Carlos Santana Masterclass Review

Published by: Julia

Regardless of what your level of your guitar playing is at you will learn something from Carlos Santana’s Masterclass. It is an in-depth course, which will inspire and enable you to take your playing to the next level.

Learn from Carlos Santana – a true guitar master

Carlos Santana is an accomplished and pioneering guitar player and musician. His style is best described as being a fusion between Latin American jazz and rock and roll.

Rolling Stone place him high on their list of 100 Greatest Guitarists. At the time of writing this review, he had won 10 Grammy Awards and 3 Latin Grammy Awards. In 1998, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with the rest of his band.

His masterclass provides you with an insight into where this great musician gets his inspiration. In it, he shares his approach to playing blues rock, Latin rock and jazz fusion guitar.

But, I warn you now, his approach is a little different. Carlos Santana plays with his heart and soul rather than his head. So, this course is less about how to move your fingers and more about how to bring feeling to what you play.

So, it may not be for everyone. His teaching style is not as polished as many of the other experts who teach their own masterclasses. If you are looking for a step-by-step guide to learning the guitar, this course is not what you need. However, if you are a fan or a musician looking for inspiration, you will thoroughly enjoy Carlos Santana’s masterclass. He does share a few advanced techniques, but, sadly not as many as most of you would like.

Familiarising yourself with your instrument

Carlos begins his course, by encouraging his students to familiarise themselves with their instrument. He explains that experimenting and pushing things as far as you can will help you to understand the limits of your instrument.

The more things you try the more you will learn. Playing different genres is a great way of stretching yourself and exploring your instrument.

At this point, instead of proceeding with the other videos in order, you might want to skip ahead to the guitars, amps and sustain video. In it, Carlos walks you through all of the equipment he uses and explains how he gets the most out of each piece. In particular, how he achieves his famous sustain sound while playing live.

Finding and developing your personal sound

I was interested to learn that the first instument Carlos learned to play was a violin. A fact which kind of explains why he is such a good musician. From an early age he learned to stretch him self musically. Carlos plays a lot of instruments and clearly enjoys experimenting.

The interesting thing is that he switched from playing the violin to the guitar because he could not produce a tone that he found to be personally satisfying. Carlos believes that everyone has a in-build ear or unique musical taste and style. His advice is to play with confidence so that you can uncover and enjoy your personal sound.

Again, doing this is all about stretching yourself and exploring. Borrowing from other musicians is a very effective way to do this.

When you take the course, try to pause and do as Carlos suggests and learn from the greats. His recommended listening list is included in the workbook. It is an ecclectic mix of music by some of the world’s greatest guitarists. There is everything form free jazz to hard rock on that list.

Sources of inspiration for guitar players

In the next video, Carlos continues with the theme of learning from others and expands things a bit by sharing how to learn from what is around you. He explains where he gets inspiration, how he captures it and intigrates it into his playing. Here is an overview of the sources he tells you about in this section of his masterclass:

  • Music from other cultures
  • The rhytmns of work and daily life
  • The way people move
  • People’s voices
  • Nature

At this stage, you may also want to watch the music as a language video. In it, he shows you how music touches most aspects of our life, a fact that means you can use it to reach and communicate with your audience in many different ways.

Learning the combined arts of rhythm and melody

One of the ways Carlos developed his unique playing style was incorporating the rhythms and patterns of conga into how he played. He explains how he did this and how he uses a mix of rhythmns and melodies to keep his audience engaged.

Tap into the blues to take your guitar playing to the next level

If you can play some blues you can play anything.

Carlos Santana Teaches the Art and Soul of Guitar

This quote says it all. It tells you that Carlos loves the blues and believes his students need to do so as well. Unfortunately, once again, this leasson lacks structure. He seems to be mainly sharing his passion for this way of playing rather than teaching you how to play that style of guitar. There are a few actual techniques shared, just not many. I like the blues, a lot, so actually enjoyed this lesson. But, I am not sure that everyone will.

How Carlos Santana goes inside the note

I must admit, I nearly skipped over this lesson, I thought what is this guy on? what on earth is he talking about? how can you go inside a note? But, I knew I would be writing this review, so was kind of obliged to watch every video. As it turns out, this was a good thing because I got quite a lot out of this slightly odd lesson.

In it Carlos teaches you how to engage your:

  • Mind
  • Body
  • Soul
  • Heart
  • Vitals

I’ve got to admit that I did not quite follow everything Carlos said. In fact, a few of the things he said seemed to me to be a bit daft. In particular, the idea that a musician needs to be balanced with the sacred and the sex (vitals).

However, fortunately, a lot of what he said did make sense and I can see how applying those tips could greatly improve your playing. For example bending your notes and using the vibrato technique to evoke emotion.

If you can’t get inside the note, you can’t get inside people’s hearts.

Carlos Santana Guitar Masterclass

Mastering the art of playing the guitar live

Some people only want to play for their own pleasure and that of friends and family. This is understandable. Not everyone likes, or can cope with, the pressure of performing live.

However, many musicians do want to share their passion with as many people as possible. So, playing live is something they are passionate about doing. Santana explains how to do it the right way.

He shows you how to make a connection with your audience. To draw them into your music and take them with you on they journey.

Setting up and leading a band

Not all of you are going to want to set up your own band. In that case, you may want to skip this particular video. However, it is refreshing to see this subject being covered in an online course. It is not something the other musicians that have put together courses for masterclass.com have covered before.

So far, I have used my all-access pass to take all of the music-related masterclasses. Unfortunately, Carlos’ course is my least favourite, I did not feel I personally learned a huge amount by taking it. But, the fact that I had basically been able to take the course for free using my all-access pass meant that did not really matter. The pass costs just $180, yet this gives you access to all of the 60+ masterclass.com courses. That is a massive bargain because if you were to buy the courses individually they would cost you $90 each. You can find out more about how the all-access pass works and why I recommend it by reading my in-depth review of the masterclass.com platform.

Carlos Santana’s guitar workbook

Each masterclass comes with a workbook. Some are fantastic, others are a bit of a waste of time. Overall, I thought that Carlos’ workbook was OK.

It contains exercises for most of the lessons. So, you can practice what you have learned from each video. Importantly, each page of music includes time stamps. So, you can find the exact point in the video at which Santana plays the section you want to practice. It is a great little detail that makes the workbook far more useful.

Who is Carlos Santana’s masterclass for?

If you ars a fan of Carlos Santana you will gain a great deal of insight into his philosophy of life. In the last but one video, he talks at-length about his outlook on life. In it, he shares some of the wisdom he has accrued while living his interesting life as a professional musician. His take on why music matters so much is especially interesting.

Most guitar players will likely also enjoy the course. Although it is hard to say how much they will learn. Carlos is not a natural teacher. He tends to ramble a bit and spends quite a bit of time telling stories rather than teaching techniques. If you are looking for more of a how to course, I can highly recommend Tom Morello’s guitar masterclass.

If you’re a musician looking for inspiration, you will almost certainly find it here. Carlos knows how to push the boundaries and come up with something truly innovative.

So, in conclusion, this is still an interesting masterclass. But, before buying it you need to think about what you are hoping to learn and use this review to help you to work out if it meets your needs.

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