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Lyle Ronglien >> Rock Legends >>


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, Surrender.

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.

3 chords

Lyle: The chord progression is like this:

chord chart

Lyle: Here's a tab to show you exactly how to play the rhythm guitar part:

acoustic rhythm riff

Lyle: Here's a jam track you'll use to practice playing the rhythm and solo riffs to:

Looping Sound Clip 1

Lyle: Carlos likes to use minor keys when writing and soloing. In this lesson you'll be using the C natural minor scale:

Lyle: 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 variation.

solo - riff 1

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.

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.

solo - riff 2

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 3

Lyle: Carlos would play riffs just like this, but fast like in the lesson sample. Now the next riff to follow riff 3:

Lyle: 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" section:

Lyle: It has the classic "bend the note up and sustain it like Carlos" riff! Now you're back to the theme melody from earlier:

Lyle: 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 guitar.

Rich: How do you "sustain" the notes like Carlos?

Lyle: Rich, when you want to sustain a note for a long period, make sure you don't let up your finger pressure.

mckaynj: Are there video clips for solo riff 4 thru 6?

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 for info about getting your own private lessons using this software. Thanks and see you at the next lesson! - Lyle

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