As Dream Theater's new, self-titled record is about to drop next Tuesday (September 24), guitarist John Petrucci took some time to discuss some of the album's production aspects. Seeing that the effort was streamed in full prior to official release, Petrucci was asked by I Heart Guitar Blog to talk about bass guitar's more prominent position on each of the new tracks. As the guitarist said, making the bass one of the record's focal points was somewhat of a big idea. "It's difficult in our band because the guitar takes up a lot of room, the drums are busy, keyboards are just so wide and varied in tone and range, and it's sometimes hard for the bass," John said. "And a lot of time the bass is doubling the guitar, and especially with the seven-string it can be hard to differentiate. "So this time we really, really wanted to say 'Let’s get John Myung out there. Let's really distinguish the bass.' There were two ways we did that. The main way is just the talent of [studio engineer] Richard Chycki in the way he recorded John's bass, because I've never heard it sound like that. Rich worked with Rush a lot so he knew exactly how to get that Geddy Lee, out-front sound. And he did it magically." Petrucci didn't hesitate in praising the bass sound. "The bass has never sounded this good. And then the second way was to leave room in the arrangements. You'll notice a few times where the bass is on its own or the rhythm guitars drop out or there's no keyboards and it's just guitar, bass and drums. By doing that arrangement-wise we left more room for the bass to fill out. And I love it.
"Some of my favorite moments on the album to listen to are those bass moments, and it's great to hear John out front like that." Interestingly enough, the guitarist then reminisced the early days, saying, "When we were really young and going to Berklee that's the way he used to sound! He used to be almost a lead bass player. And if you listen to our really early demos the bass was crankin'. It was so loud! And it hasn't been that way in a long time, so it's kinda fun!" Did you get to check out the new album? What do you think of the bass lines? Let us know in the comments.