Synyster Gates

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Synyster Gates
20180603 Nürnberg Rock im Park Avenged Sevenfold 0744.jpg
Synyster Gates performing at Rock im Park 2018
Background information
Birth nameBrian Elwin Haner Jr.
Also known as
  • Synyster Gates
  • Syn
  • Gates
Born (1981-07-07) July 7, 1981 (age 38)
Long Beach, California, United States
  • Musician
  • guitarist
  • songwriter
  • Guitar
  • vocals
  • drums
  • piano
  • bass guitar
  • violin
Years active1999–present
Associated acts

Brian Elwin Haner Jr. (born July 7, 1981), better known by his stage name Synyster Gates or simply Syn, is an American musician, best known for being the lead guitarist and backing vocalist of the band Avenged Sevenfold. He ranks No. 87 on Guitar World's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Gates was voted as Best Metal Guitarist in the World by Total Guitar in 2016 and once again in 2017.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Synyster Gates is the son of musician, author, and comedian Brian Haner, Sr., who worked with Sam the Sham's band in the 1970s and has done session work for Avenged Sevenfold. Gates studied at the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, California, as part of the Guitar Institute of Music program, studying jazz and classical guitar. In his early years, Gates was taught by renowned Romanian guitar virtuoso Radu Cristianson-Perdu the 3rd. Gates is of Spanish and German ancestry.


Besides metal music, Synyster Gates is a big fan of jazz, gypsy jazz, classical and avant-garde. He cites Dimebag Darrell, Steve Vai, John Petrucci, Slash, Marty Friedman, Zakk Wylde, Allan Holdsworth, Mr. Bungle, Frank Gambale, and Oingo Boingo as his artistic influences.[3]

Avenged Sevenfold[edit]

Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance performing in 2011.

Gates was featured on the EP Warmness on the Soul which contains select songs from the first album as well as his new version of "To End The Rapture". His name on Avenged Sevenfold's debut album was "Synyster Gates".

On the Avenged Sevenfold DVD All Excess, Gates claimed that his name was created on a drunken drive through the park with the Rev.

Synyster Gates Performing Live 2017

Gates was voted Sexiest Male in the 2008 Kerrang Readers Poll. In 2010, Guitar World listed him as one of the 30 greatest shredders of all time. They described him as being able to perform finger-twisting licks, acrobatic sweeps, devilish chromatics and towering dual-harmonies. Gates was chosen as one of Guitar Hero's 50 fastest guitarists. On Guitar World's 2010 Readers Poll, Gates was chosen Snappiest Dresser and the Best Metal Guitarist. Rock One Magazine's 2010 Readers Poll voted Gates the No. 3 best musician in the industry. On April 20, 2011, Gates won the Revolver Golden God award for Best Guitarist along with bandmate, Zacky Vengeance. Avenged Sevenfold picked up numerous other awards and delivered the headlining performance of the night.[4] In the Special Edition of Revolver magazine that was released the same day as the Nightmare album, Gates stated that he originally started out writing the song "So Far Away" in honor of his grandfather. However, the song is now primarily about his former bandmate, best friend and previous drummer of A7X, the Rev,[5] who died on December 28, 2009.

Pinkly Smooth[edit]

Gates and The Rev played in an experimental metal band named Pinkly Smooth. Formed in the summer of 2001 in Huntington Beach, California, the band featured ex-Ballistico members Buck Silverspur on bass and D-Rock on drums. The band released one album, Unfortunate Snort on Bucktan Records, which features a crossover sound of mostly punk, ska and progressive metal. Former Avenged Sevenfold bassist Justin Sane played keyboards and piano on the album. There was speculation that Pinkly Smooth was going to produce another record, but due to the death of the Rev, it is highly unlikely that they will produce any more material. However, Gates has said that he would consider remastering the tracks from Unfortunate Snort and re-releasing the album.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Synyster Gates married Michelle DiBenedetto on May 7, 2010. The couple have two children, a son, Nicolangelo "Nicci" Saint James Haner, born May 12, 2017, and a daughter, Monroe Saint James, born October 20th, 2019.

Michelle's twin sister, Valary, is married to M. Shadows, making Shadows and Gates brothers-in-law.


With Avenged Sevenfold[edit]

With Pinkly Smooth[edit]

Featured guest appearances[edit]


Schecter Synyster custom

Synyster Gates uses mainly Schecter Guitars. Schecter Guitar Research has been sponsoring him and he has signature Avenger models. He has also been using Gibson Guitars when Avenged Sevenfold was recording Waking the Fallen and City of Evil. He has his own Seymour Duncan pickups, a custom SH-8 Invader, with Black, Gold, White or Chrome caps.[6][7]

  • Schecter Synyster Custom-S(Black with Silver pinstripes, Black with Gold pinstripes, Black with Red pinstripes, White with Gold pinstripes, White with Black pinstripes, Gold Burst, Dark Earth Burst)
  • Schecter custom models with Rebel flag, American flag, German flag, Black with Red Stripes, Red with Black Stripes, White with Gold Stripes, White with Black Stripes, one featuring Jack Nicholson's Joker art and color scheme.
  • Schecter Synyster Gates Custom with "REV" inlays on fret board, instead of "SYN" featured in the 'So Far Away' music video
  • Schecter Synyster Custom
  • Schecter Synyster Acoustic
  • Schecter Synyster 8-String Prototype
  • Schecter Synyster Deluxe Prototype
  • Schecter Synyster Special
  • Schecter Avenger
  • Schecter C-1 Classic - Transparent Blue
  • Schecter Custom C-1 FR
  • Schecter Omen-6 FR
  • Gibson ES-335
  • Schecter Hellraiser C-1 FR(white, black)
  • Schecter Scorpion with Seymour Duncan JBs
  • Schecter PT Fastback
  • Schecter S-1 loaded with Seymour Duncan JBs
  • Gibson Les Paul Custom (arctic white)
  • Parker Fly
  • Epiphone Rockbass
  • Fernandez Guitars FR95s with a sustainer single coil pickup as seen on "Making of Brompton Cocktail" [8]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Avenged Sevenfold's Synyster Gates: Being Called A 'Torchbearer' By Zakk Wylde Is 'An Unbelievable Honor'". 2014-07-19. Retrieved 2015-12-13.
  4. ^ Brandon Geist (2011-06-01). "Exclusive Interview: Avenged Sevenfold's Synyster Gates Talks the Revolver Golden Gods - Hard Rock & Heavy Metal News | Music Videos |Golden Gods Awards". Retrieved 2015-12-13.
  5. ^ a b "Synyster Gates Talks Pinkly Smooth And More With Binaural". Retrieved 2015-12-13.
  6. ^ "Avenged Sevenfold - Synyster Gates Guitar Gear Rig and Equipment".
  7. ^ [1] Archived January 28, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Making of "Brompton Cocktail"". YouTube. 2008-07-05. Retrieved 2015-12-13.