Tom Doughty’s inspiring tour


Photo: © Ashley Maile

We previously brought you the amazing story of Tom Doughty; the accomplished lap slide guitarist, singer and songwriter. Tom has gained support from so many people and organisations, including MIA Members Korg UK, Shure, JHS, our partners at Creative United and our industry charity, Music for All! Here is an update on Tom’s UK wide tour of Spinal Injuries Centres… 

(Read Industry support for Tom Doughty here)

Beginning in early 2019, musician Tom Doughty will be undertaking a UK wide tour to each of the 12 Spinal Injuries Centres.
Tom has a permanent spinal injury, caused by a road accident in 1974 when he was 17. His paralysis affects all four limbs and his balance. He has a very limited claw like movement in his right hand and no movement in his left.

An acoustic lap slide guitarist, performer, songwriter, recording artist and teacher, Tom is respected musician and is well known in the UK and internationally. His condition has remained the same, but through designing and adapting equipment and years of persistence and hard work Tom has developed his own truly unique way of approaching and playing his instrument, enabling his music to be heard and accessible to all.

Tom’s philosophy is very much ‘If I can do it, you can do it’, stressing the value and importance of creating and listening to music. Additionally, for someone with a severe spinal injury, he will also demonstrate that for those with spinal injuries, the skills, fitness and strength required to play a slide guitar can offer a stimulating and motivating rehab tool.

In 2012, Tom embarked on a similar tour when he visited the 12 UK Spinal Centres where he was greeted with enthusiasm and support. At each centre, rehab staff and up to a dozen people with similar disabilities to Tom participated in a teaching workshop. Additionally, Tom provided a concert and a guitar with equipment was left at each hospital to allow the idea to germinate. Tom also provided lessons through Skype to those participants who were keen to develop their skills.

Tom explains: “When someone has a Spinal Injury, it is a time of massive change and upheaval in life, yet it is also an opportunity to have time to learn and re learn new ways to be creative”.

Tom will be visiting London, Aylesbury, Salisbury, Cardiff, Oswestry, Southport, Sheffield, Wakefield, Middlesbrough, Glasgow, Dublin and Belfast, spending a day at each centre and bringing guitars and equipment for up to 10 participants. A second guitar and adaptive equipment will be donated and Tom has recorded several instructional videos which will be permanently accessible through the internet.

The launch will take place ahead of the hugely popular Craig Ogden’s Guitar Weekend at The Bridgewater Hall from Friday 27 – Sunday 29 January where Tom will be appearing.

Tom’s tour is funded by The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, in partnership with Creative United, The Paraorchestra and friends, Shure, Korg UK, John Hornby Skewes and Diamond Bottlenecks.

Paula Wilson, Learning and Participation Manager at The Bridgewater Hall said: “Tom has a longstanding musical relationship with The Bridgewater Hall and is always very popular with audiences for his musicality and good humour. Tom’s work in the UK spinal units has the potential to be an incredibly transformative experience for people who have experienced a spinal injury, whether that be gaining a useful new skill to aid rehabilitation or discovering the joy of learning to play a musical instrument for the first time. We are excited to be supporting Tom to deliver this important project in 2019.”

Mary-Alice Stack, Chief Executive, Creative United added: “Tom is a hugely talented musician and we are delighted to be supporting his 2019 tour of spinal injury units. Through our Take it away scheme, Creative United wants as many people as possible to get involved in learning and playing music. We hope very much that Tom’s tour will provide both the practical support and inspiration needed to encourage other disabled people to discover the lap guitar and develop their musicality.”

Jonathan Harper, Chief Executive, The Paraorchestra & Friends, said: “Tom has been a member of The British Paraorchestra for over six years now and it is an absolute privilege for us to support this initiative. It is beyond any doubt that creativity and the arts have a role to play in health, well-being and recovery. Tom’s exceptional playing and his candid, encouraging style of communication is sure to create a positive impact on this tour.”

Anthony Short, Sales Director, Musician & Consumer Audio, Shure, added: “We have only recently been introduced to Tom and begun to learn about the incredible musical journey he has embarked upon. It is a pleasure to be able to support him and we wish him all the best for the forthcoming tour.”

Alan Scally, Takamine Guitars / KORG UK said: “Tom Doughty is without doubt a fine and emotive player who has used his unique set of circumstances to create a truly individual style. Takamine Guitars are proud to support Tom on his musical journey.”

Ian MCWee of Diamond Bottlenecks explained how Tom uses their product: “Tom Doughty is a truly unique slide guitarist and we are proud to support him. We got to know him through originally through supplying a couple of custom-made lead-crystal glass slides – but to facilitate Tom’s amazing slide style he needed extra weight without increased slide diameter. Tom designed and created the prototype of this featured slide and asked the team at Diamond Bottlenecks to produce his idea of what we consider to be the perfect all-round guitar slide.”


If you would like to attend or need more information please contact Shelagh Bourke on 07971 819016 or by email via shelagh.bourke@bridgewater-hall.

Tickets for Craig Ogden’s Guitar Weekend can be found at