Mike Longworth is a serious player who is a veteran of the L.A. rock scene. He’s the guitarist in the punk rock band Mest, and has performed and toured with Jessica Sanchez, Colton Dixon, Candace Glover, Kree Harrison, and Angie Miller—all winners and runners up of American Idol. He was a member of the band Prong for many years, and has even written a song on the band’s 2012 album Carved Into Stone.
What kind of pedalboard is this, and what is your signal path?
The board and case were custom made by me. Since I use an effects loop, I have two paths going. The first path goes into the front of the amp and is the OB.1, and various tremolos, flange, and distortions. The second path is the Mobius and Timeline, and they go through the effects loop. I have it all wired into a single router that sends it out to the amp. It makes setup time very quick. And it keeps everything very neat.
You have called your pedalboard “clean and quiet”. Can you expand on that?
I keep both paths in separate true bypass loops so they keep the signal quiet while I’m not using them. It also lets me select presets before I need them. When I’m ready for a group of effects I can just hit one button on the loop pedal and engage my effects. It keeps me from having to step on multiple pedals at the same time. I also send MIDI from the Timeline into a Voodoo Lab Control Switcher, and that changes the channel on my amp all with one button.
Can you elaborate a little more on building your own pedalboard?
It mainly started as a project. I’ve always been tempted to have an actual board filled with my favorite pedals, rather than one multi-effects unit (which I still use occasionally). It was about a 6 month process going through all my pedals. Space is limited, so I didn’t want everything on there. Once I got them all in order, I wanted the whole thing to be super quiet, so I added the true bypass loops. I had contacted a few places about wiring it up and the cost was quite high. I know how to solder and I know what cables to use, so I went for it. It worked! Maybe I should build boards?
Mest recently released the new album Not What you Expected! Can you share how your pedals played a part in this album?
I don’t usually use pedals while recording. I need to recreate those sounds live though and that’s where the pedals come in. For this record, I needed certain delays, choruses, trem, and on the song “Radio” I needed to make the guitar sound like it was coming through an AM radio. I actually was able to do all of this with the help of the Timeline and Mobius.
Mest and Kisses For Kings are more hard/punk, but you also play with Jessica Sanchez. Can you share how your pedals differ between the two genres?
I really don’t change much to be honest. My current board is pretty versatile in my opinion. It’s always evolving, but where I have it now, I can get pretty much any effect and sound I want. Because I use several multi-effects units, it saves some room and keeps me from tap dancing too much. For Mest, I let my amp do most of the work as far as clean and dirty. For Jessica Sanchez, I like to go into a cleaner sound as my main, and the OB.1 and other distortions act as a dirtier sound if I need them.
Do you have any advice for musicians getting into the punk scene nowadays, has much changed since back in the day?
The punk scene hasn’t changed much in my opinion. Besides the bands who broke into the mainstream in the early 2000’s, I still see the underground scene staying alive. There are now many different sub- genres of punk, but it’s still there surviving in the underground. The best advice I can give is to just play and don’t get discouraged by what people are saying is a dead music industry. There are always going to be bands playing live and fans going to see them. That is never going to end.