Chapter 3 of 16 from Carlos Santana

Going Inside the Note


The key to accessing a listener’s heart through your music is to “go inside the note.” Carlos teaches you how to put everything you have into everything you play.

Topics include: Mind: Get Into Character • Body: Play With Your Whole Body • Soul: Bend to Make Them Weep • Heart: The Comfort of Vibrato • Vitals: The Sacred Is the Sexual

The key to accessing a listener’s heart through your music is to “go inside the note.” Carlos teaches you how to put everything you have into everything you play.

Topics include: Mind: Get Into Character • Body: Play With Your Whole Body • Soul: Bend to Make Them Weep • Heart: The Comfort of Vibrato • Vitals: The Sacred Is the Sexual

Carlos Santana

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.

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Find the heart of your sound

With 10 Grammys and almost 50 years on stage, Carlos teaches you his spiritual take on playing guitar. Learn how he weaves emotion, artistic expression, and musical styles from across the world to create a sound that transcends genre 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.

Genre-defying legend Carlos Santana teaches his unique approach to playing, with bonus lessons on techniques, and words of inspiration for artists.

A downloadable workbook accompanies the class with exclusive tablature for Carlos’s improvised music and essential listening lists.

Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Carlos will also critique select student work.


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


The master at work. Could never imagine in my life getting personal instruction from Carlos Santana. Changed my approach to life. Thank you.

Inspirational and motivating, I am currently a dishwasher doing it also to help my mom who has chronic arthritis and cannot use her hands so much so that part hit me pretty hard however as carlos said he knew his destiny changed the moment he made the decision to be a full time musician and so will I.

Lot's to learn and love here , so I don't feel I'm finished. Will be returning often of insites!


Alan H.

Vitals: The Sacred Is the Sexual starts with Carlos playing but there is not Tab for it? Did I miss it? I would like to give my wife the Fever.


I learned something about this woman I really like a lot. She believes that if there's no Heaven nor Hell, then she would be happy with the third option: The desert island alone. The thing about liking her is that she is one hell of a voice teacher. Her sister died 14 years ago and between the two of them; I've never stopped crying. Carlos: you probably know her, knew her or know or knew of her. Kamp

Mark B.

Started my third week of the class .. loving every bit of it all.. the videos , workbook, and also reading comments from other classmates. Building my confidence when I play every day and week as well ..

Mark B.

Lesson 1 here .. 1 week at a time .. to learn lesson and the homework. Daily I’m inspired to learn more. Thank you Carlos

Allie G.

Dynamics ! Expression ! Oh yeah. The difference between 'the note' and 'inside the note' clear as crystal ! This lesson goes way past just guitar. All musicians can consider the Dry vs Juicy factor in performance. Concerto de Aranjuez is done now in Harp . Phenomenal.

Peter L.

Totally awesome man this stuff gets right inside the heart hank you Carlos cheers.

Colin M.

So inspiring! I can hardly finish a single lesson before I NEED to go pick up a guitar and play.

Steven A.

Pretty cool as I'm enjoying delving into the mind of one of the greats of our generation. He has inspired millions around the world for decades and I think we all strive to do the same. Music is the universal language of the soul and it's our job to communicate in the most effective way through the music we create. Looking forward to the next lessons for sure!

Brett B.

So cool to read the comments and hear how people are feeling deeply inspired by these lessons! Me too! Santana's description of vibrato and how to use it when you "turn a corner" is already working to help me "go inside the note." The funnest part for me is playing along with him as he plays and watching his fingers for new moves. Measure 3 of Tab 3.3 has a cool riff on the first string using frets 8,9, and 10 (b3,3,4) that gives me something new to say. Also, how he uses the b5 a lot. I really dig measure eight of Tab 3.12. Does anyone know the names of the songs Santana is playing in Tabs 3.15 and 3.17? They are beautiful and familiar… It's not my intention to be proofreading the tab, but I am finding inaccuracies in every lesson so far. The first part of measure two in Tab 3.3 and the end of measure six in Tab 3.8 are a couple of examples. I also note that Tab 3.16 is incorrectly marked Tab 3.17 on the video. Make that string sing!

A fellow student

Great lesson! I am really resonating with the ideas of this course. I am a singer-songwriter who is always searching for ways to enhance my playing and arrangements of my tunes. I mostly rely on a more rhythmic style (as opposed to soloing w a band). In than context, I have a question: Are there any right-hand techniques to improve tone and get "Inside the note" when playing open strings?


How do you get inside the note? Because once you get inside the note, you're going to get inside people's hearts. If you don't know how to get inside the note, you are not going to get inside people's hearts and you're not going to get their attention. They'll walk away. This is outside the note. [GUITAR PLAYING] This is inside the note. [GUITAR PLAYING] You know? One note. Soul, heart, mind, body, and your vitals. One note. That is the most important ingredient for musicians to have-- how to implement those five elements into one note. You know, I hear it in Charlie Parker. I hear it in Stevie Ray Vaughn. Jaco Pastorius. I can tell you who in one note has all those elements going each time. That makes it very, very timeless and very essential to being alive and living and being elevated. [GUITAR PLAYING] It's important that a person learns like an actor to get into character. You know, like when you see sometimes, Robert De Niro or Al Pacino, sometimes when they're in a specific TV show and if they're not into character, they almost look like they're lost or bland or something. But when Robert De Niro is into character, and he's a bad gangster dude, he went into character. And now he's that person. Same thing with Al Pacino. And the same thing with musicians. You have to go into character. Otherwise, you sound like, with all respect, like Don Knotts. It could be funny if you want to be a comedian. But that has no place on stage. On stage next to BB King or Buddy Guy or Albert King, you got to be serious. [GUITAR PLAYING] Always stand like you're going to do something. I mean, don't be shy about it. And don't be weird about it. But the way you stand really says that you're going to like take care of business, you know. Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray, John Lee Hooker-- they always stood. Their stand says a lot about that note. That note is going to come from here, here, here, here. And it's not just that, you know. So the way you stand is like-- [GUITAR PLAYING] If you don't stand like that, it ain't going to sound like that. [GUITAR PLAYING] Bending is like putting one knee on the ground, and not necessarily begging, just imploring. [GUITAR PLAYING] Now, when you play it like this-- [GUITAR PLAYING] Those notes are like when you're crying and boogers are coming out of you, and you're slobbering. And I mean, some people, when they sob, you really have to let it go. And once you sob like that, it's like a cleansing. But it doesn't necessarily have to be pretty. But it's like you're sobbing in such a way that boogers are coming out of you and you're drooling and you're like-- [GROANS] And so that's why I like-- [GUITAR PLAYING] That's what I learned from Otis Rush. I'll show you something. It goes like-- [GUITAR PLAYING] And this is dynamics, like-- [GUITAR PLAYING] You know, the contrast. And you're like, damn. I feel like crying and I don...