1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Green Day, Mike Dirnt's new bass sound

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by wwittman, Dec 26, 2004.

  1. wwittman


    Apr 21, 2004
    Westchester, NY
    I love Green Day.
    I think all three are enourmously talented and they're one of the few live bands actually worth seeing these days.

    And up until now I've always really like Mike Dirnt's sounds as well.
    They've been different and distinctive and clear and interesting.

    But, although on the whole I really like the new record (I predict it's going to win the album of the year Grammy, and deservedly so) and think it sounds great (again, on the whole) I'm really disappointed in the bass guitar.
    It's like, for the first time on their records, he's just "there" without standing out or being a distinct part of the sound at all.
    You can tell there's bass guitar, but it's more just 'bottom'... not anything special.

    I found it interesting that along with the release of the record he made the magazine rounds talking about his new Fender model and the new Fender amps he had switched to... and frankly I have to wonder how much THIS has to do with his new found lack of clarity.
    This is NOT a sound I would want to seek out.
    It's rather characterless and generic at best.
    Which considering how much he has to offer as a player is very disappointing.

    I wonder if the economics of the endorsement deal trumped sonic taste.
    Or if it's only a coincidence and he didn't really use the new gear on the record.

  2. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    not a big fan of the band or his tones in the past... good playing and all, just not my thing.

    but the Mrs's picked up the new disc the other week and his tone caught me off guard the other day. I LOVE his tone on "Boulevard of Broken Dreams". It's the only song I like so far.
  3. Dave Siff

    Dave Siff Supporting Member

    Read his BP cover story from a few months back.. he talks about making a conscious decision to play less on the new record. As a longtime fan of the band and Mike's playing, I was a bit disappointed with his less-active bass lines this time around, but the album is so good, I don't even care.
  4. wwittman


    Apr 21, 2004
    Westchester, NY
    I DID read the BP interview... that's in part what makes me wonder how much the new gear influences the new sound.
    I seem to remember him saying he did use his new signature model on the record.
    But I agree it's a fine record.
    Playing "less" though doesn't mean being muddy... the SOUND is just so much less distinct AND distinctive on this record, which is too bad.
    it may indeed be a decision someone made or perhaps just a different engineer... it may have nothing to DO with the new bass model... just wondering though, which is only natural, as the sound definitely took a step in a 'lesser' direction for me.
  5. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    I think you need to expand your musical horizons.
    Afandrewflanagan likes this.
  6. Wow, Matt Till, you're cool.

    I haven't heard the whole album yet. I think he probably could've created more busy lines, however, I think he wanted to step down a notch. I personally think that he plays nothing more than needed, nothing less.

    Is that bad? No. Is that awesome? I dunno. It's a different album. Different sound. Different style.

    Congratulate Mike for trying something different and changing his sound.
  7. Dave Siff

    Dave Siff Supporting Member

    To me, it's just a matter of him playing less. That really struck me when I first listened to it, and it was a bit disappointing. But I think he still sounds great, even though his parts don't leap out with as many fills as he used to do.
  8. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    I'm glad someone noticed.

    I like Green Day, even the Warning album... I haven't heard the new one. They are probably the best pop punk band, and no doubt awesome live.

    But to say that they are one of the few live acts worth seeing these days is ridiculous.
    Afandrewflanagan likes this.
  9. you can really hear his sig model on the record. Boulevard is a perfect example.

    I think he shulda' stuck with the Mesa rig, imo. I've heard a few cool live tones from him tho, and I imagine he will come up with something better live, as he has done many times in the past (knowledge, anyone??).

    it is somewhat disappointing to see him playing less, but then, you can't always be doing the samething, before it turns into the samething. If y'know what I'm saying...

    What also bugs me a little bit is that Billie is getting lazier on stage with guitar. Jason on rythme is cool, but BJ hardly solos at all these days...

    However, despite this, I still think they rock and Ive really been enjoying the new album. City of teh Damned is an awesom "chapter". Letterbomb. Nothing soul changing for me, like their first 4 albums, but I am really enjoying it.
  10. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    His new "less is more" playing style bothered me a bit too and I do think the super-simple bass lines hurt their overall sound and music bit and made them sound more like the plethora of mediocre pop punk bands out there today.

    Oh well, at least the songs on "American Idiot" themselves are pretty good. I still thought Mike's tone was pretty cool, though. I didn't notice any muddiness.

    By the way, pretty much any better player goes through a "less is more" phase at least once in their playing career, don't they?
  11. Exactly. Upon my first few listens, I sorta noticed that the usual trademark Mike Dirnt fills were pretty much nonexistant, but I was mostly too busy being floored by the quality of the songs. Musically and lyrically, this album is a masterpiece as far as I'm concerned, and that quality transcends the importance of any one instrument.

    Anyway, with regard to the tone issue, it does tend to blend in at some points, but I'm guessing this was an intentional decision. It makes the bass that much more powerful when it does stand out, most notably in "Tales of Another Broken Home". The tone in the simple (chops-wise) bass solo that starts that movement kicks ass and takes names...I'm still undecided on whether that contributed to "Jesus of Suburbia" being my favorite song (suite?) on the album :hyper:
  12. Heh, I know what you mean. I heard Dookie first like pretty much everyone, with solos like in "When I Come Around" :D ...imagine my surprise when I got the older albums and heard the solos like in "Dry Ice" or the "My Generation" cover :eek: For a while I figured Billie had to have used a ghost soloist on those two allbums, but I've got a live MP3 in which he pulls off "Dry Ice" pretty well. Guess he just prefers balls-out tone and rhythmic/percussive strumming these days (last ten years). Whatever, I love pretty much all GD material, chops-heavy or not.
  13. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    Mike's new tone is "Hide behind billie and our new "cover up billies bad playing" guitarist and pretend you can hear him.

    American Idiot sucks... or its different. I dunno... When i think green day, i think fast punk, melodic bass, and pounding drums... american idiot is pseudo-guitar rock with Tre thinking he is a drum virtuoso.
  14. Dave Siff

    Dave Siff Supporting Member

    I vote for "different." :D
    IMHO, it's way better than Warning.

    One thing I think a lot of people forget is that these guys are in their mid-30s now. They're not going to play the same way forever. I love the old Green Day style, and I think the title track on American Idiot is a reminder that they still have it in them -- it sounds like any of their best songs from the mid-90s. But from there, they go places they haven't gone before. They've always been great songwriters, but something like "Jesus of Suburbia" is unprecedented for them, and it's a brilliant piece of music. I'm glad they've grown and changed as a band, or else there'd be no reason to buy their new records.
  15. wwittman


    Apr 21, 2004
    Westchester, NY
    Almost no matter WHAT the topic, sooner or later come the "this band sucks" or "this guy sucks" or the always popular "YOU suck" responses.

    Meanwhile, I was asking what people thought about the tone on the record and the relevance of his new gear to said tone.

    It seems obvious that those who think Green Day "sucks" aren't going to be terribly keen on the bass guitar sound either.

    As far as my needing to see more "acts"... i don't see "acts" (other than my friends Penn and Teller) but, as both a touring musician and a professional producer/engineer, I see far more bands in a year than most people.
    Sorry if you found the idea insulting or challenging in some way... but Green Day is a far better live band than 90% of touring rock bands out there.
    This is called OPINION.
    If you disagree it isn't because you "need to expand your horizons".
    It's because you need to understand that people's opinions differ.
  16. Dave Siff

    Dave Siff Supporting Member

    Sorry I never directly answered that question.. that was what you were asking..
    I think his tone is fine. The record sounds amazing cranked, as all Green Day records do, and the bottom end is huge, so from that standpoint, I'm happy.
    I don't recall reading Mike say which basses he used on the record, and I think it's irrelevant. He changed his whole approach for this one, and that transcends any particular bass he recorded with. He was going for a different sound. The bass tone you hear on the record is obviously what they wanted, and I think it's largely a reflection of the material. There's a lot of laid-back pop stuff on the record that demands a more subtle approach and a mellower sound than we're used to from him. And, IMHO, his old grindy tone is 100% there on "American Idiot", the crunching parts in "Jesus of Suburbia" and "Letterbomb." I miss the cool walk-ups and fills, for sure.. maybe they'll be back on the next record.
  17. BassGod


    Jan 21, 2004
    I have to ask... am I hearing things, or is there wah on the bass at the end of 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams'? Someone please listen closely, and tell me I'm not insane. At the very end of the song, buried under everything else. Thank you. :help:

    Graeme :)
  18. Brat


    Jun 4, 2004
    NW Indiana.
    The "wah" is another guitar, BTW =)

    I loved the album but I was dissappointed in Mikes lines and his live tone from this new album. BOBD is the only song I can say I liked his tone. But after I read his BP interview I could kinda see what he's trying to get at. But then I can find some places on the new Cd where a fill would work out, not changing anyting.

    In my opinion, his Gibson Grabber with his Mesa/Boogie set up was his best. I just fell in love with his tone (and him too...) and that Green Day era around Kerplunk-Insomniac. His Fender Precisions played live sound pretty good, and so does his sig, but lately it's been 50-50. He either sounds good live or just sounds.... "cardboard." Dont get me wrong. He is a good bassist. If you watch alot of their live shows, he does add in alot of fills and throws in a random jazz line. I just dont find his new Fender sound as impressive. Lets just hope he stands out more in their next Cd and we get full on Dirnt!
  19. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    I'd be interested to see if there's a difference in where they recorded and mixed now than compared to the past, I bet that has more to do with it than anything. I have seen bass recorded so many different ways throught all kinds of gear but one thing remains the same, it depends on the people you have recording and mixing the music.
  20. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Yeah I saw the video for the single and Dirnt is just kinda backing up Billie now. It's appropriate for the style of music. It's kinda blah. But it is cool that it's emoish minus high vocals. It's got a nice feel to it. Dirnt still should have came up in the mix though. It's quite a transistion though, wasn't their last album Warning? Their poppiest album yet, followed by this bleak album.

    I guess as a pop punk band you kinda gotta follow the times in order to keep making money. It's better than half the crap out their though.