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stratomaster

Insomniac Guitar tone

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stratomaster

I’ve been trying to work out something close to the live tone around 1995 but I’m not really getting close. I’ve got a Peavey Vypyr 30 amp with my main Guitar being a squier strat with the angled JB humbucker. I’ve got a sound close to the Dookie recordings but how can I thinken it up for an insomniac tone? I also have a Fulltone OCD and a DS-1 as pedals, though  I don’t use them much. Thanks

Edited by stratomaster
Left out pedal info

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Joe.

There's people with more knowledge than me but I think the only pedal BJ has really used is the Boss BD-2. 

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greendepent

BJ recorded several guitars in Insomniac to get that tone. Also, it was more a mix of his two marshall heads, so I doubt you can get something similar with that. But I'd try using a very tiny bit of reverb to make the sound wider, and give a bit more around 750hz-800hz to boost the harshness of the guitar tone

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stratomaster

Thanks for the advice and what do you mean with the 750-800hz boost?

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disappearingfs

Hi! Keep in mind that what you hear from the record, 90% of the times, IS NOT the real thing out of the amplifier, due to the editing, mastering, mixing etc... That said, Billie Joe guitar sound is about bass frequencies and his powerful right hand strumming. As someone said, Insomniac is a mix of two old Marshall heads, so you should turn on the overdrive and keep the mids and highs quite low. Depending on what instrument you use, obviously, things will change but as a guideline I think (and hope) this should/could help. Don't be afraid of the volume, it's where that ''classic'' distortion comes from, rather than a Boss pedal, to me. Let me know! :dance: 

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Maddie86
9 hours ago, greendepent said:

BJ recorded several guitars in Insomniac to get that tone. Also, it was more a mix of his two marshall heads, so I doubt you can get something similar with that. But I'd try using a very tiny bit of reverb to make the sound wider, and give a bit more around 750hz-800hz to boost the harshness of the guitar tone

Where did you hear that about him using several guitars? I could never really find much info on that recording session. I do know about the 2 Marshalls though, and I tried for a long time to get a Marshall tone without a Marshall amp and it just didn't happen. A Peavey Windsor comes close but it needs more gain for an Insomniac type tone.

I have a Marshall JCM2000, and while it's not the same as a Modded Plexi, the EQ is similar enough where I can get close sounds. I have a strat that I had an angled JB in, and it did sound good, but it sounded a little too clean for me, I just put a Duncan SH-6 Distortion pickup in it yesterday and it definitely gave it a more saturated tone, so it helps make up for the fact that I don't have a Marshall modded for extra gain

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greendepent
58 minutes ago, Kyle Serlington said:

Where did you hear that about him using several guitars? I could never really find much info on that recording session. I do know about the 2 Marshalls though, and I tried for a long time to get a Marshall tone without a Marshall amp and it just didn't happen. A Peavey Windsor comes close but it needs more gain for an Insomniac type tone.

I have a Marshall JCM2000, and while it's not the same as a Modded Plexi, the EQ is similar enough where I can get close sounds. I have a strat that I had an angled JB in, and it did sound good, but it sounded a little too clean for me, I just put a Duncan SH-6 Distortion pickup in it yesterday and it definitely gave it a more saturated tone, so it helps make up for the fact that I don't have a Marshall modded for extra gain

Well, just listen to Brain Stew. That oversaturared tone is made with several layers of guitars and some compression. The rest of the probably are done with less layers of guitars. Is not the same exact tone bewteen Jaded and Westbound Sign, for example.

5 hours ago, stratomaster said:

Thanks for the advice and what do you mean with the 750-800hz boost?

If you got an EQ in your signal chain, give a boost on those frecuencies.

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Spike

Pure volume. That's usually the missing element. Obviously distortion pedals and EQ settings can replicate it in some ways, but realistically you can't replicate sound pressure levels, and that has a lot to do with the saturation of the tone. 

On Insomniac the bass is pretty much the lead instrument, so Billie's tone is quite bassy to counteract that and fill out more of the low end. So essentially his tone is quite a lot of bass, not a great deal of overdrive, and a LOT of volume. It's likely that a lot of the crunch in the tone comes from the volume of the amp, like how it was done in the old days before effects pedals were a thing. Combine that with Billie's technique of playing super hard and hitting the strings with the pick and your thumb at the same time, and that's the best you can hope for without splashing out on a similarly modded amp and identical guitar. 

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disappearingfs
2 hours ago, Spike said:

Pure volume. That's usually the missing element. Obviously distortion pedals and EQ settings can replicate it in some ways, but realistically you can't replicate sound pressure levels, and that has a lot to do with the saturation of the tone. 

On Insomniac the bass is pretty much the lead instrument, so Billie's tone is quite bassy to counteract that and fill out more of the low end. So essentially his tone is quite a lot of bass, not a great deal of overdrive, and a LOT of volume. It's likely that a lot of the crunch in the tone comes from the volume of the amp, like how it was done in the old days before effects pedals were a thing. Combine that with Billie's technique of playing super hard and hitting the strings with the pick and your thumb at the same time, and that's the best you can hope for without splashing out on a similarly modded amp and identical guitar. 

Yeah. To be honest, I never had tone problems in those few tribute bands I sung and played in/with. Even with the same amp, you'll never get the same thing, first of all 'cause there's an entire rig behind a guitar in live shows, especially for a BIG stadium gig. Most of ''that'' Green Day sound also depends on how you play those songs. Billie Joe is one of the most underrated guitarists out there. Not that is a sort of genius but, if you don't play his songs as close as possible as he does, well, you'll never get a decent performance in terms of sonic results. 

 

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stratomaster

Alright thanks guys (sorry for the late response) for the help. I've been fiddling with the bass and gain and I actually got something similar tone at a lower volume. If I get the chance id crank the amp but I'm stuck at playing with lower volumes

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disappearingfs
5 hours ago, stratomaster said:

Alright thanks guys (sorry for the late response) for the help. I've been fiddling with the bass and gain and I actually got something similar tone at a lower volume. If I get the chance id crank the amp but I'm stuck at playing with lower volumes

 

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Jimmy Strummer
On 12/15/2017 at 10:55 PM, Spike said:

Pure volume. That's usually the missing element. Obviously distortion pedals and EQ settings can replicate it in some ways, but realistically you can't replicate sound pressure levels, and that has a lot to do with the saturation of the tone.

Exactly! This applies to Billie's tone in general, too. Any and all gain he gets is mostly from the power amp and pushing those tubes to a nice saturated break-up point rather than getting all of his crunch out of the pre-amp; and honestly, pre-amp gain is pretty overrated in most circles. A lot of pros will tell you that they prefer the warm and natural saturation of pushed power-amp tubes over the thin and clipping sound of pre-amp distortion.

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Travis.

Pretty much everything's been covered already, but if you're recording, adding tape saturation helps getting the sound closer to the record. Here's a test I did a while ago trying to get a similar sound to the album. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4gRue3A2GcxTUljdHNqMXNyUm8/view I used the "69 Super Lead" (with an added tube stage) and the Triple Treadplate (V30) cab on Bias Amp with added tape saturation using FerricTDS (Probably on the Classic Tape preset). Besides that, I didn't EQ it or anything.

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Maddie86

@Todd I think I'm gunna come up with a list of Insomniac questions for you to send along to Kevin Army within the next few days :)

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