Between the two of us, we’ve have spent over 80 years pursuing the art of playing guitar.
Papa Gates took his first guitar lesson as a five year-old – learning the names of the strings. His most recent lesson was a video on Chromatic Mediant Modulations last week. In between, he has learned immeasurable amounts from hundreds of different sources, ranging from private lessons, to countless dog-eared books to formal schooling to paid seminars and such.
But no source has been a greater influence on both our playing than fellow guitar players. A lick here, a trick there. Maybe even just a word of advice or bit of encouragement from a player we admired.
Papa Gates started out his life with dreams of being a rockstar. He had some success in that arena, which left him with a single gold record and a hard-won appreciation for how difficult and nearly impossible it is to make a living on the road.
Before and after Papa Gates’s short career as a rockstar, he did session work, toured, wrote songs, scored films, even delved into comedy as “Guitar Guy”, and counted himself fortunate enough to make a living in the music industry.
Ironically, it was my dream to be a studio musician – like my dad. And while I have done my share of studio work, my life took a very different turn. So in a cosmic sense, we have lived each other’s dreams.
And while some of our talents overlap, we have a different set of peculiar skills. Papa Gates is old school with a twist. His roots are firmly planted in classic rock and blues but his approach technically is modern and unique; applying economy and sweep picking as well as eight finger tapping and beyond. My roots grew out of the metal and the rock bands of the 90s and later. Although we both respect each other’s musical preferences, where we truly meet is in the jazz and classical genres. We have been jamming, listening to, and studying these two infinitely layered art forms together our entire lives– it is how we complete the circle, and how we continue to learn from each other every day.
When we decided to embark together on this adventure now known as The Synyster Gates School, our goals were simple:
- We wanted to organize and share the diverse knowledge we have obtained over the years.
- We wanted to create a place where other guitar players could not only learn, but also share their own idiosyncratic knowledge and experiences.
- And lastly, we wanted to give something back to the music community that has given us so much by making it free of charge.
Our first conversation about The Synyster Gates School happened five years ago. For the first few months it was really just a number of “what if” conversations. Then came two years of developing a curriculum, followed by a year of making videos and building the right team to bring our vision to fruition.
Please believe us, this has been a labor of love and something we are extremely proud of, we have taken great pains to make The Synyster Gates School a continually evolving site that will reflect the needs, desires and wishes of all who care to be a part of it.
We are all on the same path. Some of us are just further along than others. Dive in and create your first riff to share with the community. Learn and help others learn in the comments and the discussions. The more you give – the more you get.
Founders of the Synyster Gates School