Jeff Loomis was born on September 14, 1971 in Menasha, Wisconsin. He initially played drums, but grew bored of it and switched to guitar. He received his first guitar at 9 years old but became more serious about the instrument when he was 15 years old. During his teenage years he played in a handful of cover bands and three death metal bands around Wisconsin before joining more established bands.
Until recently he was the lead guitarist of the Progressive Metal band Nevermore. Some of his other accomplishments include the release of one solo album, two instructional DVD’s and numerous guest appearances. He cites Eddie Van Halen, Yngwie Malmsteen, Jason Becker and Mary Friedman as his primary influences.
At age 16, after winning Wisconsin’s Guitar Wars contest, Loomis auditioned for Megadeth (during the So Far, So Good…So What! era) after Jeff Young was fired from the band. After playing a few songs together, Dave Mustaine thanked Loomis and told him he would become a great guitar player but because of his age he was not right for the position. Jeff Loomis then informed Cacophony guitarist Marty Friedman about the audition, who then tried out for the position and joined the band in 1989. Loomis would then share the stage with Megadeth in 2005, when Nevermore toured with them on the Gigantour festival. Coincidently, Loomis’ co-guitarist in Nevermore, Chris Broderick, would eventually become lead guitarist of Megadeth in 2008.
Shortly after the Megadeth audition, Loomis joined the band Sanctuary – replacing guitarist Sean Bosl. However, the band broke up after 4 months. Loomis and former Sanctuary members Warrel Dance (vocals) and Jim Sheppard (bass) then made plans to form Nevermore in late 1994. He is now the band’s primary songwriter, using 7 string guitars to create a unique sound found on the band’s 8 albums and 1 EP. In 2005, Jeff reported that he would be taking a break from Nevermore to record 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.”The album, titled Zero Order Phase, was released on September 30th, 2008. During this time, Dave Mustaine invited Loomis to join Megadeth, but he declined in order to focus on the solo album.
Loomis uses Schecter 7 string guitars including his own signature model with EMG 707 pickups and a Floyd Rose tremolo. He also uses a Schecter C-7 Hellraiser with EMG 707 active pickups and a C-7 Blackjack with Seymour Duncan Blackout pickups. Prior to Schecter he used a variety of guitar models including Ibanez, Jackson, Gibson, ESP and Warmoth. Loomis previously endorsed Peavy and Krank amplification, but currently endorses ENGL Amplification and uses their Savage heads and ENGL cabinets loaded with Vintage 30s. Jeff uses Ernie Ball strings gauge 9-46+66 in Bb tuning, and 2.00 mm Dunlop Tortex Sharp picks. His effects pedals include a Maxon OD808 Overdrive, MXR stereo chorus, and a Way Huge Electronics Green Rhino Mk II.