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 Guitars

Santana PRS Guitar Features

Except for the SE models, all PRS Santana Guitars have many common features, 24 frets being one of them. When combined with the double-cutaway body style that Carlos favors, 24 frets allows him to play a high "E" without bending, which is handy for two of his (and many other guitarists') favorite keys: "E" and "A." And the 24.5" scale length is close enough to Gibson's scale length ("25") that he's used to it, from years of playing Gibson SG and Les Paul guitars.

Note: Undoubtedly one of the qualities that attracted Carlos to PRS guitars is their ability to provide some of the fat tone of a Gibson Les Paul, without the Les Paul's spine-crushing weight.

Early Santana Signature Model

After years of playing and refining them, Santana worked with Paul Reed Smith to develope the official PRS Santana Signature guitar. After a while, it was distinguished from later versions by calling it the PRS Santana I Model.
In addition, all the bodies are Mahogany, and include some hollow chambers, in order to promote a full-bodied sound and extended sustain. (To reduce feeback, the chambers are not open, as they would be, for instance, on a Gibson 335 model). Except the SE models, the guitars also have "flamed" maple tops; the "flaming" indicates tight, beautiful circular grain patterns that are especially striking.

Curiously, all PRS Santana Signature models include different models of tremolos, which is interesting, considering that Carlos rarely uses a tremolo when playing. They may have been added to make the guitars more useful to a wider variety of players, and in case Carlos ever did need them. Other than the SE models, all the guitars wisely pair the tremolos with a set of locking tuners.

Paul Reed Smith Electronics

True to Santana's preferences, all models have two humbucking pickups, although they have been "tweaked" over the years. The controls are simple: a volume control, a tone control, and a 3-way toggle pickup selector (except the original Santana I model, which had 2 mini switches).

The most recent model -- Santana MD -- also offers the "Master Voice Control," which is an active tone circuit that functions as a coil splitter or "voice alterer." The idea is to access a single-coil sound (probably more in line with Santana's original pickups from the '60s than a Fender style single-coil) with the flick of a switch.

Comparison of PRS Santana Model Features

The PRS Santana Model Chart is comprised of information available (much gleaned from the actual Paul Reed Smith web site) about each model -- including specifications, and the years they were in production. Currently, the only model PRS still offers is the Santana MD guitar, though the others are available as used instruments.

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