Friedman makes pedalboards too? Yes they do …

What if Mike Soldano made guitars instead of amps. Wouldn’t that be weird?  We kinda think so. He’s an amp builder (and a damn good one), right? That said, there are a few companies that have been able to move outside of their perceived comfort zones and put together some really great pieces of gear they’re not normally known for building.  Paul Reed Smith is a great recent example. The guitar community has warmly embraced Paul Reed Smith’s foray into the world of amplification, as his towering skills as a guitar builder have translated well into the other end of the signal chain. Perhaps Soldano’s reputation as a master amp builder would translate just as well into the world of guitar design. We’d certainly take notice.


Which brings me to another company I’ve taken notice of: Friedman…Amps?  Maybe it’s Friedman Guitars?  Oh, hold on…Friedman Pedalboards! Maybe just Friedman. Once upon a time, the name “Friedman” seemed to apply to a company that did one thing and one thing well. But then Friedman guitars came onto the scene, then some pedals (which have earned some high marks among among some players), and heck – now some pedalboards to put those pedals on!  I wonder: does this sort of thing embody the idea of “too much, possibly too soon?”  I know, I know, Fender has done it for years and other brands like Ibanez, Line 6, Peavey, and even Gibson have dipped their corporate toes into this particular ocean, so why can’t others?


Aside from some interesting parallels between Fender and Friedman (Leo Fender made guitar amps before he ventured into the guitar manufacturing business), Fender has mostly flunked out in the pedal game, save for the cult favorite Fender Blender. Then again..Stratocaster, Telecaster, Precision Bass, tweed and blackface’s pretty reasonable to say they’ve more than made up for the pedal thing. But that can lead one to wonder: should a company find one or two things and do them well?  Ibanez has gifted the world with many iconic guitars and the Tube Screamer, but nothing much of note when it comes to amplifiers. We’d all agree that Marshall has the amplifier thing down pretty well and even put out a couple of coveted pedals, the Guv’nor and Shredmaster, so they’re probably not itching to get into the guitar building game. As we’ve shown repeatedly here at, Peavey continues to make great guitars and amplifiers, but don’t appear to have done much on the pedal front since their made-for-the-’80s run of stompboxes. In each case, the aforementioned companies have made some ventures into new territory, but ultimately reverted their focus back to what helped make their names famous in the first place.


As a player and a consumer that is uniquely tuned into the gear world, I can’t help but wonder whether a company is going to spread itself thin when it trys to cover all the bases. When I’m buying gear, I want to buy it from a company that stands behind the gear they make and is absolutely passionate about the products they produce.  When a company traditionally focuses on one element of the signal chain, the amp, but then offers nearly everything else it sometimes just doesn’t feel sincere to me. That’s not an indictment, it’s just my opinion. What is your opinion?


All of that said, it’s not a stretch to believe the quality of these new Friedman products is probably great. If the pedals, pedalboards, and guitars are served by the same expertise that Friedman has with amps, then they will probably be something special and enduring. But I can’t help but wonder if Friedman is doing too much too soon.


Or maybe this will kick off a trend and Chauvet lighting will come out with a full line-up of guitars, amps and pedals and Friedman will produce some lighting effects too!  Now that’s something I can get into!


On a separate note … Is what Friedman is doing reflective of a trend in today’s gear world, particularly among larger manufacturers: cover all the bases and broaden your market, rather than maintain a narrow focus?  Comment below letting us know what you think …

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