Arts & Entertainment, Music

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.

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

Topics include: Legato and Staccato • Practice Articulation • Learn From Guitarists In Person • Stomp and Tap • Everything Is Practice


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 ...

About the Instructor

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.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Carlos Santana

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

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