Talk me out of a Friedman Brown Eye...

LPMojoGL

Music Room Superstar
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,179
Friedman amps are great. I've owned 4, played a couple of others.
The Smallbox was the most verastile to me. I could get clean to blues to hard rock out of it.
The BE and JJ I only got clean and hard rock, didn't feel they did bluesy or classic rock stuff too much. I love the BE mode on the JJ. Love it!
The Pink Taco was a mean lil beast, not so great at lower volumes like the other amps. Does the BE thing louder than house volumes for 1/2 price. Cool amp.

Cheaper options include:
The DSL40c, 50 or 100 are great options for a versatile Marshall on the cheap. All the features of the Smallbox, but at a much cheaper price. Sound and build quality don't compare to Friedman. JVM is a step up in versatility, and some would argue sound.
The Fargen Olde 800 MkII is one of my favorite Marshally amps, covering all the Marshall sounds quite well. It can do plexi-ish sounds to hot-rodded Marshall sounds for half the price of a used BE. Great master volume and effects loop. Highly recommended.
Rockitt Retro is putting out a great plexi clone for $1200, with master volume and effects loop upgrades optional. He does good work and the price is the best out there for what you get.
Marshall 2204/2203s can be found for $1000+ in good condition, take pedals well, respond well to guitar volume, and are fun to play. They need some volume to sound good, imo.
Naylor Superdrives pop up every once in a while, and have a great, unique hot-rodded Marshall sound, fantastic feel, superb master volume and effects loop. You can usually grab them for $1600-1800.
MF frequently offer up 15% discounts. They don't apply to Friedman amps, but they do apply to Bogners. A Bogner Helios 50 is in stock, and is cheaper than used prices at 15% off. Bogner Shiva, Goldfinger and XTCs are all sort of Marshally, and are going for cheaper prices these days than they were a couple of years ago.
And last, it's not a Marshall, but it sounds darn Marshally to me. I picked up a 69 Fender Bassman, after playing through my buddy's 68. That is 50 watts of glorious, stout, punchy overdrive if you can crank it. Like the Rockitt, turn it up, hit it with a pedal and you're good to go.

Hope that helps.
 

John 14:6

Member
Messages
3,596
Friedman amps are great. I've owned 4, played a couple of others.
The Smallbox was the most verastile to me. I could get clean to blues to hard rock out of it.
The BE and JJ I only got clean and hard rock, didn't feel they did bluesy or classic rock stuff too much. I love the BE mode on the JJ. Love it!
The Pink Taco was a mean lil beast, not so great at lower volumes like the other amps. Does the BE thing louder than house volumes for 1/2 price. Cool amp.

Cheaper options include:
The DSL40c, 50 or 100 are great options for a versatile Marshall on the cheap. All the features of the Smallbox, but at a much cheaper price. Sound and build quality don't compare to Friedman. JVM is a step up in versatility, and some would argue sound.
The Fargen Olde 800 MkII is one of my favorite Marshally amps, covering all the Marshall sounds quite well. It can do plexi-ish sounds to hot-rodded Marshall sounds for half the price of a used BE. Great master volume and effects loop. Highly recommended.
Rockitt Retro is putting out a great plexi clone for $1200, with master volume and effects loop upgrades optional. He does good work and the price is the best out there for what you get.
Marshall 2204/2203s can be found for $1000+ in good condition, take pedals well, respond well to guitar volume, and are fun to play. They need some volume to sound good, imo.
Naylor Superdrives pop up every once in a while, and have a great, unique hot-rodded Marshall sound, fantastic feel, superb master volume and effects loop. You can usually grab them for $1600-1800.
MF frequently offer up 15% discounts. They don't apply to Friedman amps, but they do apply to Bogners. A Bogner Helios 50 is in stock, and is cheaper than used prices at 15% off. Bogner Shiva, Goldfinger and XTCs are all sort of Marshally, and are going for cheaper prices these days than they were a couple of years ago.
And last, it's not a Marshall, but it sounds darn Marshally to me. I picked up a 69 Fender Bassman, after playing through my buddy's 68. That is 50 watts of glorious, stout, punchy overdrive if you can crank it. Like the Rockitt, turn it up, hit it with a pedal and you're good to go.

Hope that helps.
Splawn is another builder making nicely priced Marshall flavored amps. Sweetwater is currently selling Marshall DSL 40 CST's which come stock with a speaker upgrade (Celestion Creamback 65) for the same $699 price as the stock DSL 40C. I bought one recently and stuck some NOS RFT 12ax7's in the preamp and the thing sounds great. Between my DSL 40C and my Friedman Smallbox 50, I am pretty well covered for Marshall sounding amps. I prefer the DSL in the half power 20 watt mode. Much Browner sounding to my ears.
 

LPMojoGL

Music Room Superstar
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,179
Splawn is another builder making nicely priced Marshall flavored amps. Sweetwater is currently selling Marshall DSL 40 CST's which come stock with a speaker upgrade (Celestion Creamback 65) for the same $699 price as the stock DSL 40C. I bought one recently and stuck some NOS RFT 12ax7's in the preamp and the thing sounds great. Between my DSL 40C and my Friedman Smallbox 50, I am pretty well covered for Marshall sounding amps. I prefer the DSL in the half power 20 watt mode. Much Browner sounding to my ears.
I once had the DSL40c and Smallbox at the same time, too!
I could actually dial them in pretty close. I always thought of the Smallbox as an upgraded, handwired DSL50.
 

Stevo57

Member
Messages
3,571
Don't do it! Buy Braciola's 100 watt Mod Machine and your done. I have a 50 watt and it's a lot of Marshalls all in one with no excuses or compromise. No affiliation with the seller.
 

ReddyKilowatt

Member
Messages
147
I just got my BE100 a few days ago and I highly recommend it...The tone can be had at even where I am using it which is below one on the master volume for quiet practice...This thing screams with tone...
 

jdel77

Member
Messages
10,074
The Friedman is great.
However, as good as it is, it is too refined and polite for me.
Nothing gets close to a late 70's JMP MKII or an early 80's JCM800. Those things drip raw aggressive tone.
The only exception I've found is the Fargen Olde800.
Ben nailed the open bark of the early 800's with the Dagnall/Drake tranny and choke combination.
With a boost pedal, my '79 JMP MKII can everything from funk to classic rock to modern metal.
 

nolenuttt

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,333
A second to the Fargen Olde 800-I've got the 25 watt version, and it's amazing at what it can do-JTM 45, Plexi, and JCM 800 in a box, that's usable for gigs, and by hitting it with your OD of choice, I can't imagine needing more gain-I'm using a super Crunch Box...
 

John 14:6

Member
Messages
3,596
A second to the Fargen Olde 800-I've got the 25 watt version, and it's amazing at what it can do-JTM 45, Plexi, and JCM 800 in a box, that's usable for gigs, and by hitting it with your OD of choice, I can't imagine needing more gain-I'm using a super Crunch Box...
Fargens are usually dirt cheap used. I see them sell on Ebay for $1200 to $1400 quite often. I considered one before buying my Friedman Smallbox 50. I could not be any happier with the Friedman, but the Fargen Olde 800 MK2 clips I hear sound great.
 

buddastrat

Member
Messages
14,689
The Friedman is great.
However, as good as it is, it is too refined and polite for me.
Nothing gets close to a late 70's JMP MKII or an early 80's JCM800. Those things drip raw aggressive tone.
The only exception I've found is the Fargen Olde800.
Ben nailed the open bark of the early 800's with the Dagnall/Drake tranny and choke combination.
With a boost pedal, my '79 JMP MKII can everything from funk to classic rock to modern metal.

You know, the Fargen is another one that I've never tried in person. Only clips, and they sound incredible. Like the best of the 800/JMPs. I think I would love one. I was amp shopping earlier this year, and it came down to those and Naylor amps. They were like that, every clip I was checking out sounded really good and could tell a consistency in tone and response in these clips no matter if they were recorded well, or if they were recorded with their phones. Both these amps have excited me for years just from clips, no matter who was playing.

I went with a Naylor but could've easily went Fargen. Still might if one comes across my path! I wonder if they sound better than a JCM 800 at lower volumes. Even the best ones were not great at low volumes.
 

Gallery

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,063
Friedman amps are great. I've owned 4, played a couple of others.
The Smallbox was the most verastile to me. I could get clean to blues to hard rock out of it.
The BE and JJ I only got clean and hard rock, didn't feel they did bluesy or classic rock stuff too much. I love the BE mode on the JJ. Love it!
The Pink Taco was a mean lil beast, not so great at lower volumes like the other amps. Does the BE thing louder than house volumes for 1/2 price. Cool amp.
Listen to this man, he knows his ****.

25 years playing guitar... The JJ100 is the best amp I've ever played or heard for my taste in everything from hard rock to hardcore metal. As Bobby mentioned it doesn't do the Bluesy thing well. The BE isn't quite as angry as the JJ and will cover classic rock to Metal.

The loop, master volume, EQ, line out, clean channel, everything is top notch quality and function better than any other amp I've owned. It cost me my left nut and hand job, but it was worth every dirty second.
 

Gallery

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,063
You know, the Fargen is another one that I've never tried in person. Only clips, and they sound incredible. Like the best of the 800/JMPs. I think I would love one. I was amp shopping earlier this year, and it came down to those and Naylor amps. They were like that, every clip I was checking out sounded really good and could tell a consistency in tone and response in these clips no matter if they were recorded well, or if they were recorded with their phones. Both these amps have excited me for years just from clips, no matter who was playing.

I went with a Naylor but could've easily went Fargen. Still might if one comes across my path! I wonder if they sound better than a JCM 800 at lower volumes. Even the best ones were not great at low volumes.

I had a Fargen and a I have a 2204. The Fargen was close, but not exact. It was not quite as crunchy, but had a much better EQ and did the low volume thing a thousand times better. Overall I felt it was a better sounding and playing amp than the 2204, but I kept the 2204 for nostalgia reasons. If I didn't get my JJ I would probably have the Fargen.
 

RAR

Member
Messages
519
I just demoed these amps a couple of weeks ago... BE100, JJ, PWE EH3, CA TripR, Shiva 20th, and the Helios. The BE100 and Helios were the winners for me. Would love to own both but I put the Helios on layaway.

If you have the money, buy the BE100. I seriously doubt anyone will talk you out of buying it. It sounds awesome... especially with the 4x12 Friedman cab.
 
Last edited:

frthib

Member
Messages
1,476
i'm watching Brown eyes on YouTube now as i write, and i'm not earing a 3000$ + difference from a jcm or any decent modern high gain. sure it is better by a certain margin, but that margin is quite expensive.
 

ufguy73

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,968
i'm watching Brown eyes on YouTube now as i write, and i'm not earing a 3000$ + difference from a jcm or any decent modern high gain. sure it is better by a certain margin, but that margin is quite expensive.
sounds like its not the amp for you. got to be worth it to the individual, of course
 

bbaug14

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,480
The BE is a great friggin amp. It does the modded Marshall thing really well, and the clean is serviceable for a gained up amp.

I ultimately sold mine as I wanted the Plexi tones and while the BE is great, its definitely more modern and compressed/saturated than a true blue Marshall.

I ended up with a Wizard MCII which I LOVE. It too is a bit different than a real Marshall, but the difference is an improvement in my opinion , and pretty much everyone else who plays one.

Since then, I've flipped amp after amp trying to find something better than the Wizard. It hasn't happened. I just recently got a custom Verellen and it is the quintessential all Marshall tones in a box. It won't replace the Wizard, bur it's not going anywhere either.

The only amp that interests me now is the Metroplex. I recommend checking one out before buying a BE. If you try that amp and still Jones for the BE, then the BE is the amp for you.
 

BADHAK

Member
Messages
9,153
The Friedman is great.
However, as good as it is, it is too refined and polite for me.
Nothing gets close to a late 70's JMP MKII or an early 80's JCM800. Those things drip raw aggressive tone.
The only exception I've found is the Fargen Olde800.
Ben nailed the open bark of the early 800's with the Dagnall/Drake tranny and choke combination.
With a boost pedal, my '79 JMP MKII can everything from funk to classic rock to modern metal.


+1
Same for my 79 and 80 jmp 2203's
 




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