Friedman Dirty Shirley Overdrive (plus video demo)

Marshall in a box overdrive pedal

General Information

Video demo below


For a long time I was looking for a really good overdrive that stylishly pulls my single coil strat into fat rock territory. I mostly play rock and blues rock, so I thought of Marshall sounds. My amp is the Two Rock Studio Pro 35, a really excellent clean platform with no noticeable overdrive potential.

So on a nice Wednesday I went on a trip to the Music Store Cologne (one of Europ's biggest stores), where I could test everything under perfect conditions and with the fullest patience of the effects specialist. Including: Wampler Plexi Drive (the small and large version), Carl Martin Plextone Single, Origin Revival Drive Compact (see my other review) and last but not least, the Friedman Dirty Shirley Overdrive.

The latter has been taken home, because for me personally it just sounded a lot more organic than the rest.
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Pros: + Processing

+ Effectiveness of the EQ

+ Noise behavior

+ Tight switch

+ Compatibility with other pedals

+ Sound
Cons: - In the lower gain range, it should sound a bit more Plexi
Carton, velvet pouch, manual and four adhesive feet - somehow standard, so.

First impression
There is nothing wrong with the overall manufacturing. The pedal looks suitable for the road and is of very high quality. It is striking that it has a complete EQ range. Furthermore, there is a toggle switch (tight) on the right side (outside).

A closer look

The entire EQ reacts very sensitively, small changes are immediately noticeable. The tight switch ensures that spongy basses are compensated for. The pedal sounds transparent in any position, and the degree of distortion can be set in detail. The gain clearly sounds like Marshall, not too snotty, but very noble. You can feel the notes under your fingers. The result throughout the different gain stages sounds more like JTM in the lower region, more like JCM and Silver Jubilee in the upper region. I can't hear the plexi directly, although it's there. Hard to describe, but there is a little something missing, but not in a too bad way.

Even when the gain is completely turned down, the Dirty Shirley is already cooking, even with the Strat. The pedal is therefore not necessarily suitable as a boost. The pedal goes very well with other pedals - tested with the Vemuram Jan Ray and various fuzzes. It always sounds great, regardless of the arrangement. Overall, the pedal always sounds like "Amp", so not boxy at all. The overall character is more on the slightly compressing side - I'm not a fan of sounds that are too compressed, but here the ratio of transparency to compression is absolutely perfect.

Inside the pedal there is a trim pot that can be used to increase the degree of distortion. I have left everything in the factory settings so far because I really like the sound.

There are also sufficient volume reserves, the pedal can be decently loud if necessary.

From crunch to higher gains, everything is possible with the Dirty Shirley! Even with a very clean amplifier. With the Paula there are classic rock tones, but also fat gain, with the Strat. You can definitely get some cool classic rock tones and more.

I already had the BE-OD for the test, but it is actually a completely different creation, not to be compared in terms of sound at all, because it simply sounds more rigorous in any gain structure and does not have such a wonderful mid-range as the Dirty Shirley - what a great name by the way ;-).

The pedal hangs on the volume potentiometer as you wish. With the Strat I get into the clearest realms with the highest gain setting, by turning back the volume potentiometer on the guitar.

Comparison with the Dirty Shirley amp
I already had the Dirty Shirley Mini for test, borrowed from a friend. You can find a video on my YouTube channel. In my opinion, the pedal behaves the same as the amp. The only difference / color is due to the character of the chosen amplifier you use for the pedal.

Sound files
Hardworking as I am, I have recorded a video demo. I first decided on a video with single coils, because there are tons of demos with humbuckers ;-) But maybe I will add a humbucker demo some time later. In the video, I tried to show various facets of the pedal, but I also changed the setting of the tight switch quite often.

From Hendrix to Zeppelin to AC / DC and maybe even more ... this pedal covers a variety of well-known Marshall sounds. It always sounds like a natural addition to the amplifier. For me currently one of the best overdrive pedals on the market.

Pedals information

Added by
Mike J.
Last update
4.00 star(s) 1 ratings

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