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Michael Johnson >> Santana style >>
Lesson Subject: Santana Style
What you learn: Licks & Scales
Teacher: Michael Johnson

Michael: Our interactive lesson tonight continues our series on the style of Carlos Santana, Carlos has one of the most recognizable sounds in rock with his Latin/rock feel and using mostly the Dorian mode, this lesson will cover more of the Dorian mode and licks as you hear on the lesson sample track:

Lesson Sample

Michael: First here's the A Dorian mode.

Michael: Here's a jam track you can play the scale over:

Jam Track 1

Michael: Notice how the scale pattern has a Latin sound to it, I love this scale! Our progression is in A Minor and jumps to F:

Michael: Here's A Dorian Lick 1:

Lick 1

Michael: This lick actually starts on the next position up from the A Dorian, but it's all relative. You can also move into the next relative pattern which is called the B Phrygian. I'll give you both scale patterns:

Michael: I highlighted the root note of the B Dorian and then the entire pattern for the Phrygian, see how they share notes, or in other words they are RELATIVE, does this clarify the concept to you?

jlancaster: yes

Michael: Great, let's move to the Lick 2:

Lick 2

Michael: This lick has a cool Latin type hammer-on in the Dorian pattern. This is a common lick used by Santana, see how the first 2 licks fit together and how they jump between the 2 scale patterns. OK, lick 3, this next lick moves to a F Major arpeggio as the progression changes to F and then climbs back to the A Minor:

Lick 3

Michael: See how you cover a lot of neck using the scale pattern on the first string, and then moving up to the 12th fret position. This combination sounds very melodic. They really comes together when you play over the F on the jam track and then move into the higher pattern when the track moves to Am. I'll send you the F major and A minor arpeggios.

Michael: This should help you visualize the patterns you can use, Lick 4 will use a A minor arpeggio rake.

Lick 4

Michael: This lick basically uses the same pattern you used on lick 2, but this lime adding the A Minor pattern. You can position your hand in a chord position and rake your pick downward on the strings.

Michael: Another trick is you can use the F Maj arpeggio and move to the G Maj arpeggio while the progression is transitioning from the F chord to Am. This combination gives a "climbing" type sound which sounds very cool! Here's lick 5:

Lick 5

Michael: This next lick jumps into the F, but this time you can use a "Spanish Gypsy" scale that sounds very Latin, here's the scale pattern:

Michael: See how you have G# in the scale. Here's lick 6 using that pattern:

Lick 6

david: It's in the key of A?

Michael: Yes in the key of A Minor, the Gypsy Minor scale is relative to the A Harmonic Minor scale pattern. Here's the pattern, which you can use also by the way:

Michael: This should open more options for your solo, see how this scale has G# too. This is a scale used by Randy Rhoads, Blackmore and Yngwie as well. This next lick uses a descending hammer-on pattern on the 1st and 2nd strings using the scale patterns. Here's lick 7:

Lick 7

GeorgePrice: Where can I get more info on the Spanish Gypsy scale and its tonal structure? It seems to be a #4, b6, natural7.

George, I'm going to do a series on exotic scales soon.

jlancaster: Learned more in two nights than all year!

david: Me too :)

jlancaster: (Don't really have any theory in me) just the scales. Been playing about 8 years.

GeorgePrice: Teacher, any comments on what makes the Santana tone?

Michael: Carlos tone is actually in his technique. I've seen him play Les Pauls, SGs and Paul Reed Smiths, he can make any of those guitars sound like HIM, if you know what I mean. I've also seen him use Mesa Boogie and Marshall amps before as well. Carlos is also a master at using the wah pedal.

bluesman: George I have a line pod 6 and you can get the Santana sound real good out of it.

Michael: I'm using a Brian Moore CP-90 with a Korg Pandora Box, they work great, very cool, well class time for me to go, see you next lesson!

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