Tone connoisseurs know all about the critically acclaimed amps by Friedman. For over 25 years, amp builder, modifier, and repairer, Dave Friedman, has helped cultivate the sounds of such legendary guitarists as Eddie Van Halen, Steve Stevens, and Jerry Cantrell. Under the Friedman Amplification name, he’s made his sonic superiority available to anyone, in what started with the modern classic BE-100. The current product catalog consists of numerous heads, mini heads, combos, cabinets, monitors, pedals, pickups, and even guitars. Let’s see how one of the brand’s newest combo amplifier fares in this Friedman Pink Taco V2 review.
Dave Friedman Offers an Updated Take on a Beloved Classic with the Pink Taco V2
Friedman describes the Pink Taco as the “little sister” of the company’s first production amplifier — the mighty BE-100. Cut down to 20 watts in combo and head format, it’s a smaller, lighter, simpler version of the aforementioned classic. The latest Pink Taco V2 is a highly versatile single-channel amplifier. It’s capable of pulling off everything from blues to high-gain metal, simply by adjusting the gain setting, the master volume, and flipping the newly added switches.
A pair of EL84 power tubes drive the output, while three 12AX7 tubes handle the preamp stage. Interestingly, EL84 tubes aren’t known to deliver the same tight low-end and midrange grind that EL34s are renowned for. However, Dave Friedman made clever design choices to make the 20-watt EL84 combo/head sound like a raging 100-watt EL34 monster. It was a matter of utilizing custom transformers and probably a lot of “secret sauce” to bring the Pink Taco V2 to life — and make it sound like a searing British rock machine.
Are Friedman Amps Hand-Wired?
Friedman amplifiers use both printed circuit boards (PCB) and hand-wiring in their assemblies. All of the amps are assembled in Los Angeles using hand-selected components. Each amplifier, after burn-in, gets an inspection and test run by Dave himself, who then signs the chassis.
Friedman Pink Taco Review: What Does the V2 Have to Offer?
The Pink Taco V2 is a 20-watt, single-channel tube head or combo with three-band EQ, gain, master volume, gain structure switch, Sat switch, Fat switch, and an ultra-transparent series effects loop. The combo features one 12″ Celestion Creamback speaker.
Build & Hardware
The Friedman Pink Taco exudes boutique build quality. Everything from the cabinet to the knobs and switches feels like a high-end amplifier and leaves little to be desired in terms of overall construction. When you’re investing in a Friedman, there’s no doubt you’re getting a well made product.
How Does It Sound?
It’s remarkable just how versatile a single-channel amp can be. The Pink Taco excels at blues, rock, hard rock, and metal. Just fiddle with the gain, master volume, and the included switches to achieve the right amount of break-up and drive for your style. You’ll notice right away just how rich and detailed the sound is, even at high-gain settings. The amp is super articulate, letting you hear every note ring in a chord. Plus, you get even more diversity from it by rolling off the guitar’s volume. It also takes pedals really well, so it isn’t just a standalone boutique amp that sounds great by itself. You can flesh out an entire rig around it.
Friedman Pink Taco V2 vs Little Sister: What’s the Difference?
The main difference between the PT and Little Sister is that the latter has more of a subdued, vintage sound. The Little Sister is meant to deliver the British rock sounds of the ’60s and ’70s, making it best suited to blues, rock, and country. The Pink Taco, on the other hand, has a more modern edge with enough gain on tap to go into metal with ease.
Our Take: Friedman Amps Offer a Versatile & Highly Playable Sound
If you’re looking for “that sound,” you can’t go wrong with a Friedman. The new Pink Taco is an exceptional amplifier if you just need one channel of stellar tone. The thing about many boutique amps like this is that they lack some of the features you’d find in others; however, you’re paying for a flawless design and attention to detail to milk every ounce of tonal goodness from, in the Pink Taco’s case, one channel. This would make a great studio amplifier or live amp if you don’t need to switch between crystal clear cleans and overdrive in the middle of songs.