Jeff Loomis (born September 14, 1971) is an American musician, best known for his role as lead guitarist in the progressive metal band Nevermore during its existence from 1991 to 2011, as well as brief tenures in its precursor, Sanctuary. In 2014, he joined Swedish melodic death metal band Arch Enemy, and in 2021 he joined Graham Bonnet's Alcatrazz as well. As a solo artist he has released two albums and one EP.
|Born||September 14, 1971|
|Genres||Progressive metal, melodic death metal, thrash metal, groove metal, neoclassical metal, death metal, instrumental rock, black metal|
Loomis got his first instrument at nine or ten years old, but did not start practicing seriously until around the age of 15. As a teenager in Wisconsin he played in a handful of cover bands and three death metal bands before joining more established bands. Guitarists whose style influenced Loomis are Yngwie Malmsteen, Ritchie Blackmore, Marty Friedman, Jason Becker, Tony Iommi and Brian May At the age of 16, Loomis won Wisconsin's Guitar Wars contest.
He auditioned for Megadeth (during the So Far, So Good...So What! era) at the age of 16, after their lead guitarist Jeff Young was fired from the band. After they played a few songs together, Dave Mustaine, the band's frontman and other lead guitarist, thanked Loomis and told him that one day he would become a great guitar player, but because of his age he was not right for the position. Loomis saw Cacophony on tour, and told Marty Friedman, who became very interested, about the audition. Marty tried out for the position and joined the band in 1989. In 2005, Loomis would then share the stage with Megadeth, as the lead guitarist for Nevermore as part of Mustaine's Gigantour festival. Loomis began to work on his solo album Zero Order Phase. At this time Megadeth were having tryouts for a new guitarist once again and invited Loomis to join them. He turned the band down in order to keep working on his solo album. Coincidentally, Loomis's co-guitarist in Nevermore, Chris Broderick, auditioned for Megadeth and was given the part.
Not too long after being auditioned for the lead part in Megadeth (which was also auditioned for by Steve Smyth and Chris Broderick, both playing for his later band Nevermore at different points), Loomis was unable to join the band Sanctuary after guitarist Sean Blosl had left. He was able to take his place at this time; however, because of a dispute caused by guitarist Lenny Rutledge wanting to make grunge oriented music, Sanctuary broke up four months afterwards.
After the break-up, Loomis and former Sanctuary members Warrel Dane (vocalist) and Jim Sheppard (bassist) made plans to form Nevermore, and in late 1994, Loomis became the lead guitarist of Nevermore after the brief period being in Sanctuary. During his time in the band he was the main songwriter of Nevermore. His contributions can be found in albums such as The Politics of Ecstasy, Dreaming Neon Black, This Godless Endeavor (including Steve Smyth, who previously featured in the band Testament) and Nevermore's 2010 album, The Obsidian Conspiracy. Loomis played an important role in developing the sound that Nevermore has today, using 7-string guitars and techniques such as sweep picking. One of his more important musical showcases is the critically acclaimed album Dead Heart in a Dead World, for which he wrote most of the songs before Nevermore. On April 21, 2011, he and drummer Van Williams left Nevermore, citing personal and musical differences with Warrel Dane.
In 2005, Loomis reported that he would take some time as a break and then begin recording a solo album. He said, "It's something I've been wanting to do for some time ... It will be like a Jason Becker/Marty Friedman kind of thing." On April 1, 2008, Loomis said that all 10 songs which had been written had had the drum parts recorded (done by Mark Arrington pretty much overnight) and they would soon begin tracking the rhythm guitar. On July 3, 2008, it was announced that the album would be called Zero Order Phase. It was released September 30 via Century Media Records. It features guest solos from Ron Jarzombek, Pat O'Brien, and bassist Michael Manring. During this time Dave Mustaine of Megadeth invited Loomis to join as the lead guitarist, but he declined the offer to work on his solo record.
In 2010, he played a guest guitar solo on Keith Merrow's album Awaken the Stone King, released on January 1, 2011. He also played another guest solo in the song "Racecar" on Periphery's self-titled debut album.
It was announced in July 2013, that Loomis would be teaming up with Keith Merrow, Alex Webster of Cannibal Corpse, and Alex Rüdinger of The Faceless to record an instrumental album titled Conquering Dystopia, the recording of which will be funded by donations.
On November 17, 2014, Loomis was announced as the new guitarist of melodic death metal band Arch Enemy, replacing Nick Cordle. His first show with them was on November 26 in Lyon, France, when War Eternal European tour kicked off.
In January 2019, Loomis said he had been working on material for an upcoming third solo album.
Loomis had a monthly column in Guitar World magazine titled "Merchant of Menace", where he explained how to play the riffs and solos of Nevermore. In more recent columns, his former co-guitarist in Nevermore, Steve Smyth has co-written the column, which is dubbed "The Merchants of Menace". He has also been featured in Young Guitar Magazine, showing guitarists how to play and explain his style and signature guitar in Nevermore.
In 2009, Guitar World released Loomis's first instructional video.
Slated for a late 2010 release, Loomis has recorded a two-part instructional DVD series with RockHouseMethod. Recording took place late fall of 2009.
Loomis plays various Schecter seven (and occasionally six) string guitars, including the Jeff Loomis C7 FR Signature Model with EMG 707 pickups and a Floyd Rose tremolo. He also plays a Schecter C-7 Hellraiser with EMG 707 active humbucker pickups, and the C-7 Blackjack with the Seymour Duncan Blackout pickups. Prior to Schecter he played a wide variety of guitars including Ibanez (Politics of Ecstasy period), Gibson, Jackson (Dreaming Neon Black period), ESP (Dead Heart... period), and Warmoth. In the video for "Believe in Nothing" he can be seen using an ESP LTD H-307. He also owns a custom ESP Horizon 7. He endorsed Peavey amplifiers and used their XXX head. After that he endorsed Krank amplifiers and could be seen live using the Krankenstein heads and cabs. As of 2008 Loomis endorsed Engl Amplification and used most of their heads at one time or another, most notably the SE 670, then the Fireball then their Savage heads and then the Engl Special Edition E570 Rack-mounted Preamp with Engl 100W Stereo Poweramp.and Engl cabs loaded with Vintage 30s. Early in 2007, Schecter guitars brought out the Jeff Loomis Signature Schecter 7-string, based on the C-7 Hellraiser model. It features the EMG 707 active pickups, ash body in 'vampyre red satin' and three piece maple neck with maple fretboard and Sperzel locking tuners. At NAMM 08 a new signature model was released. It is the same as his other one but it has a fixed bridge instead of a Floyd Rose. Loomis can also been seen on YouTube playing an electro acoustic LAG Tramontane T100 ASCEBLK.
In January 2014, Schecter announced that the Loomis series had undergone a redesign. They now feature EMG 57-7H and 66-7H active-housed pickups, all-black hardware, a thinner body with a deeper archop, a thinner, un-tinted neck, repositioned volume and toggle controls, stainless steel frets, and the options of either a Hipshot hard-tail bridge (JL-7), instead of the previous TonePros Tune-O-Matic bridge, or a Floyd Rose floating bridge (JL-7FR). The neck was also repositioned for better upper-fret access. It is available in either vampyre red satin or gloss black. and for case on JLFR7 use Schecters SGR1C hard shell case. In 2016, the guitars began featuring Loomis's signature Seymour Duncan active pickups.
As of March 2018 Loomis has left Schecter stating more freedom to play other guitars in his collection, notably Les Pauls and Strats. In December 2018, he became a Jackson endorsed artist and is under development of a signature model to be released in January 2019.
Loomis uses Ernie Ball strings. His current gauge 9-46+62 in B♭ tuning, he used to use a heavier 10–52 (skinny top, heavy bottom) + 70 gauge along with Dunlop Tortex 1.5 mm Sharp picks. For amplification he is currently using the Line6 Helix rack with Seymour Duncan PowerStage 700.