Carlos Santana is one of the most unique guitar players and artists we have had the privilege to see. His music is full of emotions, and the way he can express his feeling through a guitar elevates him into a category of musicians that are hard to mimic.
What makes his music so unique is the fact that he was among the first to try and fuse rock with Latin American sound. He managed to do this by combining some features of Blues with percussion and rhythms that are characteristic for Latin America.
However, the topic of our article today is not the dissection of Santana’s music style, what we are interested in is his gear. More specifically, we want to know what guitar does Carlos Santana play? His guitars are responsible for a good portion of his unique sound. With that said, let’s find our answer.
Let’s find the answer !
Throughout his career, Santana was seen playing a lot of different guitars. You could see models made by big name brands such as Gibson, while he also used some custom made models as well. However, one brand seem to have become his go-to option.
Carlos Santana is a huge fan of Paul Reed Smith guitars. He owns numerous models, and has also created his signature series in cooperation with Paul Reed Smith. These days you will see him playing PRS Salmon and PRS Son of Salmon.
On any given night, Santana will play the whole gig using a single guitar. His rack is full of backups, but they rarely contain anything other than his signature PRS models. Interestingly enough, almost every guitar he brings with him on his tours has some kind of custom modification done to it. This sets them apart even from his signature guitars the you can buy in a store.
These modifications are usually minor. Different locking saddles, and stuff like that. Unfortunately, chances are you won’t be able to completely copy one of his guitars.
The reason for this is that all these modifications were done with in cooperation with PRS engineers, and the solutions the come up with aren’t something you can pick up off the shelf. Aside from PRS guitars, Carlos Santana used different Gibson Les Pauls and Gibson SGs. There was a lone Stratocaster here or there, but generally he always came back to PRS as his primary choice every single time.
To sum up
Carlos Santana is a guy with a very distinct taste when it comes to his instruments. His love of Paul Reed Smith models which prompted him to create a whole series of signature guitars is the testament of their quality, and his niche style.
If you wanted to completely recreate the sound of Carlos Santana, and his specific guitar tone, you just can’t do it without a PRS in your hands. For this task, we definitely recommend you look into his signature models because those guitars will have the best potential to give you the true Carlos Santana experience.