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Friedman BE-OD Overdrive Pedal Review: A Guitarists View

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Getting the right tone out of our guitars is a journey of trial and error, but stumbling upon the Friedman Amplification BE-OD Overdrive Pedal feels like a significant victory.

Crafted in America, this little black box promises the legendary sounds of the Friedman BE-100 amp in a neat, pedalboard-friendly form factor.

Testing it thoroughly, we found that the BE-OD does more than just imitate the rich overdrive it’s known for; it brings a level of control that allows us to dial in anything from a gentle growl to a full-on roar.

The knobs for volume, gain, bass, treble, presence, and a particularly useful ‘tight’ control allow subtle fine-tuning that can suit any playing style.

While it’s built like a tank, ready for the inevitable abuse of life on the road, its sound is where the BE-OD really shines.

It maintains the nuances of our playing, keeping every string articulate even when drenched in gain. All of this without ever becoming muddy—something that’s often a concern with high-gain tones.

Bottom Line

For anyone chasing the British overdrive dream, the Friedman BE-OD is a strong contender. It’s a versatile pedal that offers a wide spectrum of overdrive tones, from subtle to seismic, and does so in a way that’s both intuitive and rewarding.

Ready to upgrade your drive? Take a closer look and consider adding the Friedman BE-OD to your rig.

Overview of the Friedman Amplification BE-OD Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal

When we’re on the hunt for that perfect overdrive to satisfy our metal urges, it’s a breath of fresh air to come across a pedal that seems to offer that sought-after British amp growl.

Packing a serious punch, this little black box lets us fine-tune our sound with an array of controls at our fingertips.

Whether we’re dialling in a crisp edge or going full throttle for a high-gain soundscape, the BE-OD delivers with remarkable ease.

During a recent jam session, we cranked the gain and were greeted with a surprisingly tight distortion that cut through the mix without turning muddy – a common pitfall with lesser overdrive pedals.

The true bypass means our signal stays clean when the pedal is off, and the compact size means it fits snugly on our crowded pedalboards.

Yet, it’s not just about the heavy riffs; the BE-OD also shines when we roll back the gain for those moments where a little subtlety goes a long way.

We’ve even tested its endurance; this pedal seems like it can take a beating and keeps ticking, courtesy of its solid build quality.

If there’s any downside to mention, it’s that the pedal demands a power source as there’s no option for battery operation, but that’s a small quibble considering the sonic firepower on offer.

For all us metal players looking for that definitive overdrive tone, this pedal could very well end our search.

Authentic British Overdrive Tones

In our quest for the elusive rich British overdrive, we stumbled upon the BE-OD pedal which promises to encapsulate the essence of a high-gain Friedman BE-100 amp.

Let me tell you, it certainly does not disappoint.

We found that this little black box adds a satisfying grit and robust warmth to our metal riffs, reminiscent of a cranked Marshall stack.

What’s impressive is the BE-OD’s ability to go from a subtle growl to a full-blown roar, giving us the versatility we crave when playing heavier genres.

The tight control is a boon, tightening up the low end in a way that’s essential for articulate, palm-muted chugging.

Although the pedal is pretty resilient, some might find the absence of battery operation a bit limiting.

However, once we powered it up through the adapter, the pedal’s performance was nothing short of transformative, making our solid-state amps sing with a newfound valiance.

While dialling in our ideal tone, the BE-OD’s presence knob provided that extra bit of edge, ensuring our leads cut through even the densest of mixes.

The true bypass ensures our tone remains unpolluted when the pedal is not engaged.

For those of us honing our metal sound, the BE-OD is quite the tool in achieving that revered British overdrive without carting around a full amp stack.

Versatile Control Knobs

When we got our hands on the Friedman BE-OD pedal, the first thing we noticed was just how responsive and adaptable the control knobs are.

With settings for Volume, Gain, Tight, Bass, Treble, and Presence, shaping metal tones becomes intuitive.

Whether we’re dialling in a tight, cutting edge for aggressive riffing or easing back on the gain for a fat, warm push during a solo, the knobs offer a wide range of sound.

Each turn feels significant yet smooth, allowing for precise adjustments that can be subtle or dramatic, depending on what we’re aiming for.

One thing we have to mention is the absence of a muddled sound; it’s all crisp definition, no matter how we tweak the Bass or the Presence.

The true bypass switching is the closing act in retaining that pure signal we metal players yearn for when we’re stomping on and off during energetic stage performances.

Balancing the ideal sound takes a few tries, but the effort is well worth it when the distortion hits just right.

The absence of a battery option might throw some, yet powering it between 9-18VDC gives us that stable operation crucial for live gigs or recording sessions.

In a nutshell, these knobs are about giving us command over our sound—exactly what we need to make those power chords roar and leads scream.

True Bypass Switching

When we stomp on our Friedman BE-OD, the magic isn’t just in the authentic tube amp tones it delivers; it’s also in the true bypass switching technology.

For us metal guitar enthusiasts, preserving the integrity of our signal chain is paramount, especially when dealing with high-gain setups.

True bypass means that when the BE-OD is disengaged, our signal passes directly through the pedal without any interference.

There’s no tone coloration or signal loss here, ensuring that our metal riffs maintain their intended ferocity and clarity.

In situations where you’ve got a complex pedalboard setup, it’s especially beneficial.

However, it’s worth noting that, on occasion, true bypass can contribute to that infamous ‘pop’ noise when the pedal is activated.

But in our experience, this small trade-off is nothing compared to the tonal transparency and unaltered path for our shredding sessions.

Power Requirements

When we plug in our pedals for a jam session, we don’t want to fuss over complicated power setups, right?

Well, the Friedman BE-OD pedal keeps it refreshingly simple.

You’ll need to feed it 18 volts, which provides it ample headroom for that rich, overdriven sound without any unwanted noise.

What’s great is that it’s battery-powered, using a standard alkaline type. Convenient for those gigs where you can’t be tethered to a power outlet.

But remember, since it’s an analog pedal, constant usage can mean frequent battery changes.

A little heads-up: it doesn’t come with a power adapter, so if you’re not a fan of burning through batteries, you might want to invest in one.

Sturdy and Compact Design

When we first got our hands on the BE-OD pedal, its robust construction was immediately apparent.

This isn’t just another fragile piece of gear that you’ll be afraid to take on the road.

It’s reassuring to feel the weight of the pedal under your foot; it’s evidently built to last, just like any respectable equipment should be.

Despite its resilience, the pedal’s compact size means it fits snugly on even the most crowded pedalboards.

It’s a relief not having to rearrange your entire setup to make room for it.

The brushed metal finish isn’t just for looks—it handles the scrapes and bumps of regular use like a champ.

Our experience points to a pedal that isn’t going to give up the ghost anytime soon.

Discussing it among ourselves, we were all impressed by how the BE-OD has married durability with a low footprint—it truly feels like the best of both worlds.

Pros and Cons


When we got our hands on the Friedman BE-OD Overdrive pedal, we were eager to see if it lived up to the hype.

Well, fellow metal enthusiasts, the authentic British overdrive tones it delivers are nothing short of impressive.

It’s not just about the raw power; the sound sculpting flexibility with the volume, gain, tight, bass, treble, and presence controls allowed us to dial in an aggressive yet articulate tone that suits metal to a T.

The true bypass switching is another feature we appreciate, ensuring that when the pedal is off, it’s truly off, maintaining the integrity of our guitar’s signal through the rest of the chain.

Being able to power it between 9-18VDC gives us flexibility, especially when we want to push the pedal a bit harder for more headroom.

Plus, the fact that it’s assembled in the USA speaks volumes about its quality.


However, the pedal is not without its drawbacks.

First, the lack of a battery option limits its use to locations where power is readily available, which might be an inconvenience for some.

Also, its potent gain range can be overwhelming for newcomers who aren’t accustomed to such a powerful drive – it’s definitely not a ‘plug-and-play’ pedal and requires some tweaking to find the sweet spot.

Additionally, due to its highly specialized tone, this pedal might not be the most versatile option for players wanting a more generalized overdrive sound.

It’s geared towards those of us looking for that specific high-gain, metal-friendly voicing, which might not be suitable for all styles of music.

Customer Reviews

We’ve seen a flurry of opinions on the Friedman BE-OD pedal and it’s clear that it strikes a chord with tone enthusiasts.

Users emphasize how challenging it can be to find that perfect distortion—something that feels like an endless quest for some.

There’s real appreciation for the distinctive quality that sets this pedal apart from its peers, suggesting that it offers something refreshingly unique in a market saturated with options.

Many reviews resonate with our experience that it packs that sought-after amp-like overdrive in a compact pedal form, embodying Friedman’s signature sound.

Despite being pedal aficionados with a diverse collection ranging from vintage favorites to modern classics, we found the BE-OD offers a standout performance that can make a solid-state amp sing as if it were a beloved tube amp.

This pedal attracts guitarists who not only desire premium overdrive tones but also require versatile sound-shaping capabilities.

It’s noteworthy, though, that in the pursuit of the perfect ‘Brown Sound,’ some players might find it either hits the mark precisely or falls into the subjective territory of personal preference.

But overall, the consensus from customer feedback and our hands-on experience is overwhelmingly positive, solidifying the BE-OD’s reputation in the pedal community.


After spending some quality time with the Friedman BE-OD pedal, we’ve come to appreciate its unique place in the pantheon of overdrive pedals.

Its ability to produce that sought-after Friedman amp-like tone in a stomp box format is nothing short of impressive. The nuance in tonal variation it offers makes it a standout choice for those in pursuit of the perfect distortion.

While it’s true that this piece of gear sits at the higher end of the market, the consensus among us is clear: the investment is justified.

The BE-OD doesn’t sound like your run-of-the-mill overdrive pedal; it carves out its own niche with characteristics that can elevate your playing experience.

It’s a class act for those striving to achieve a professional-sounding overdrive without the bulk of an amp.

Some of us have tried other pedals but keep coming back to the BE-OD for its rich harmonics and versatile gain range.

Whether you have a tube amp or, like some of us, rely on a solid-state for lower volume practice, this pedal has the ability to add that missing warmth and definition.

Sure, we all have different tastes in tone, but the BE-OD has proven to be a valuable asset in our sonic arsenals.

Frequently Asked Questions

When we first got our hands on the Friedman BE-OD, we were eager to push it to its limits and compare it with other legendary high-gain drives. Here, we touch on some of the burning questions you might have if you’re also exploring this beast of a pedal.

How does the Friedman BE-OD pedal compare to other high gain overdrive pedals?

We’ve stacked the BE-OD up against various other high-gain overdrive pedals, and the consensus is clear—it holds its own with its unique British-voiced overdrive.

The sheer versatility it offers, from light crunch to saturated gain, positions it as a flagship in a diverse and crowded market. The real kicker is its ability to nail that coveted tube amp sound in a stompbox format, sometimes outshining pricier boutique options.

Can the Friedman BE-OD overdrive pedal be used as a preamp?

Indeed, the BE-OD can function as a preamp when recording directly to an audio interface or PA system.

The pedal’s gain range and EQ controls mimic the characteristics of traditional amp preamps, making it a handy tool in both live and studio settings.

What are the tonal differences when using the Friedman BE-OD pedal at 18V compared to the standard 9V?

Running the BE-OD at 18V, as opposed to the standard 9V, reveals some noticeable changes.

The pedal exhibits a more open and less compressed sound, giving us a bit more headroom and dynamic response. It’s like freeing the pedal to take deeper breaths, resulting in smoother transitions from clean to crunch.

Is the Friedman BE-OD Deluxe version a significant upgrade over the standard BE-OD pedal?

For those looking for more control and versatility, the BE-OD Deluxe version offers dual channels, each with independent volume and gain controls.

This upgrade is worth considering for players who need to switch between overdrive flavors mid-performance without losing the BE-OD’s signature sound.

How does the Friedman BE-OD pedal respond to different guitar pickups and playing dynamics?

From our tests, the BE-OD displays a splendid sensitivity to different pickups. Humbuckers bring out its thick, sustaining qualities, while single-coils maintain clarity even with high gain settings.

When it comes to playing dynamics, this pedal mirrors your touch—dig in for more bite or pull back for a cleaner tone.

We’ve loved every minute of riffing through the BE-OD, and we’re confident it’s a worthy contender for any pedalboard. It truly shines in delivering that hard-hitting overdrive for rock and metal aficionados.



Hi I'm Tom. I've been playing guitar since I left university nearly 10 years ago now. As a self-taught guitarist, I used the internet for research on pedals, guitars and everything to do with guitar - here I noticed that there was a real gap in information for metal guitarists. I hope to change that!