ROCK

This month Martin Cooper checks out the unique solo­ing style of Latin blues-rock-jazz mae­stro, the leg­endary Car­los San­tana.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Martin Cooper goes south of the bor­der for a les­son in Latin licks from Car­los San­tana.

Car­los San­tana formed the band that shares his sur­name in 1967 and has been guid­ing it to­wards sold-out tours and multi-plat­inum al­bum sales ever since. It was in 1969 when San­tana played at Wood­stock that the band first came to the at­ten­tion of mu­sic fans, partly be­cause they pro­vided a con­trast to many of the other acts that played that week­end. The band and its leader have tried their hand at many styles of mu­sic, but al­ways stayed true to their Latin roots. They have recorded with con­tem­po­rary artists such as Jen­nifer Lopez and Chad Kroeger and scored a world­wide hit with the Rob Thomas fronted Latin pop song, Smooth.

San­tana were in­ducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 and have also won eight Grammy and three Latin Grammy Awards. They re­cently re­leased the al­bum San­tana IV, which also fea­tures Jour­ney gui­tarist Neal Schon who played with San­tana as a young gui­tar slinger in the ‘70s. The band hasn’t al­ways en­joyed suc­cess - the ‘80s and early ‘90s were lean in terms of com­mer­cial sales, but their suc­cess was re-ig­nited with Smooth from 1999’s Su­per­nat­u­ral al­bum.

San­tana’s style draws from Latin rock, jazz, blues and salsa and the band has a unique sound. Car­los be­gan play­ing gui­tar at age eight, learn­ing from his fa­ther who was a mari­achi mu­si­cian. He is fa­mous among gui­tar fans for his rich PRS tone, and fluid lead lines that in­fuse his songs, weav­ing around the vo­cal lines ef­fort­lessly. His in­flu­ences in­clude Jimi Hen­drix and Peter Green, whose song Black Magic Woman is one of San­tana’s most well-known record­ings. He also used a Fender Prince­ton amp mod­i­fied by Ran­dall Smith, and upon re­mark­ing to him: “Man that lit­tle amp re­ally boogies” ac­tu­ally caused Smith to cre­ate the name Boo­gie when he be­gan to pro­duce amps com­mer­cially.

This month’s track is Latin flavoured and is in the key of B Mi­nor. B Har­monic Mi­nor scale is B-C#-D-E-F#-G-A#, which is why there’s an F# chord in the song, giv­ing it a dis­tinctly Latin vibe. The parts aren’t dif­fi­cult and there’s a lot of re­peat­ing pro­gres­sions and har­mony, but you’ll need to have con­fi­dence and author­ity. The rhythm gui­tar uses soul and blues ideas and the chart is just writ­ten for one gui­tar, as Car­los very of­ten com­bines a rhythm part with some lead lines. Check out the Play­ing Tips and Get The Tone box for fur­ther in­for­ma­tion.

CAR­LOS RE­mARKED TO RAN­DALL SmITh, ‘mAN ThAT LIT­TLE Amp RE­ALLY BOOGIES’ CAuS­ING SmITh TO CRE­ATE ThE NAmE mESA BOO­GIE whEN hE BE­GAN TO mAKE AmpS.

Car­los San­tana: orig­i­nal Mesa Boo­gie user and top PRS stal­wart

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