Carlos Santana

Carlos Santana, the multi-Grammy Award winning Mexican rock guitarist was born on July 20, 1947, in Autlán de Navarro, Mexico. In 2003, he was awarded the 15th spot in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”. Santana has a total of 10 Grammy Awards and 3 Latin Awards under his belt. Apart from his music, he is also known for his work as a philanthropist. Santana’s Milagro Foundation supports underprivileged youth in the areas of health, education and arts. When not busy strumming up a storm with his guitar, the guitar legend uses his culinary expertise to create Mexican dishes for his Maria Maria chain of restaurants in California, Arizona and Texas.                                            

Santana was born with the music in him. His father was a mariachi violinist, and young Santana followed in his father’s footsteps and started playing the violin when he was just five years old. He found his true calling when he was eight, as that is when his musical genius with the guitar came to the forefront. Santana’s family moved to Tijuana and then on to San Francisco during the 1960s, and in 1966, Santana formed the Santana Blues Band, which was later shortened to just Santana. The band’s style was immediately noticed, and their stupendous success at Woodstock 1969 was followed by the release of Santana’s first album Santana, by Columbia records. The album made it to the fourth position on the U.S album charts, and “Evil Ways” climbed up to the ninth position on the Billboard Hot 100.

The rest, as they say, is history.  Santana’s electrifying blues guitar, combined with Latin American and African rhythms, made the band’s second album Abraxas a super duper hit, thanks to sensational numbers like "Black Magic Woman" and "Oye Como Va". After multiple gold and platinum albums and major upheavals within the band, Santana finally released his first solo album Oneness, Silver Dreams, Golden Reality in 1979.  More albums followed, both with the band and as a solo artist, as did collaborative efforts with Buddy Miles, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Willie Nelson and Dave Matthews. The title track of his 1987 album Blues for Salvador fetched Santana his first Grammy award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. The year 1999 was the highlight of his musical career, with the release of the multiple-platinum album Supernatural.  The singles “Smooth” and “Maria Maria” topped all the charts, the album sold over ten million copies, and garnered a total of nine Grammy Awards. 

Coming to his guitars, Santana mainly played a Yamaha SG 175B till 1982, and occasionally a white Gibson SG Custom with 3 open coil pick-ups. A custom made PRS guitar was his choice of instrument since 1982, while now he uses a Santana II model guitar with PRS Santana III pickups with nickel covers and a tremolo, with .009-.042 gauge D'Addario strings. The unique tone that Santana is famous for is thanks to the use of a single piece of solid Brazilian rosewood to create the fretboards and guitar necks. He also uses the classical Alvarez Yairi CY127CE guitar at times. Carlos Santana’s music has always had a global audience. The artist attributes this to his spiritual nature, which, he says, has given this universal appeal to his music. The artist has stated in most interviews that his music knows no borders and that is the way it should be. In one particular interview, Santana had said, “I have the courage to say I transcended and graduated being American or Mexican or all that kind of stuff. I have no allegiance or alliance to any flag or country”. The world agrees.
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'Santana Style' 23m27s Blues Backing Track In F Tempo: 70bpm
Santana-ize your Blues
'Santana Style' 22m41s Blues Backing Track In G Tempo: 85bpm
Santana-ize your Blues in G - Buy Now