Featured here is a quick fact sheet for legendary Latin rock guitar player Carlos Santana.
Full name: Carlos Augusto Alves Santana
Birth date: July 20, 1947
Birth city: Autlán de Navarro, Jalisco, Mexico
Father: Jose Santana, a mariachi violinist
Mother: Josefina Barragan de Santana
Brothers: Jorge Santana (guitar player who has played with Carlos on several albums and tours, plus his own band, Malo), Antonio Santana
Sisters: Laura, Irma, Leticia, Maria
Children: Salvador Santana (a keyboardist with his own band, also co-wrote “El Farol” off Supernatural), Stella, Angelica
Wife: Cindy Blackman, drummer for Santana
Ex-Wife: Deborah Santana (nee Deborah King, her father was pioneering blues guitarist Saunders King)
Over the years Carlos Santana has generally used one guitar, amplifier, etc. While he probably, on occasion, used other models, below are the ones he used the most.
Gibson Les Paul Special – his first main guitar, the one on which the first and second landmark albums were recorded.
Gibson SG – the one with which he was most closely identified in the early years — most notably at Woodstock.
Yamaha SG – instrument he endorsed during the early ’70s, and co-developed with the Yamaha guitar team. Based on Les Paul Special and SG models he had played previously.
Paul Reed Smith (various models)
Fender Princeton – The first amp Carlos used, modified (“modded”) by the techs at Prune Music in San Francisco. Responsible for the classic sounds on Santana by Santana, and Abraxas.
Mesa Boogie – The model with which Carlos Santana is most closely linked. The two have a symbiotic relationship.
Dumble – More recently, Santana has included this in his arsenal.
GHS (at least for the last few years); before that, he probably used mostly Ernie Ball, as those have been the leading strings for decades.
Mu-Tron Volume/Wah (reportedly still used the one from the ’70s), Ibanez Tube Screamer (very sparingly), Ibanez Modulation Delay (very infrequently).
With over 30 albums to his name, Carlos has written (or, more often, co-written) and recorded many, many songs. Below are some of the best known ones.
Europa – One of Carlos Santana’s best-loved songs, this piece has been covered by other artists as well.
Samba Pa Ti – A testament to the simple melodic genius that Carlos possesses.
Evil Ways – Remake of a blues song by Willie Bobo
Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Queen – Cover of a Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac) song, combined with a number by jazz guitarist Gabor Szabo.
Oye Como Va – Remake of the Tito Puente classic.
Smooth – The hit that re-launched Santana’s career.
Just a few highlights among the many records that Carlos Santana released.
Santana – The debut, also called Santana by Santana
Abraxas – Contains his two best-loved songs
Moonflower – Showcased the live Santana sound, which has always been Carlos’ strength
Supernatural – 9 Grammies and over 25 million in sales, from a 52-year-old guitarist!