Santana played a red Gibson SG Special with P-90 pickups at the Woodstock festival. In the time of Abraxas and Santana III (1970–1972), He used different Gibson Les Pauls and a Black Gibson SG Special.

From 1976 until 1982, his main guitar was a Yamaha SG 175B and sometimes a white Gibson SG Custom with 3 single coil pick-ups. In 1982 he started to use a custom made PRS Custom 24 guitar, in 1988 he made his first Signature model PRS Santana I. In 1999 Carlos Santana and PRS Guitars come with the most expensive, high-end PRS Santana II model also known as "Supernatural". Some of the changes were the materials, Santana II was built from the best materials available.

Though it was an extraordinarily high-priced instrument, Santana II guitar was offered for nearly nine years, until 2007. Because the second edition was so expensive, reduction of the cost was needed which helped to spur the introduction of the next model in the series, the Santana III in 2001.

In 2008, Carlos along with Paul Reed Smith has developed a Santana Signature model which combines some of the best features of all the previous models, called PRS Santana MD "The Multidimensional".

Santana's Yamaha SG2000 Devadip (1976, with inlay) on exhibit in the Berlin Musical Instrument Museum

Santana currently uses a Santana II model guitar using PRS Santana III pickups with nickel covers and a tremolo, with .009-.042 gauge D'Addario strings and PRS Santana MD Guitar Santana's guitar necks and fretboards are constructed out of a single solid piece of Brazilian Rosewood; this helps create the smooth, singing, glass-like tone for which he is known.

Santana Signature Models:

PRS Santana I "The Yellow"(1988)
PRS Santana II "Supernatural" (1999)
PRS Santana III (2001)
PRS Santana SE (2001)
PRS Santana SE II (2003)
PRS Santana Shaman SE-Limited Edition (2003)
PRS Santana MD "The Multidimensional" (2008)
PRS Santana Abraxas SE-Limited Edition (2009)
PRS Santana SE "The Multidimensional" (2011)

Santana also uses a classical guitar, the Alvarez Yairi CY127CE with Alvarez tension nylon strings.

Santana does not use many effects pedals. His PRS guitar is connected to a Mu-Tron wah wah pedal (or, more recently, a Dunlop 535Q wah) and a T-Rex Replica delay pedal.[16][17] then through a customized Jim Dunlop amp switcher which in turn is connected to the different amps or cabinets.

Previous setups include an Ibanez Tube Screamer[18] right after the guitar. He is also to have been known to use an Electro Harmonix Big Muff distortion for his famous sustain. In the song "Stand Up" from the album Marathon, Santana uses a Heil talk box in the guitar solo.


Carlos Santana's distinctive guitar tone is produced by PRS Santana signature guitars plugged into multiple amplifiers. The amps consist of a Mesa Boogie Mark I, Dumble Overdrive Reverb and more recently a Bludotone amplifier. Carlos Santana attributes the tonal qualities of each amplifier to that of a singer producing head/nasal tones, chest tones, and belly tones. A three-way amp switcher is employed on Carlos's pedal board to enable him to switch between amps. Often the unique tones of each amplifier are blended together, complimenting each other producing a richer tone.

He also put the "Boogie" in Mesa Boogie: "Santana exclaimed to "That little thing really Boogies!"

Specifically, Santana combines a Mesa/Boogie Mark I head running through a Boogie cabinet with Altec 417-8H (or recently JBL E120s) speakers, and a Dumble Overdrive Reverb and/or a Dumble Overdrive Special running through a Brown or Marshall 4x12 cabinet with Celestion G12M "Greenback" speakers, depending on the desired sound. Shure KSM-32 microphones are used to pick up the sound, going to the PA. Additionally, a Fender Cyber-Twin Amp is mostly used at home.

During his early career Santana used a GMT transistor amplifier stack and a silverface Fender Twin. The GMT 226A rig was used at the legendary Woodstock concert as well as during recording the Santana's debut album. During this era Santana had also began to use the Fender Twin, which was as well used on the debut and proceedingly at the recording sessions of Abraxas.


Mark Reaume said...

"Santana was Brought to Wood Stock By Bill Grahm the Producer in a Deal. Santana had not been together very Long, only a few Modest Gigs in San Franciso, but Bill Grahm had heard them and he was convinced. Wood Stock would not have happened without Grahm, he saved it financially. Carlos thought they would have Played during a down time so he felt comfortable that he Could Take a Hit of LSD, dig the Show, and Come down Pretty Much By the time they Played. Totally getting off on the LSD he was told they would open the show. Much of the time he thought he his Guitar was a Big Snake Oh Ya , What a Trip."

Sharon Smigelski Williams said...

It's World Guitar Day today. The Thanks Jimi...
May 1
It's World Guitar Day today. The Thanks Jimi Festival in Poland broke their old record, set in 2009; 7273 guitars simultaneously playing Hey Joe, a new Guinness World Record!

Retro Kimmer said...

Thanks Mark and Sharon!

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