Synyster Gates is best known for being the lead guitarist for the band Avenged Sevenfold. He was born Brian Haner Jr. on July 7, 1981 in Long Beach, California. He has a brother, Brent Haner, and a sister, McKenna Haner. Brent Haner is an insurance agent in Huntington Beach, CA. McKenna Haner is a musician/entrepreneur who writes songs and owns her own line of cosmetics.
Synyster Gates is married to Michelle Haner, who co-owns the sunglass company Saint Owen with her twin sister Valary Sanders who is married to M. Shadows, the lead singer of Avenged Sevenfold making them brothers-in-law.
Syn received his first electric guitar when he was ten years-old and never looked back. After spending his junior high and high school years being consumed with learning everything from Led Zeppelin to Tower of Power to Pantera, he attended Musicians Institute in Hollywood to study harmony, classical, jazz, and reading, to supplement his dream of being a studio musician.
In 2000, a year after the band was formed, he joined Avenged Sevenfold. The lineup was truly complete when his best friend Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan (who also fronted their band Pinkly Smooth) joined the band. Since then, he has received virtually every possible accolade from the guitar community. He ranks No. 87 on Guitar World’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time and was voted as Best Metal Guitarist in the World by Total Guitar in 2016 and once again in 2017. His interest in guitar has expanded from rock and metal to now include several other genres. He has studied classical and jazz extensively over the past two decades to not only improve his technique, but to also master an overall understanding of music theory. This has forced several lengthy periods of renovation in his playing to accommodate styles like Gypsy Jazz with great emphasis on the difficult technique of “Rest Stroke Picking”, to “Economy Picking” and “Legato” in the Jazz Fusion styles of Frank Gambale and Allan Holdsworth. He also studied “8 Finger Tapping” with TJ Helmerich and “Hybrid Picking” with Brett Garsed during his time at GIT.
His influences are extremely eclectic and he’s well known for applying a multitude of styles and techniques to his playing and songwriting with Avenged Sevenfold.