The Master Class with Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold Contest, presented by Guitar Center, was a nationwide search to find the country’s most talented and creative guitarists. More than 1,500 contestants downloaded the provided signature Avenged Sevenfold backing tracks of their choice, to which they were challenged to re-write and add their own original guitar performance.
The competition was assessed in two parts: the
popularity of fan growth over social media and the skill of the contestant’s
performance, originality, style and technique by a panel of judges.
For his entry, Puthoff wrote and performed a refreshing duo combining both acoustic and electric guitar. The unique marriage of his classical guitar knowledge with his heavy-metal background worked in his favor, as it was not only a fan favorite, but was hand chosen by Gates himself in the final decision making process.
“It truly is a dream come true,” Puthoff says. “When
I got the call that I had won, my heart dropped. I was completely speechless.
With Avenged Sevenfold’s City of Evil album artwork inked on Puthoff’s forearm, it’s evident that the group is his favorite band. The seductive dark tone of the Hard Rock/Metal band allured Puthoff in the sixth grade and the rest was Rock history.
“I always admired the band’s extreme uniqueness and
use of tonality,” Puthoff says.
In addition to the trip, which has been delayed due to weather, Puthoff won a Schecter Synyster Gates Special electric guitar, a behind-the-scenes tour of the Schecter factory and an Ernie Ball accessory prize pack. Although the bells and whistles are an added bonus, he’s really just looking forward to meeting and learning from his idol. “I really want to take in everything he teaches us,” Puthoff says.
every piece of advice he can get, especially when it comes to how Gates got his
start and achieved success. As lead guitarist of his own band, The Requiem, Puthoff is looking
to use this trip as an opportunity to get an insiders point of view on how to
make it in the music industry.
Puthoff and the other four members of The Requiem have been working hard to make a name for themselves here in Cincinnati. Performing at venues across the Tristate area and winning second place in a local battle of the bands competition, they’ve already built up a heavy amount of fan support and are currently working on recording and releasing their first album.
Although Puthoff’s skilled playing looks effortless,
he’s been perfecting his craft and technique for over a decade. Fueled by
countless hours of practice, dedication and hard work, he’s always strived to
be the very best. At age 8, Puthoff started taking guitar lessons at Keller
Music on the Westside of Cincinnati. In 2005, when the owner wanted to sell the
store, Puthoff’s parents stepped in to purchase and take over as owners. As a
Westside favorite for more than 40 years, they wanted to keep the business
running so their son and daughter could continue to take lessons at their beloved
childhood music domain.
In 2012 Puthoff joined forces with the family to become a teacher at Keller Music. The new and improved business recently renovated and expanded their store where they sell retail and offer lessons in guitar, bass guitar, drums, piano, mandolin and ukulele to adults and children of all ages. “The youngest student I taught was 5 years old, and the oldest was 75,” Puthoff says.
Although Puthoff enjoys teaching, his real love is
performing. His dream is what any musical artist’s is: trying to make it big.
He hopes for The Requiem to catch their big break, move to the innovative land
of California and tour the world as full-fledged signed musicians. Although the
starry-eyed guitarist has dreams of his “big breakthrough,” it truly is the
music that ignites his passion and love for what he does.
“Music to me is a shoulder to cry on or a friend to celebrate with that will always be there for me,” he says. "It’s one of the very few ways where I can put my true emotion into something and hopefully have others feel the same way I feel.”
Check out Puthoff’s winning entry video here.