Limited to 1,000 units worldwide, the PRS SE Santana Abraxas 50th Anniversary model features an angel graphic on gloss black finish, inspired by the Abraxas cover art, and many of the signature appointments found across Santana’s other signature SE models.
As ever with a Carlos Santana guitar, the goal is sustain and lots of it. The Santana Abraxas 50 model has a familiar solid mahogany body and bevelled maple cap. It has a shorter 24.5” scale length, and a glued-in mahogany Wide Pattern Neck topped with a 24-fret rosewood fingerboard – complete with Birds inlay.
There is a PRS-patented moulded tremolo, PRS-designed tuners, and a pair of signature PRS Santana “S” humbuckers, with a three-way toggle switch mounted south of the bridge, plus volume and tone controls.
Santana has done more than any other player to help launch PRS into the mainstream. He was an early adopter of Paul Reed Smith designs, having been convinced that Smith was onto something good, and he was similarly influential in the launch of the high-end electric guitar brand’s more affordable SE series in 2000.
“It is an honour to co-join with PRS Guitars in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Abraxas with a new Santana SE Abraxas 50 guitar,” said Santana. “Abraxas represents beauty, power, grace and the mystical, and PRS allows you to access this vocabulary at your fingertips with the universal tone that delivers power and clarity, allowing you to find your own voice in your heart’s music. We invite you to spread your wings and find your voice with this beautiful instrument!”
Though it received a mixed reception from critics at the time, Abraxas changed things for Santana. It saw the maturation of his musical vision as the band rode the high from their triumphant set at Woodstock the year before.
Alerted to Fred Catero’s talents via his work with Mongo Santamaría, Santana got Catero to coproduce the album and let the ideas flow over a month spend in San Francisco's Wally Heider and Pacific Recording Studios. Percussionist Michael Carabello found the cover art and the album title, and so, in a way, he also had a hand in co-designing this guitar.
The original artwork is titled Annunciation and was painted by Mati Klarwein in 1961. The arcane spirituality of Klarwein’s painting resonated with the band. Abraxas remains a classic, a freewheeling tour de force featuring Santana’s visionary covers of Fleetwood Mac’s Black Magic Woman and Tito Puente’s Oye Como Va alongside original compositions such as the instrumental Samba Pa Ti and the psychedelic Mother's Daughter.
The PRS SE Santana Abraxas 50th Anniversary is available now, priced £549 / $829 street, and it comes with a padded gig-bag. See PRS Guitars for more details.