NAMM Show 2017, Dave Friedman announces the brand's first Dirty Shirley OD pedal. Of course, with such a name, we immediately understand what is hidden in this little black box... The single channel of the excellent Dirty Shirley 40! After the BE-OD, the Dirty Shirley was eagerly awaited and Dave Friedman couldn't miss it!
Light to handle (it's an advantage), the DS comes in a pretty box with a small fabric bag and marketing that goes well, it's always appreciated. The case is nice and the aesthetics of the pedal is very reminiscent of the brand's graphic charter. On the program, a 3-band EQ (Bass, Mid and Treble), a Presence control, a mini Tight toggle switch which will act like a contour by tightening the bottom for more precision and hold in the low end of the spectrum when 'we go up the gain. And finally, the usual Volume and Gain. Note, the pedal can be powered by 9-18V for maximum headroom.
Les Paul and Super Strat in hand, from the first notes, you realize that the Dirty Shirley is a real "crunch-rock machine". To get the best out of it, we simply set the EQ according to the guitar by slightly adjusting the bass and the Presence knob, which greatly interact with the structure of the drive. The rest is generally at 12:00 and the gain pushed to 3/4. Why that? Well that's the magic of the Dirty Shirley. Even with high gain, all you have to do is turn the volume down a bit on the guitar, and you get a nice, warm, smooth crunch. The dynamics are, as always with Friedman, first rate. There is headroom in reserve and "sparkles" at the top of the spectrum, with a nice natural compression. This, with all the nuances in between that can give you control at your fingertips. You will understand, the Dirty Shirley clean and retains the dynamics, presence and punch of the original head. The attack remains "touch sensitive" whatever the settings and allows you to transcribe every nuance of your playing by allowing you to interact highly with it. As long as you have a good clean base behind, you can exploit it at best. The mids can be sculpted to measure, as always with the brand's products, this control having a large range of action. The top of the spectrum is very musical, each note is detached, audible and balanced. A simple open agreement makes you happy for the day as there are things and details to hear.
The voicing is typical of the Californian brand, but with a more old school, more vintage signature. Very 60-70's. The whole being more open and less compressed than a BE-OD. It's really the OD Distortion to do everything, if you like the grain of JTM45 and other typically British amps. The Dirty Shirley will therefore delight fans of 70-80's blues rock, rock and hard-rock when the gain is pushed to its limits. Fans of Philip Sayce, Sambora, Foo Fighters and others... This pedal is for you.
Recreating all the complexity of a head like the Dirty Shirley 40 was no mean feat and Dave Friedman clearly paid off. The DS is a pedal that delivers an organic, dense drive that will be usable in a multitude of situations. Its flexible and intelligent design, and its ability to retain nuances and dynamics make it a must have for anyone looking for a versatile OD / Distortion.