Depending on your level of guitar gear obsession, you may be very familiar with Dave Friedman and his creations. With both original builds and modifications, his amplifier company has made an impact on the world of rock.

Friedman amps contributed to the distinct guitar sounds of Eddie Van Halen and Billy Idol’s Steve Stevens.

Perhaps his finest creation is the BE100 Brown Eye, which brings together all the things people love about classic Marshalls. Bands like Foo Fighters, Bon Jovi, and Alice in Chains play through BE100s.

However, far from everyone can afford such luxurious gear. With the Friedman BE-OD pedal, they try to provide the same sound in a compact guitar pedal. How well did that go? Keep reading this Friedman Brown Eye overdrive review to find out.

Friedman Brown Eye Overdrive Sound

When I first heard it, I almost couldn’t believe my ears. Amp overdrive pedals that actually sound like the amplifiers they mimic are rare, but the Friedman BE-OD is a shining example. While it’s officially an emulation of the amp head by the same name, it may also be the most convincing Marshall-in-a-box pedal on the market.

The Friedman Brown Eye Overdrive pedal packs a massive punch. Around the 9 o’ clock position, you already get thick and crunchy tones. Beyond the center, you get extreme distortion. Thankfully, you can turn down the gain range with an internal trim pot if you want more mellow distortion for classic rock or blues.

Despite being a high-gain pedal, it retains a tight low end and doesn’t hiss or hum much, as long as you use humbucking pickups. And it stays responsive and fairly dynamic even with heavy distortion.

Instead of a single tone knob, you get four parameters to play with. With this much creative control, you can get virtually any rock or metal sound you want. While the main selling point is that British amp stack drive, you can also get sounds reminiscent of Tube Screamers and OCD pedals.

Playing the Friedman Brown Eye Overdrive pedal is almost like having an extra amplifier channel. A loud, Marshall-esque one that can go from sweet to sadistic or anywhere between.

One famous endorser is The Haunted’s guitarist Ola Englund, the man behind Solar Guitars. Tosin Abasi of Animals as Leaders also uses a Friedman BE-OD. That should tell you how powerful this overdrive is.

Friedman BE-OD Features

Six dials greet you up top. Bass and Treble are regular shelving filters for tonal balance. Presence lets you boost or cut the treble further.

The mysterious Tight knob lets you rein in the bass end to avoid flabby chords. It also helps you get those tight dropped metal chugs, especially on 8-stringers.

In other words, you have four EQ bands to play with. That’s pretty rare for guitar pedals, and it means the Friedman BE-OD pedal doubles as an equalizer pedal.

You adjust the distortion amount with the Gain knob, and the Volume knob sets the output level. If you open the casing, you get access to the trim pot that sets the maximum gain, letting you dial it back for bluesy goodness or crank it into metal madness.

You can feed the Friedman Brown Eye Overdrive pedal 9 or 18 volts. Going for 18 gives you slightly better dynamics and clarity. Please note that it doesn’t take batteries.

Last but not least, the build quality is reliable. The USA-made Friedman Brown Eye Overdrive pedal is sturdy and stylish and consists of premium-grade components.

Without a doubt, the BE-OD deserves a spot among the very best overdrive pedals.

Technical specs

  • Size: 2.5 x 4.75 x 2.225
  • Weight: 10 ounces
  • Controls: Gain, Volume, Bass, Treble, Presence, Tight (low cut)
  • Bypass: True bypass
  • Powering options: 9 or 18-volt DC adapter (not included)

Friedman BE-OD – The Best Amp in a Box Pedal for You?

If you need an authentic-sounding tube overdrive, a Friedman BE-OD is an excellent choice. Factor in the sheer power and the extensive sound-shaping capabilities, and it’s easy to see why this is one of the most impressive distortion pedals around. If you want that hot amplifier sound but lack the space or funds for a powerful tube amp, this is your solution.

That’s the verdict of my Friedman Brown Eye Overdrive review. Thanks for reading.