Ultimate Santana - sheet music Guitar Tabs for Ultimate Santana. Includes "Oye Como Va" and "Black Magic Woman."

Ultimate Santana - sheet music Guitar Tabs for Ultimate Santana. Includes "Oye Como Va" and "Black Magic Woman."

Paul Reed Smith (PRS): Santana Guitar Models

By the late '70s, Carlos Santana had met Paul Reed Smith and begun using one of the original PRS guitars. It wasn't until about 20 years later, however, that the two teamed up to design, build and sell the PRS Santana model guitars.

20 Years to Create the Santana Signature guitar?

Why did it take so long? One reason may have been that Carlos had no way of knowing that he'd be playing these guitars for over four decades, with no end in sight. Also, once he and Paul Reed Smith had made the decision to create a signature Santana model, it could have taken a very long time to lock in all the specs.

New Santana MD Model

Abalone fretboard inlays in the shapes of various birds, an exquisite flamed maple top (with accented center line), and newly developed pickups are just some of the features that make the latest version of PRS's Santana Signature model guitar unique.
High-profile artists are generally very careful when attaching their names to products, and their exacting wishes must be balanced with instruments that can be reasonably built and afforded by other players.

PRS Santana Signature Models Are Born

However the process began, it culminated in the mid '90s, with the guitar originally called simply the Paul Reed Smith Santana Signature guitar. Eventually, in order to distinguish it from later models, it became known as the PRS Santana I model.

Unlike the Yamaha guitars that he had previously endorsed, however, the PRS Santana models that have been Carlos' main axes for decades have changed over the years. It's understandable, however, that as new models are introduced (and played by Santana), many of the features remain consistent.

Understanding the Categories

PRS Santana Signature guitars pretty much fall into three categories: the "main" models, the "less expensive" models, and the "limited edition" models. The "main" models are taken from exactly what Santana plays, and he may even use stock models on stage and in the studio. As he desires adapted features, or material requirements at the manufacturers change, these will be modified over time, thus giving rise to the history: Santana I, Santana II, Santana III, Santana MD, and most recently, the 25th Anniversary Santana models.

But since these models naturally fall into higher price points ($3,500 to $8,000), Paul Reed Smith eventually introduced budget priced models, the Santana SE and the Santana SE II ("SE" is most likely short for "Standard Edition"), as well as the latest: the Carlos Santana SE One Abraxas. While maintaining much of the look and feel, these guitars avoid the higher priced materials and handwork, thus selling for less than half the amount of the "main" models.

Finally there are "limited edition" models, including the Santana Brazilian. These would include rare and hard to find materials, as well as even more handwork. Since there is less information available about these models, they are not included in the PRS Santana Guitar Chart.

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