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Arts & Entertainment

Learning From the Blues

Carlos Santana

Lesson time 13:00 min

If you can play the blues, you can play anything. Carlos shares his perspective on the blues masters, and provides you with techniques to infuse passion into your playing.

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.


There's a reason why youngsters love that kind of music. It's like youngsters like to take no shit from nobody. That's why people gravitate to Metallica, you know, because you don't want to take shit from nobody, nobody. And there's a reason why this music-- Elmore James, Chuck Berry-- was accepted so much by the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, you know, from across the ocean, because they represented, along with The Who, the youth. But they were playing our music. [MUSIC PLAYING] John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed, Lightnin' Hopkins-- that was a trio that I first got into in Tijuana. Later on, of course, was BB King and Muddy Waters and T-Bone Walker. But the first trio, it's so basic blues, uncomplicated, that it just hits you hard, you know, especially when you're a teenager. If you can play some blues, you can play anything. If you can't play the blues, you should do another thing as a profession, because the blues is passion, emotion, and feelings. And with that, you can create eternity, wonderment. Those are the elements for "State of Grace." - If you ever have the blues, remember what I tell you. You'll always hear this in your heart. [PLAYING GUITAR] That's the blues. Now I want to tell you what you done. - Lightnin' Hopkins, I didn't know was Elvin Jones' favorite guitar player. He goes-- [PLAYING GUITAR] But he starts with-- [PLAYING GUITAR] And what's really beautiful is that you learn that they making love to the guitar. And once in a while, they slap it because-- [PLAYING GUITAR] Be like oh, oh they're slapping it. Hey. Jimmy Reed probably sold more records than anybody out of all the blues players, because every university, they had toga parties. And toga parties was like-- (SINGING) Got me running. [PLAYING GUITAR] Got me running. They'll drink beer. (SINGING) Got me running away. You want a man to go. Everybody, the whole place-- (SINGING) Go. Drinking beer. - (SINGING) Yeah, it goes down, baby. Oh yeah, it goes down. - Anything by John Lee Hooker is going to have this. [PLAYING GUITAR] The Doors, Canned Heat, ZZ Top-- everybody plays the blues. I mean, everybody that plays the boogie one way or the other-- Miles, you know, everybody. I have music by all of them. And sooner or later they visit that-- [SINGS BLUES NOTES] - (SINGING) I don't want nobody, you, you. Nobody to love. - John Lee Hooker, he told me, "You know, Carlos?" I says, "Yeah, John?" He says, "I loves God and loves peoples." He loves God and he loves people. That's what he plays. Well, no wonder his music is so immediate, you know, because God's in it, and he wants to serve people. He wants to make people happy. Just him saying that-- although he didn't have to say it, but the way he said it to me, he gave me the key. This is the key to who I am in my music. I love God, and I love peoples. [MUSIC PLAYING] It should be a required listening in schools, the first f...

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.

Very insightful and inspirational class. I'm amazed at how much connection is made with the student during this class!

Best Master Class so far - and that's a very high bar. : ) I don't play guitar, yet learned so much that relates back to writing, design, and improv. All creative flow. All energy, attitude, intent. Great lessons from a masterful teacher.

Amazing Class Sr. Carlos Santana! I loved it! Play from the Heart! Thanks so very much for sharing your mind and spirit! You are always an inspiration! God Bless You Sir! All the Best, Wilson G Firefingers / Email:

Santana has developed such a brilliant way of borrowing music from around the world and - with his own band - creates something completely original. very inspiring.


A fellow student

He puts so much emotion and thoughtfulness into his playing and words. He's very inspirational. I really enjoy his John Lee Hooker and Miles Davis impersonations, too!

William J.

I need to see the other lessons again to really appreciate what he means how do I get the back

John S.

I have been inspired by and listen to the music of Santana since the pre-Woodstock days. The words of Carlos always touch a chord in my soul and my own music. Thank you for your Masterclass!

Mark B.

As the weeks continue I too have my eyes wide open. I really love listening to you the Master Carlos as talk about the influence on you. Digging deeper and loving every moment especially the history lessons .. John Lee Hooker and Peter Green . Just amazing. I am so grateful for this class.


My dad played drums Carlos. He was 3 guys.Elvin Jones for his depth Buddy Rich for his skill and himself for his own soul. He also knew Buddy Rich and Elvin Jones My baby sister was name after his wife Keiko. Thanks for your insight in directing my guitar playing Primarily The Blues Its all about feel. And it's fun too. Kamp

Antoinette C.

Besos para ti mi amore! I knew you were classical the moment I first heard you.

Allie G.

What a walking dictionary of musicians ! I agree Required Listening in schools......all styles of music. We did JUST that !

A fellow student

This is a very interesting experience. I am learning about the heart and soul of the guitar without having the ability to do the lessons. I do enjoy the revelation by master Carlos Santana. It makes me feel my guitar in three frets can sound beautiful too. thanks.

Robert Lame Bull M.

Thank you so much Carlos this is awesome to be honored to have the ability to get guitar lessons from you my brother rock ‘n’ roll thank you. You rock the world. Thank you so much for all your great music! God bless. Robert Lame Bull McDonald, former Redbone guitarist.

Brett B.

I have been playing blues music since the 1980's when I first picked up the electric guitar, and I still feel like I haveonly scratched the surface. From lesson 1, I have been picking up on the blues influence in Santana's playing, and I am finding his words and playing examples to be useful and inspirational. Most profound to me here is John Lee Hooker's statement, "I love God, and I love peoples." Santana says that's the key to his playing, and I am going to agree for myself and consciously integrate that into my musical offerings. I really, really appreciate the shout out to Peter Green and his importance. A big takeaway from this lesson is that blues music (and all music) is open to all people, no matter what their identities. What we need is an openness to learn and a reference to learn from. Here is my take on Santana's Peter Green style playing.