- Synyster Gates
Brian attended, but did not graduate 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 surprising because his father was/is a songwriter and guitar player, having played with Frank Zappa during his career. After six or so months of being there, he got a phone call from The Rev (and the rest of the current line up of Avenged Sevenfold) 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.He is also cousin of herman dominguez of soon-to-famous Rio grande valley band named black horizon.
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. He also plays piano for the band on songs such as "Beast and the Harlot" and "Sidewinder", though a friend of the band, bassist Justin Meacham, played the piano on Warmness on the Soul.
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. His exact words were: "I am Synyster Gates, and I am awesome!"
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 band's drummer The Rev formerly played in an avant-garde metal band named Pinkly Smooth. They both however quit the band as they wished to concentrate full time on Avenged Sevenfold.
Brian has a younger sister named McKenna and two brothers named Brent and Johnny (Not to be confused with Johnny Christ). His father, Brian Haner Sr., is a musician and comedian known as "Guitar Guy" or "Papa Gates" is currently on tour with Jeff Dunham.Brian cites Django Reinhardt, Dimebag Darrell, Eddie Van Halen, Slash and John Petrucci as his favorite guitarists and major influences. In June 2008, Guitar World magazine interviewed Brian, reader Shawn Butterfield asked "You're one hell of a guitarist. But who do you really look up to?" to which he responded "Definitely Slash, the Ozzy guitar dudes, Alexi Laiho from Children of Bodom, Jimi Hendrix of course, Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin, a lot man!". According to an interview, he is engaged to Michelle DiBendetto, the twin sister of Matt Sanders [Avenged sevenfolds vocalist] wife, Valerie DiBendetto
Brian is endorsed by Schecter Guitars as is 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 sustainic pick-up fitted models) and the more affordable "Schecter Synyster Standard" which offers lower quality pickups 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 Avenger - As seen in the "Bat Country" music video
- Schecter PT Blackjack - As seen on Warped Tour 2004
- Schecter C1-FR Custom Model - 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 "First 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 was limited to only 100 models. Recently, one or two of his signature model that he uses live has a "Sustainiac Stealth Pro" sustanic 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) - Only 100 made.
- Schecter Synyster Standard (Black with Silver Pin Stripes) - Affordable version of "Synyster Custom"
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 Tune-O-Matic Bridge "Synyster Custom".
- First 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
- Tune-O-Matic Bridge Synyster Custom - As seen in the "Almost Easy" part of the "Making of Avenged Sevenfold" video