Tom Longworth - Robbie Williams' lead guitarists talks about his rig

Tom Longworth - Robbie Williams' lead guitarists talks about his rig

Tom Longworth’s resume is pretty impressive. Having previously session’d for Charlotte Church, Natalie Imbruglia and Gabrielle Aplin, he’s currently touring with Robbie Williams. Tom started off as a gigging musician in the late 90s, and quickly graduated from playing in his own band to rocking stadium gigs with A-list stars.

We caught up with Tom to find out (among other things) why he played an Ibanez Les Paul copy at Wembley Stadium, and how the humble volume pedal changed the game for him…

 

MPS
What kind of work do you get the most satisfaction out of?

TL
I love gigging! Nothing beats the feeling of being on stage. I feel very at home on stage be it a small or large show, it doesn't matter. But, I also love to work in the studio. Being able to use the guitar as more of a tool to be creative, being able to layer tracks and experiment with effects and new sounds to create something new and fresh has always been very appealing to me. 

MPS
Can you pick out a favourite gig? 

TL
Playing four nights at Wembley Stadium on the Take The Crown Tour 2013 was pretty special, although I have to admit those weren't my favourite shows of the tour. Some of the smaller stadiums, especially in Germany and Denmark where you can still see the back row were amazing! I still have very fond memories of playing small pub shows in my hometown of Birmingham like The Jug Of Ale in Moseley, which is no longer there. Some of those nights were the best of my life. My favourite show so far to date with Robbie has to be the O2 Arena where we did three nights with the final night going live out on Sky1... That was a really amazing show.

MPS
Who do you count among your musical influences?

TL
I grew up listening to The Beatles, Dire Straits and Simon and Garfunkel in the car with my dad. I remember being amazed by some of the stuff I would hear. George Harrison's Cloud 9 always sticks with me from that time. Jeff Lynne is an amazing producer. I got into Def Leppard and Guns N’Roses through my sister and then moved on up to Nirvana. I was obsessed. From there I got heavily into Red Hot Chili Peppers and also Pink Floyd. My guitar heros are John Frusciante, George Harrison and Dave Gilmour. Less is more... 

MPS
If you could go back to any musical era what would it be? 

TL
The obvious answer would be the 70's. I really think I'd have had an amazing time musically in the 70's as well as recreationally! (joke) But more recently I've been reminiscing about the 90s! It's amazing how its becoming retro already. I must be getting old... I think I'm having a mid-life crisis and want to relive my youth! Mid-life CRISIS! I'm 34... But, yes, the 90's are very special to me for so many reasons. The Word, TFI Friday, Oasis vs Blur, Glastonbury 97, the list goes on.... It was a great time to grow up. 

MPS
What was your first guitar? 

TL
My Father bought me my first acoustic guitar when I was 11. A Fender standard acoustic. All I wanted was an electric, but I stuck with it and after two years came my first electric, an Ibanez Les Paul copy 1976. It cost £85 from the old Musical Exchanges in B'ham and was just amazing! As the years went on and I acquired further guitars and eventually my first Gibson, the Ibanez took a back seat, and was unfortunately neglected a little. I brought it into Robbie rehearsals a few years back and my guitar tech at the time, Adam Birch put a few hours in on the set up etc, and it was like a new guitar, and I have used it at both Wembley and the O2 shows... My Dad was very proud! 

MPS
What guitar(s) are you playing at the moment? 

TL
My main guitar is a Gibson Les Paul '58 reissue which has the huge baseball bat neck. I then have; Gibson S.G from 1997, an amazing guitar! Gibson 335, Fender Strat '62 reissue, Ibanez LP Copy '76, Bill Nash Telecaster, Nick Huber Krautster Custom, Nick Huber Krautster Standard, Takamine Acoustic, and a couple of Faith acoustics which work great! 

MPS
Which amps are you currently using? 

TL
I am currently running three amps together as my main tone. A 1983 Marshall JCM800 2204 50W, Marshall Vintage Modern 2266 50W and a Blackstar Artisan 100W. The JCM800 is set kinda like an Angus Young tone, with the Vintage Modern set with a bassier darker driven tone. Then I add the Blackstar in the mix set quite bright and due to it being 100w not as driven with a much cleaner tone... All three together blend perfectly... 

MPS
Tell us about your Timeline and Big Sky, what made you chose them? 

TL
I've heard so much about them and they looked really cool too! We needed MIDI capability for this tour, so they were the perfect choice. The sounds are great! I can't wait to get even further into them over time... 

MPS
What else do you have on your pedalboard? 

TL
It looks impressive, but there isn't really that much on there in the way of crazy effects. I use the Gigrig G2 switching system, which seems to do the job very well, and has MIDI which is useful with the Strymons of course! I have a bunch of Wampler pedals who I am endorsed by. I tend to swap and change the Wampler stuff around depending what show I am playing... at the moment, I am using the Ego Compressor and the Euphoria. I love Xotic Pedals! I use the BB Preamp and the EP Booster, both great pedals. Then I have a Lovepedal Kalamazoo, which I use for one track, a fuzz for Rock DJ, Line 6 M9 which has every effect known to man in it! Haha... great for having everything you may need at your fingertips. Dime Bag Darrell CFH Wah (one of the best I've ever played) and an Ernie Ball volume pedal.... Oh and the Strymons! 

MPS
Is there anything you have parted with that you really miss? 

TL
I've never really sold anything to be honest. Especially guitars. Being left handed, you just keep everything... Oh, there was a Marshall JMP 50, I think, which I had when I was 16. I sold that and kinda regretted it a few years later, I'm sure I let it go for too little! 

MPS
Can you think of anything that really changed things for you, and why? 

TL
Volume Pedal. That's the most important part of my rig for me. I just can't live without it now, and feel lost without it. It really isn't the number one choice for most guitarists as a life-changing pedal, but it really did change the way I play. Amazing when using the slide and mixing with reverb and delay... 

MPS
Is there any advice you can offer to people starting out on their musical journeys? 

TL
Be Kind. Be good. Be strong. Have a good time, all the time. The most important thing for me is getting out there and playing with other musicians. You can rehearse all you like at home on your own, but it is worth a 100 times more to learn how to interact with other people. You learn so much more and also meet people. That's half the battle... Getting yourself out there and known to others! 

Find out more about what Tom is up to: 

tomlongworth.co.uk

@tomlongworth

facebook.com/tomlongworthguitarist

High Resolution Images