To submit requests for assistance, or provide feedback regarding accessibility, please contact

Arts & Entertainment

Bonus: Techniques

Carlos Santana

Lesson time 11:02 min

Carlos gives additional tips—like how to use the pick for maximum effect, and how to keep time with the feet—and reminds you to incorporate it into your practice.

Carlos Santana
Teaches the Art and Soul of Guitar
Carlos Santana teaches you how he creates a distinct, soulful guitar sound that moves the hearts of audiences.


My father taught me scales when I was 5 to probably 12. [PLAYING GUITAR] I always thought the scales had a certain thing just to get you to imprint your energy and your feelings with a note, you know? And there's-- I mean, there's a whole ocean of scales from the Thesaurus' Slonimsky. They used to say that this is where Coltrane used to play a lot of the scales. These scales were very scary, very complex. I don't know none of them. I always like, ooh, you know, this is-- ooh, that's for somebody else. I'm just going to learn how to kiss and hug, you know, scales, you know? Give me a kiss-and-hug scale. Come here, baby, you know, like kind of-- which is blues music, you know? There's music for everything, but I like to get near and dear and closer to the listener than just-- Some people can do it like that. Yngwie Malmsteen and John Mclaughlin, Paganini, you know, they can play scales forever in a brilliant, astonishing, scary way. I just want to get a hug and a kiss. [MUSIC PLAYING] Legato is more actually elongated. [PLAYING GUITAR] That's legato. Staccato is-- [PLAYING GUITAR] African music is very much staccato rhythm. [PLAYING GUITAR] See, for me I started with the violin. So with the violin the bow just sustains like as long as you-- you know. It's amazing that some people can go this way and that way and it's the same note. It goes like "ahhh". And some people go "ah", "ah", "ah", "ah". But the real good ones can go "ahhhhhhdaaaaadoooodeeee", and you never hear the up and downs. You just hear one note. That's what I learned from the violin about sustaining a note. And there's something really beautiful bottle about a late legato, a staccato and legato. It seems like legato is easiest-- easy, easier, easiest to hug somebody with a long note. [PLAYING GUITAR] Yeah, so there's-- but they both go side by side. Legato, staccato, it's important. [MUSIC PLAYING] The right hand is more for driving home something like-- [PLAYING GUITAR] You can go-- [PLAYING GUITAR] But with the pick-- [PLAYING GUITAR] The right hand gives you more pizazz, more pow. [PLAYING GUITAR] You know, just-- you can rock a coliseum with that one. Pick is basically single note unless you're playing a chord. But when you play it with fingers-- [PLAYING GUITAR] Let's say you record that and then you leave it just percolating, going around. You go-- [PLAYING GUITAR] A big part of the sound is also from your fingers, from here all the way up to here. The great guitar players-- Wes Montgomery, his all tone is just fingers. Wes Montgomery was not concerned about standing like by the guy, you know? His sound was mainly from his fingers, his beautiful hands, and his relationship with the guitar. However, he wasn't a guy to bend notes. I don't think he ever bent a note. So to bend the note you have to stand and be determined to get inside the note in a different way ...

Find the heart of your sound

With 10 Grammys and almost 50 years on stage, Carlos Santana teaches you how to play guitar in his spiritual style. Learn how he weaves emotion, artistic expression, and musical genres from across the world to create a sound that transcends classifications and connects with audiences. Join Carlos in his studio as he breaks down his process note by note—so you can discover the soul of your sound.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

A great class to get you inspired to play guitar no matter your skill level.

I learned that your vibe attracts your tribe! And, I have it inside me already, just have to trust. I really enjoyed Carlos!

Carlos Santana is really a great person. Great inspiration !!!

This course provides a glimpse of those intangible traits and habits that set great players apart from the rest.


A fellow student

Saw Santana at House of Blues in Las Vegas 2018. We had crappy seating off to the far right side of the stage and couldn't view much of what was happening onstage. HOWEVER, his Performance and the Sound of his band was absolutely amazing. Wife and I briefly met Carlos at his restaurant in Walnut Creek many years earlier, and he is not only as gracious as he appears in this video series, but he even more gracious in real life. Rock On Santana!!!

Joe S.

Been a fan of his longer than I'll admit, and every (and I do mean EVERY) time he brings something new and authentic. Love the guy! And oh yeah, great stuff in this presentation, too!

A fellow student

Carlos, thank you. I loved the part about not making it overly intellectual and to bring the FEEL. Instantly got better through this thank you man. -Peter Klosky

A fellow student

what scales did he say Coltrane used? its hard to make out it almost sounds like he's saying Nicholas Slonimsky, but its too hard to tell.

Judy C.

Wow, just wow. This course is exactly what I needed. Having a black on white, technical personality, Carlos Santana has helped develop and strengthen my relationship with the celebration of music so much so even my voice teacher noticed. I am a vocalist, not a guitarist and right now, I cannot wait for my next concert in two days! Because of this class, I have so much more to offer. We, the audience and I, will rock the place! Mr. Santana teaches from the heart, about the heart and does so with such ease. Starting a creative journey late in life as I did can be both challenging and at times frustrating. This class has propelled me forward very quickly. I highly recommend this class. THANK YOU CARLOS SANTANA. You’re exactly what I needed.

Troy Q.

Carlos, hope you read these... I have enjoyed these immensely but when i got to this one I realized how truly blessed I feel. It feels like I have invited you into my house to sit down with me and you are with me as my guitar instructor. I have spent the last 42 years with your music but your words are more powerful than I could imagine, I thought it was going to be you sitting down going over note for note your songs but was very surprised that you did very little of that but instead are enlightening my mind to reassure me that I already have it in me and now all I need to do is make the guitar a mirror so I can see myself in the note and hear who I really am for myself which I am now on the way to doing. I read your book and love when you talk about your dad and his influence on you thank Heaven for the Light his lantern brought without him there would be no you and in the darkest times of my life your music, along with Walsh, Clapton, Hendrix, has lifted my soul and I would disappear into the beautiful music that reminds me that everything is going to be okay. I like how you say that the notes that you gravitate toward are hugs and kisses and thats exactly what the world needs more of is this type of love. Muchas Gracias for taking the time to do this project,May you keep your light shining for us always. Peace and Love Troy Quintana (PS Thank you for coming to Salt Lake I felt you and you did Great out here for us =)

A fellow student

What a Master musician! He is spiritual, funny, deep, creative! Santana, gracias por tu diciplina, tu música y tu magnitud!

Pierre R.

This was everything I could have asked for. I have loved his music since Woodstock...and now I knw why. He speaks of music as I see and hear it......and now understand it a bit better.....

Brett B.

Takeaway: Incorporate the stories that you learn from life into your playing. OK. I am working on it...

Rodrigo R.

Wow ! it makes so sense... Amazing. I wish I had a picture of my face when I saw that there was another bonus lesson. A "Yeahhhhh" reflex went on.