Avenged Sevenfold Guitarists Discuss Their Wicked Playing Styles
GW Zacky, do you come from a musical family?
VENGEANCE My dad played some guitar, and both my parents are fans of music and have huge record collections. I remember when I was a kid, every time the Beatles were on the radio my dad would say he’d give me a dollar if I could tell him what band it was. So by the time I was about nine I knew to just say “the Beatles,” and I’d get a dollar out of it. [laughs] And I still have my dad’s first guitar, a Yamaha acoustic, which also happened to be my first guitar. It’s a right-handed model, so I flipped it upside down and learned to play [Bob Marley’s] “Redemption Song” on one string. Basically, everything I’ve learned on guitar I’ve learned from listening to my favorite albums. I never had any formal training. My teachers were Dimebag Darrell and Slash and the guys in Rancid and Slayer.
GW Synyster, as a teenager you attended GIT with a focus on jazz guitar.
GATES I was in love with metal and jazz, though what I studied was more fusion oriented, actually. And then I also did a lot of traditional, old-school bebop jazz–type stuff.
GW And your father, Brian Haner, is also a professional musician.
GATES He was a studio guy back in the day. He did a bunch of work with Tower of Power, Rose Royce—a lot of R&B and funk-type stuff. And when he was about 17, he played with Frank Zappa. I think it was around the 200 Motels period , though he’s not on any of Zappa’s albums. But he always plays a little bit on our records, and he’s definitely shown me quite of bit of shit over the years.
GW Anything you’ve shown him?
GATES Well, when I started getting into sweep picking I noticed he was popping into my room a bit more.
GW So you taught Dad how to sweep?
GATES Fuck yeah, dude!
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