take over the world. 

The Friedman “JJ Junior”

One of our new favorite amps from Friedman amplification is their compact, yet mighty JJ Junior. Based on the crushing 100-watt model that Dave built for Jerry Cantrell (the JJ brand refers to a ranch owned by Cantrell and his father), the JJ Jr is a more portable, versatile version for stage and studio use. This two-channel, 20 Watt, EL-84 beauty can conjure everything from thick, wicked crunch to shimmering cleans. It also takes pedals especially well, as Friedman took great care to ensure that the effects loop is exceptionally transparent. It even has a cab simulated XLR output for DI recording and front of house use. This amp leaves little, if anything, to be desired, and Friedman tried to keep the price low to make it available to working musicians. 

The Friedman “Buxom Betty”

This glorious, 50 watt amp offers an ideal range of tones using the simplest possible interface; a volume knob. At lower levels, you’ll find harmonically rich fender-esque cleans. Turn it up, and you’ll be delighted by that characteristic crunch from across the pond. This amp is like a British ex-pat whose cockney accent comes roaring back when he gets drunk! Powered by two EL34s, this also amp features sweet and subtle 12AX7 driven reverb. The perfect pedal platform, and the perfect stand-alone tonal pallet. It’s impossible not to be charmed by Buxom Betty.

The Friedman “Runt 20”

Given his background and preferences, it may come as no surprise that Dave Friedman would insist that the sound of a 100-watt amp is about much more than just volume. That much power under the hood lends a highly desirable tightness to the bass and midrange. To prove it, Dave managed to build these qualities into a 20-watt model by utilizing custom transformers and an exceptionally clean signal path. Underneath its modest countenance, this amp is all rippling muscle. The first channel is extremely versatile, offering everything in between shimmering clean and bluesy breakup. Channel number two delivers the blistering overdrive that heralded the arrival of Friedman amplification. This is truly one of the meanest 20-watt monsters you’ll ever hear. Runt, indeed.

The Dirty Shirley

It’s all in the name for the Dirty Shirley! This 40-watt head has a mean, vintage rock tone that packs a serious punch. It’s inspired by British tube amps from the ’60s and ’70s, and it’s capable of producing everything from cool, bluesy tones, to crunchy rock and even country music. The Dirty Shirley is a single channel, hand-wired tube amp with the signature high gain tone that comes with any Friedman amp all packed in a small, 9.5” x 24” x 8.5” form factor.

The Artist Signature Models

Friedman Amplification is certainly no stranger to player endorsements. After all, Dave Friedman got his start as an amp tech to the stars. Through extensive collaboration and hard, on-the-road testing, he has managed to influence and improve some of the most iconic tones in rock and roll. From legendary session players such as Steve Stevens, Phil X, and Jake E. Lee to trendsetters like Mastodon’s Bill Kelliher and Jerry Cantrell, Friedman helps guitarists soar, while still sounding like themselves. No other amp company can claim such a well-curated list of signature models.

Friedman Amps at Midwood Guitar Studio

We are honored to carry Friedman amps. As one of the nation’s premier boutique guitar shops, we strive to satisfy all kinds of players, and for those who love heavy music and massive tone, Friedman is currently making some of the best amps available. We strive to keep the most popular models in stock, but let us know if there’s anything specifically that you’d like to custom order. We’d also love to get in a Friedman guitar or two.