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Hailing from Orange County, California, No Doubt has been one of the most successful young bands of the '90s. With their catchy blend of ska, pop, punk and rock, they have built a strong following and been exceptionally well received by radio program directors across the country. While the charismatic lead singer Gwen Stefani garners most of the attention, the capable musicians in the band are clearly the backbone of this ongoing success story. Their last album "Tragic Kingdom" is a multi-platinum success and the new album, "Return of Saturn" is just hitting the stores now. Dustin Hinz of Guitar Center recently took time to talk with guitarist Tom Dumont, and this is what followed.

No DoubtGC: What do you like about Hamer guitars?

Dumont: My Hamers are very well crafted instruments. They play and look beautiful. I don't want to sound like an ad for Hamer but I can play anything I want and they're the best I've found.

GC: What kind of pedals or effects do you use?

Dumont: I play the Dunlop reissues of the old MXR pedals from the 70's a lot. I use the Phase 90 and 100, the Blue-Box, and the Micro Amp. I also like the classic Crybaby Wah. I'm totally into delays right now and I use the Dan-Echo a lot. It simulates the sound of the old tape delays and I love using it for spacey dub-reggae echoes.

GC: What do you think of the guitar rig you have now? What do you use & why?

Dumont: Live I play my Hamer Korina Standard and Hamer Newport, which is a semi-hollow body electric with a Bigsby whammy on it. It stays in tune beautifully. The Newport is easily my favorite new guitar. It has all the warmth of a 335 but plays and feels more like a solid-body. I use Soldano SLO 100 amps live. They're very heavy-duty, simple and have great tone. In the studio on the new CD I mostly used a Matchless Clubman 35 or a Fender Pro Junior.

GC: What's the next thing you'd like to get? What's on your wish list?

Dumont: I have another Hamer Newport on order, with humbuckers. Other than that, I'm completely content.

GC: Say I'm an intermediate player, I already have the basic setup & I want to expand. What's the next thing I should get to improve my sound?

Dumont: Get a four-track and start writing songs and making demos. If you can afford it, get a computer hard-disk recording set up like Cubase or Protools. The principles of audio engineering are not difficult and the earlier you learn to do it the better your music will get.

GC: Do you have a home studio? If so, what's in it & what do you think about the equipment you have?

Dumont: I have a Cubase PC-based recording system and a Protools Mac-based setup. I have an Emu sampler, an Avalon tube mic preamp, a Shure SM-57 and a Neumann TLM-103 microphone. Some of the stuff No Doubt has done in my home studio has ended up on our new CD (Return of Saturn). Computer technology has advanced so far that soon everyone will be able to afford to make CDs at home.

GC: Do you practice a lot? What is your practice regimen?

Dumont: I used to practice for hours everyday. Now I only pick up the guitar when inspiration hits me. I want music to be a pleasure, not a chore.

GC: How do you write? Do you have a song-writing "routine"?

Dumont: Usually Gwen and I (or Gwen and Tony, our bass player) just sit down with an acoustic guitar and a tape recorder. If a song will work stripped down in that form, it'll always work with the full band. After creating the song together we bring it to the whole band where it really comes to life. Sometimes we'll wrestle with a song on and off for weeks and months until we get it right. It's kind of like painting with four painters, we each put our colors on and keep tweaking it until we're all satisfied. On Return of Saturn a song like "Ex-Girlfriend" took awhile to get into shape, whereas "Simple Kind of Life" and "Bathwater" were very spontaneous.

GC: What advice would you have for a young player who might want to model their career after yours? What would you tell someone who said to you: "How can I be successful and get to where you are?"

Dumont: We've been together for 13 years now, since most of us were in high school, and the thing that always kept us going was a love for what we were doing - playing shows, writing songs, making recordings. We were never really chasing success, we were just enjoying the process. Our success was a beautiful accident. When we were writing and recording Tragic Kingdom, we honestly weren't even sure it was going to get released. I would tell people to persevere and enjoy every minute. Play live and record as often as possible.

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