Synyster Gates in Pittsburgh, PA.
|Birth name||Brian Elwin Haner, Jr.|
|Also known as||Synyster Gates|
|Born||July 7, 1981 (1981-07-07) |
Huntington Beach, California, United States
|Genres||Progressive metal, progressive rock, heavy metal, hard rock, thrash metal, metalcore, avant-garde metal|
|Occupations||Musician, songwriter, guitarist, vocalist|
|Instruments||Guitar, piano, vocals|
|Labels||Good Life Recordings, Hopeless, Warner Bros.|
|Associated acts||Avenged Sevenfold, Pinkly Smooth, Good Charlotte, Burn Halo, Bleeding Through, Dream Theater|
|Schecter Synyster Custom|
Brian Elwin Haner, Jr. (July 7, 1981), better known by his stage name Synyster Gates or simply Syn or "Gates", is an American musician. He is the lead guitarist for the American heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold. Guitar World magazine has ranked him one of the fastest guitar players of all-time.
Brian went to Mayfair High School in Lakewood, California and also Fountain Valley High School in Fountain Valley, California.
He graduated from the Musicians Institute in Hollywood as part of the GIT program, studying jazz guitar. Up until that time he was primarily self taught by watching music videos and reading books, which is his father was/is a songwriter and guitar player, having played with Frank Zappa during his career, and currently touring with ventriloquist/comedian Jeff Dunham under the stage name "Guitar Guy". After six or so months of being there, he got a phone call from The Rev (and the rest of the previous line up of Avenged Sevenfold barre Johnny Christ) asking him if he wanted to join the band as lead guitarist. Brian joined up with them rather than continuing his education and becoming a studio musician.
Brian joined Avenged Sevenfold when he was 18 at the end of 1999, right before the recording of the band's first album, Sounding the Seventh Trumpet. He was featured on their EP, "Warmness on the Soul", and on the reissue of their first album.
In the Avenged Sevenfold DVD All Excess, to emphasize the seemingly random placing of names, Brian stated that his name was thought of on a drunken drive through the park with The Rev. Also, his band members claim that he originally thought that he was too good to play for the band. He corrects them by saying he said no such thing.
He has won numerous awards, including the "Young Shredder" award of the year in the Metal Hammer awards in 2006 and the "Guitarist of the Year" Award for Total Guitar Magazine in 2006.
Brian along with the Avenged Sevenfold’s late drummer The Rev played in an avant-garde metal band named Pinkly Smooth. Formed in the summer of 2001 in Huntington Beach, California the band also features ex-Ballistico members: Buck Silverspur (under the name El Diablo) on bass and D-Rock (under the name Super Loop) on drums.
Since then, the band has released only one album, Unfortunate Snort on Bucktan Records, which features a crossover sound of mostly punk, ska and avant-garde. Former Avenged Sevenfold bassist Justin Meacham was also featured on keyboards and piano on the album.
Although the band has been on hiatus ever since the release of the album and had never reunited since then, members have hinted on possible works of the band in the future; this is however unlikely to happen due to The Rev's death on December 28, 2009.
Featured guest appearances
- Bleeding Through's "Savior, Saint, Salvation," track
- Good Charlotte's "The River" music video
- Burn Halo's "Dirty Little Girl" music video
- Burn Halo's "Anejo" track
- He and his father, Brian Haner Sr., recently wrote and recorded the theme song to The Jeff Dunham Show
His father, Brian Haner, Sr., is a musician and comedian known as "Guitar Guy" or "Papa Gates" and is currently on tour with Jeff Dunham. He has a younger brother, Brent, a halfsister named Mckenna and a step brother named Johnny. His mother is Jan Gera. His step mother is Suzy Haner, Brian Haner's current wife. Synyster Gates recently split with long time on again, off again, girlfriend, Michelle Dibenedetto.
Brian cites Metallica, Guns N' Roses, Pantera, The Ramones, Misfits, Beastie Boys and NOFX as his major influences. Syn's favorite bands also include Metallica, Misfits and Anthrax. The guitarists that he idolizes are Kirk Hammet, Slash, Tom Morello, Jimmy Page, Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, Kerry King, and Dimebag Darrell.
Brian endorses Schecter Guitars, as does Zacky Vengeance. Currently, his signature model is available in two different versions. The "Schecter Synyster Custom" which has the exact specifications of the guitar that he plays live (excluding the sustainiac pick-up fitted models) and the more affordable "Schecter Synyster Standard" which offers lower quality pickups, a different neck joint, a different fretboard wood and tremolo system. Before the production of his signature model, he played guitars of various brands.
Here is a list of some of the guitars he used before the production of his signature model:
- Ibanez S Series - As seen in an early performance by the band on the "All Excess" video.
- Parker Fly - As seen on Warped Tour 2004
- Gibson Les Paul - As seen in the "Unholy Confessions" music video
- Schecter Hellraiser Avenger - As seen in the "Bat Country" music video
- Schecter PT Blackjack - As seen on Warped Tour 2004
- Schecter Banshee - As seen in the Bat Country instructional video
- Schecter C1-FR - As seen in the 2005 San Diego performances
- Schecter C1-FR Hellraiser - As seen on KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas 2005
Brian has different variations of his signature model. The "Prototype Synyster Custom" that he played lacks the gothic "SYN" inlay and the "Deathbat" on the 12th fret, instead the "Deathbat" is located on the headstock. His other customs models that are not available to the public follow suits. Currently he plays the model which is available to the public that has the gothic "SYN" inlay and the "Deathbat" on the 12th fret. He also plays a white with gold stripes "Synyster Custom" usually during performances of "Dear God". This guitar is available to the public, but production is limited to a few models. Recently, one or two of his signature model that he uses live has a custom "Sustainiac Stealth Pro" sustainer humbucker pick-up fitted for its neck position which he would usually activate during his solo performance. It also can be heard during the solo of the band's cover of 'Paranoid' by Black Sabbath.
Here is a list of the different variations of his signature guitar:
- Schecter Synyster Custom (Black with Silver Pin Stripes)
- Schecter Synyster Custom (White with Gold Pin Stripes) - First Release: Only 100 made / Second Release: Limited Numbers (2009) / Third Release: Limited Numbers (2010)
- Schecter Synyster Standard (Black with Silver Pin Stripes) - Affordable version of "Synyster Custom"
- Schecter Synyster Custom (White with Red Pin Stripes) - Only 1 was made
- Schecter Synyster Custom (Black with Red Pin stripes) - Limited Numbers
The following guitars were made exclusively for Brian and are not available to the public. Much like the "First Synyster Custom", they lack the gothic "SYN" inlay and the "Deathbat" on the 12th fret with the exception of the Hard Tail Bridge "Synyster Custom".
- Prototype Synyster Custom - As seen in the 2006 Graspop Metal Meeting
- Rebel Flag Synyster Custom - As seen in the "Making of Avenged Sevenfold" video
- American Flag Synyster Custom - As seen in the "Making of Avenged Sevenfold" video
- German Flag Synyster Custom - Briefly seen in the "All Excess" video
- Black with Red Stripes Synyster Custom - As seen in the "Beast and the Harlot" music video
- Red with Black Stripes Synyster Custom - The rarest of all his guitars, never seen in public
- Hard Tail Bridge Synyster Custom - As seen in the "Almost Easy" part of the "Making of Avenged Sevenfold"
Amplifiers & Effects Unit
- Krank Distortus Maximus
- Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive
- Boss CS-3 Compresser Sustainer 
- Boss RV-5 Digital Reverb
- Frantone "The Sweet" Distortion
- Digitech Whammy Pedal
- Dunlop Crybaby from Hell
- Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Fuzz Pedal
- Sustainiac Stealth Pro Sustainer
- Visual Sound H20 Chorus & Echo
- Ernie Ball Wah Pedal
- Bogner Uberschall
- Mesa Boogie Rectifier
- Marshall JCM 800
- Mesa Boogie 4x12 Cabinets
- Marshall 4x12 Cabinets