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© Bob King/Corbis
Carlos Santana polarises opinion: some love him and others just don’t get it. Whatever your view, one thing is certain: you cannot mistake this man’s playing for that of any other guitarist on the planet.
It’s not that Carlos plays a load of weird and wonderful scales - he’s largely a minor pentatonic guy but loves to pepper it with added sixths and ninths for a more Dorian flavour.
But he also has a certain touch that’s all his own, and certain signature licks such as those triplet trills - sometimes legato and sometimes all picked - as well as a certain way with bends that’s hard to pinpoint but is instantly recognisable.
Then there’s that rich, thick sound laden with harmonic overtones and drenched in distortion. You can say it about Hendrix and BB King, and you can say it about Santana too - “one note from Carlos…”
Use these licks as a springboard for your own ideas.
Click onwards for the free tab, examples and backing track.