Jeff Loomis (born September 14, 1971) is an American musician, best known for his role as lead guitarist in the progressive metal band Nevermore. He is also the guitarist for Swedish melodic death metal band Arch Enemy since November 2014.
Loomis got his first instrument at nine or ten years old, but didn't 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, Marty Friedman, Jason Becker, and Brian May At the age of 16, Loomis won Wisconsin's Guitar Wars contest.
He was auditioned for Megadeth (during the So Far, So Good...So What! era) at the age of 16, after their lead guitarist Chris Poland 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. Jeff 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. Jeff 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 Jeff to join them. Jeff turned the band down in order to keep working on his solo album. Coincidentally, Loomis' 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 4 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 the 21st of April 2011, he and Van Williams left Nevermore, citing personal and musical differences with Warrel Dane.
In 2005, Jeff 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 sometime... It will be like a Jason Becker/Marty Friedman kind of thing." On April 1, 2008, Jeff 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 3 July 2008, it was announced that the album would be called Zero Order Phase . It was released 30 September via Century Media Records. During this time Dave Mustaine of Megadeth invited Jeff to join as the lead guitarist, but he declined the offer to work on his solo record.
On April 10, 2012, the second solo album Plains of Oblivion was released through Century Media Records. Guest solos on the album were done by Marty Friedman, Tony MacAlpine and Chris Poland.
In summer 2012, Jeff Loomis embarked on a North American tour with The Contortionist, Chimp Spanner, and 7 Horns 7 Eyes.
Arch Enemy (2014-present)
In November 17, 2014 Jeff 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 26th in Lyon, France when War Eternal European tour kicked off.
Loomis had a monthly column in Guitar World magazine entitled "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.
As of 2008, he is engaged.
In 2009 Guitar World released his first instructional video.
Slated for a Winter 2010 release; Jeff has recorded a 2 part instructional DVD series with RockHouseMethod. Recording took place late Fall of 2009.
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 Jeff 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.
In 2013 Loomis started touring with Soilwork.
Loomis plays various Schecter seven 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 LTD M series (either M400 or M100fm). 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 Jeff endorsed ENGL Amplification and used most of their heads at one time or another, most notably the SE 670, then the Fireball and finally their Savage heads 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. Jeff 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.
Jeff uses Ernie ball strings. His current gauge 9-46+62 in Drop A 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 using the Engl Special Edition E570 Rack-mounted Preamp with Engl 100W Stereo Poweramp.
- Maxon 808
- MXR Stereo Chorus
- Way Huge Electronics Green Rhino Mk II
- Morley Dragon Wah
- ENGL Amps - Engl Savage 120 head. Also E670
- Digidesign 002 Rack Protools unit
- Korg Padkontrol
- Apple Macbook Pro
- M Audio speakers for monitors (BX8's?)
- Kemper Profiling Amplifier
- Super Shred - Guitar World
Extreme Lead Guitar: Dissonant Scales & Arpeggios (The Rock House Method)