"Dirty Mind" is Prince's third album. It marks a departure in Prince's sound. Intended as a set of demos, it has a sparse sound influenced by punk and new wave.
Prince played most of the instruments on the album. It is his first to feature an outside instrumentalist, with Dr Fink appearing on the title track. Dr Fink has given some details about the keyboards used on the album. The rest of the equipment is assumed, based on the equipment used live and in music videos.
Prince toured the album from December 1980 to April 1981. The details of Prince and his band's equipment is taken from photographs and videos from this era, and interviews given by Dr Fink.
In the studio
Dirty Mind was recorded between May and June 1980 at Prince's North Arm Drive home studio. Around this time, Prince introduced his famous Hohner Madcat. Prince either used the Madcat or his Fender Telecaster on the album. Prince also used a Gibson L6S on the Dirty Mind tour so one might appear on the record.
Most of the guitars on the album were recorded clean, probably direct into the mixing board without an amp. There is a phaser on Do It All Night, probably a Mutron Bi-Phase.
For the Prince tour, Andre Cymone played a Fender Jazz bass. It is likely that Prince played one on Dirty Mind as well.
The main keyboards on this album are the Oberheim OB-X, the Arp Omni-2 and an unknown acoustic piano. Dr Fink played the intro to Dirty Mind on an Arp Omni-2. He also played another unknown synthesizer, probably an Oberheim, for the solo to Head. It's possible that the Oberheim 4 Voice also appears on the album.
Dirty Mind features a live, acoustic kit on all the songs with no additional electronic or acoustic percussion.