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The Naked Amp, by Dave Friedman

Flinto2002

Senior Member
Messages
2,030
This has been a long time coming as I've owned and been gigging with this amp for the last two months or so. Actually, Rob has been breaking my frikken balls to review this amp, but that is another story. 8)

I'd first heard of this amp several years ago before Dave started making them again, I was a fan of the Perfect Circle tones and this was the amp that produced them. When I first asked Dave about making me one he mentioned it was kind of a modified Naylor preamp into a Marshall power section. I played an SD60 at Daves shop and was unimpressed so the idea of getting a naked went on the backshelf. Move forward a few years and I'm at Tone Merchants after Rob took over the business. I went in there looking for a new flavor of amp to compliment my excellent PWE Event Horizon. I wanted something unique and was looking at the new Ubershall Twin Jet. Rob plugged me into the Naked and it took all of about 3 seconds for me to decide this was the coolest tone I had ever heard. It's a smooth amp, I typically run mine with the presence almost off and the mids up between 12 and 3 o'clock. It sounds Marshall-ish, but not. It's kind of like what you hear in Paul Gilberts Mr Big tone, that very smooth thick sound, only a much more complex and articulate version. It almost sounds like the best Marshall you ever heard after it winds up on tape and after mastering, if that makes any sense. Picture a sound you could listen to for hours at high volume with little to no ear fatigue. I A/B'd it with a Marsha, and while the Marsha flat out ripped, it wasn't the same type of smooth tone, the Marsha cranked up would start to fry your ears after 15 minutes (to be fair, so does my PWE or any other hot rod Marshall variant, that is the nature of those amps). This amp is a whole different beast.

I've played a lot of different amps, from Marshall to Mesa to Bogner to Suhr to Diezel, and this is THE gain tone, at least to my ears.

This is how it looked when I first got it

Familiar JMP style aesthetics




Right off the bat, I knew I wanted it in white, but we had to wait a bit for the headshell to come in. Here she is as she looks today.


Here is a close up of the controls, pretty simple, clean channel gain occupies one of the 4 inputs and a 2 function footswitch cable goes into another of the 4.

On the back is one of Dave's great switchable master volumes so I can toggle between two different levels, one for Rhythm and one for lead.


This amp isn't a jack of all trades, it does it's own thing. I have Dave's simple clean channel on the amp and it is a serviceable clean with hints of Fender & Vox, but it doesn't have the control of my PWE or the depth and Blackface tone of my old OD100. You've got one knob to work with and the volume jump is pretty drastic once you start the sweep.

The dirty channel is the heart of this amp and while it is all voiced in a specific way, the controls are really amazing. There isn't a bad sound in the amp. Turn the presence OFF, the amp sounds great, very smooth, turn it all the way up, it still sounds great only different. Same with the mid and presence knobs. It's kind of uncanny. Many amps have only a certain useable sweep in the controls, max any of them out and it is harsh and weird sounding. That's not the case with this amp, there isn't a place you can set the controls that sounds bad.

I find the amp has plenty of gain even at 9 o'clock. Pinch harmonics fly off with easy and chords still retain plenty of clarity and definition.

If you need blackface cleans and maximum flexibility, this might not be your amp, there are other 2 channel amps with more control and options, but if you want a unique tone that roars through the mix and wont fatigue listeners, even those right in front of your 4x12, then this is probably your ticket.

FWIW, I paid more for this amp than I have for any other piece of gear I've owned, and every time I plug it in I'm glad I did. It's that good.
 

Ironman

Member
Messages
798
Sounds like an impressive amp! Before your review, I thought the Naked was a drop d chugga chugga machine. I guess it can cover a lot of refined Marshall tones. Do you favor the Naked over the Marsha? Thanks for the review.
 

Billion81

It'd be a whole lot cooler if you did.
Messages
2,894
Are there any of these @ Tone Merchants? It would be cool to hear one. Rob let's folks rip it loud which is how music shops should work.

I'm in OC and if you are gigging that amp around town please PM me so I can come here thing in action.

I plugged in to Friedman modded Marshall up @ Lugo's studio and that thing was beastly.

I dig your description of what this thing sounds like..Seems like it could crush with a Single Coil set up. Plus it has a Loop which is why I run from Germino amps.

I have a new 4 socket EL34 based Fuchs with HD130 MM iron that is brilliant for "Tones" era EJ type tones but also kills on the clean side.

Still- a higher gain rig like this could be cool.

Any hint on price point?
 

Flinto2002

Senior Member
Messages
2,030
Sounds like an impressive amp! Before your review, I thought the Naked was a drop d chugga chugga machine. I guess it can cover a lot of refined Marshall tones. Do you favor the Naked over the Marsha? Thanks for the review.
I personally prefer the Naked, but it is quite different. My PWE does the hot rodded marshall thing, so getting a Marsha would be have a ton of overlap with what I already own.

It does the drop D thing very well, but it's not a one trick pony like the old Ubershall was accused of being. It also sounds nothing like the Uber, I was just using that as an example of a one trick amp.
 

broken_sound

Member
Messages
3,274
From the time i've spent with this amp, i'm really impressed. It's by far my favorite metro mod, tons of gain on tap and cuts through very very well.
 

suparsonic

Member
Messages
2,810
From the clips I've hear I personally prefer the Marsha, but would like to hear more clips of the Naked. Glad it's working for you.
 

Flinto2002

Senior Member
Messages
2,030
From the clips I've hear I personally prefer the Marsha, but would like to hear more clips of the Naked. Glad it's working for you.
They did a little better job on the Tone Merchants Marsha demo so that may be a contributing factor to your preference. Lots of guys like the Marsha more, Steve Stevens has 2 in his rack. I played them against the Naked while in Dave's shop. I still preferred the Naked, but those are just my ears, the Marsha was one of the best hot rodded Marshalls I have ever heard.

I hear a new Naked demo is in the works.
 

Flinto2002

Senior Member
Messages
2,030
My girlfriend recorded some clips a little while back of my cover/parody band. You can hear what the Naked is all about pretty clearly. Signal chain is guitar - tuner - (several bypassed pedals) and a Nova Delay in the loop which is only on during solo's.

The recording was done on a Zoom Q3, so while the video isn't totally rad, the audio is pretty solid.

Disclaimer - I'm sure I hit a lot of clams, and at this particular club, the monitors are ASS, so my singer is out of key in a couple places, nevertheless, I figured you guys would like to hear the amp and could forgive any ****ups on my part.

Some Dokken & Bon Jovi
http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=415923148799

A couple or three other tunes
http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=416013353799
 

madscientist

Member
Messages
2,214
My girlfriend recorded some clips a little while back of my cover/parody band. You can hear what the Naked is all about pretty clearly. Signal chain is guitar - tuner - (several bypassed pedals) and a Nova Delay in the loop which is only on during solo's.

The recording was done on a Zoom Q3, so while the video isn't totally rad, the audio is pretty solid.

Disclaimer - I'm sure I hit a lot of clams, and at this particular club, the monitors are ASS, so my singer is out of key in a couple places, nevertheless, I figured you guys would like to hear the amp and could forgive any ****ups on my part.

Some Dokken & Bon Jovi
http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=415923148799

A couple or three other tunes
http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=416013353799
DIG the tones here...really thick, no top end harshness....yeah, the naked seems to be the way to go....once I pay off my LP, it's amp time.
 

se7en

Senior Member
Messages
366
Wow, yeah, I think I'm digging the Naked more than Marsha...nice clips and playing, brah.
 

Joe Gamble

Member
Messages
829
Hmm... I wonder if the Naked is similar to the amp that Don Grosh owns and keeps in his shop. It's an old BF Fender that Friedman modded. I think Bobby at Grosh asked Dave about it and Dave's response was that it was the same mod that he did for Billy Howerdel's Perfect Circle amps. Of course Don's is a Fender and Billy's were Marshalls. At any rate I REALLY dig that amp so I'll have to check the Naked out...
 

NAV1147

Member
Messages
218
the Naked is my current fav and Flinto describes it well. there will be reviews of the marsha and naked in the next premier guitar.
 

todd richman

Senior Member
Messages
13,190
Revisiting this thread after seeing an add in Premier Guitar for one. Love APC tones and this amp coupled with a Marsha would be a formidable couple.
 

james...

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,798
I asked Dave about Billy Howerdel's modded Super Lead a couple years ago and this is what he said.

it's been modded to be a channel switcher with shared eq. the whole front end of the amp is different. The feedback circuit of the amp is also different. It also has an fx loop.
Sounds like the Naked to me.
 

todd richman

Senior Member
Messages
13,190
The Naked is a recreation of Billy's Friedman modded late 70's JMP. Basically some Naylor inspiration and a lot of Dave Friedman mojo to make a great late 70's 4 input head sound even more huge and dynamic. I want one.
 

James M

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,659
Bump on this ancient thread...I just got my Naked, and it is by far my most favorite amp I've ever had/played. It does everything my Marshall JVM 410 did, but it does it with NO NOISE (that JVM was a buzzy, hummy beast), and with so much articulation and thump. Just a terrific amp...and the loop is great too. The clean channel is very serviceable too...no complaints.
 

Jon Silberman

10Q Jerry & Dickey
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
40,880
I love the name! I've been a fan of animal biologist/anthropologist Desmond Morris for many years. The last book of his I read just last week was Catwatching - Why Cats Purr and Everything Else You Ever Wanted to Know. Of course, The Naked Ape remains his all time classic, a book I honestly believe everyone would enjoy.
 

CaptRKirkB

Member
Messages
482
well I will say I "usually" enjoy naked..........of course there are exceptions to every rule...ymmv, etc.
 




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