ROCK LEGENDS III - CARLOS SANTANA
Santana Lesson Sample
Lyle: Since the
late '60s Carlos Santana has been a successful touring and recording musician
with the group that bears his last name. He has also recorded other albums
collaborating with many other artists. Born and raised in Mexico and the son of
a mariachi violinist, Carlos began playing violin at age five, then switching to
guitar by age eight. The family moved to Tijuana as Carlos began to play local
clubs and bars. Soon the family moved to San Francisco,
Carlos graduated from high school there in '65, and by 1966 Carlos put together
the Santana Blues Band. They debuted at the famous Fillmore West Theater in San
Francisco on June 16th, 1968. Santana also played Woodstock in August of '69
among many other gigs.
Lyle: Many hit albums and many years later,
Carlos recorded the biggest selling album of his career, "Supernatural" selling
over ten million copies and winning a total of eight Grammy Awards in 1999. In
1998 he was inducted into the Rock 'n Roll Hall Of Fame. Suggested listening: Best of Santana or
Santana's Greatest Hits and a favorite of mine Love, Devotion,
Lyle: Carlos plays PRS
guitars and has used Mesa Boogie amps. To help recreate his smooth tone I
suggest you use your neck pickup and turn your tone control on
your guitar for that pickup down to about 2 or 3 on a scale of 1 - 10. Your amp
can be set for an average overdrive setting (I'm using an AC/DC preset on my
Voodu Valve) with the tone controls set to medium. You don't need any other
effects. Carlos used a wha-wha many times too.
Lyle: Listen to the lesson sample,
you'll be learning how to play it! It's a little jam built from just 3
chords, Cm, Fm and G7.
The chord progression is like this:
Lyle: Here's a tab to show you exactly how to
play the rhythm guitar part:
Lyle: Here's a jam track you'll use
to practice playing the rhythm and solo riffs to:
Lyle: Carlos likes to use minor keys
when writing and soloing. In this lesson you'll be using the C natural minor
Many of the songs Carlos has recorded over the years are instrumental, they
don't have vocals. Carlos would make up a vocal line out of
a melody from the scale, then create variations of it, then bust loose with a
solo. Listen to this next tab, solo - riff 1.
You'll hear the theme created from notes of the C minor scale, then a simple
solo - riff 1
Lyle: In the next riff, you'll hear the solo
move away from the theme for a few blues riffs, then coming back to the theme
melody to end the riff.
Lyle: The variations come at
the end of each "theme". The 4th and 8th measure has different
endings to the theme melody. Example: The theme is introduced as a
melody during the first 3 measures and the 4th measure has an ending to
it. Then in measures 5 thru 7 the theme
melody is played again but this time in measure 8 you get a different ending, a
variation of the ending used in measure 4.
solo - riff
Lyle: Now a quick solo section where you'll
move away from the theme melody. Here's the first riff. Learn it slow,
play it fast!
solo - riff
Lyle: Carlos would play riffs just like this,
but fast like in the lesson sample. Now the next riff to follow riff
My favorite part of this riff is the first note of measure 2, the way it has a
fast vibrato to me sounds just like a Santana riff. Loop the tab and try to play the riff
exactly in time with me. Get that fast little vibrato in.
Lyle: Here's the final riff to our "solo"
It has the classic "bend the note up and sustain it like Carlos"
riff! Now you're back to the theme melody from
That's all the parts from the lesson sample. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I
did making it! I have always liked the way Carlos plays
How do you "sustain" the notes like
Lyle: Rich, when you want to sustain a note
for a long period, make sure you don't let up your finger
mckaynj: Are there video clips for solo riff 4 thru
Lyle: I believe video 3 has footage of riffs
3, 4 and 5. Riff 6 is just like riff 1.
Lyle: Thanks everyone for being here
tonight. If you have a favorite Santana song you would like to learn, email at
Lyle @theguitar.net for info about getting your own private lessons using this
software. Thanks and see you at the next lesson! - Lyle