Carlos Santana Explains Why He Left Gibson for PRS Guitars, Believes He Saved the Company With Advice He Gave Paul Reed Smith

sixty2strat

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11,397
I'm somewhat confused about this. First that's a pic of Santana from Woodstock. Second Santana stopped using Gibson and started using the Yamaha SG-175 which he helped design around 1975 till around 1982 when he switched to PRS.

https://www.ultimatesantana.com/gear-tone/yamaha-sg/yamaha-and-carlossantana/

https://www.groundguitar.com/carlos-santana-guitars-and-gear/

So Santana is confused (old age maybe?) He left Yamaha for PRS.
Yeah I was thinking that too, and his bit about mid 80 on MTV, it was all super strats. Mid 90's sure. Carlos was smokin a bit I think
 

derekd

Supporting Member
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Carlos' early adoption of PRS guitars is what gave Paul credibility in the guitar world and helped launch the company.
That's what I remember, too.

Guys mentioned Nuge (I saw the Damn Yankees tour in 1989 he played one then) and Howard Leese as early adopters. They certainly were, but crazy Uncle Ted started playing PRS after Carlos, assuming my late, late 30s memory is correct.

Not that it really matters.
 

Squarehammer

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158
How could he have played a PRS in 1982 when Paul founded the company in 1985?
PRS was making guitars before that. His factory opened in 1985.

An interview with PRS from the links I posted before.... Next important thing is that we get an almost exact date when Santana started recording with PRS guitars – early 1981, or during the ‘Zebop!’ recording sessions. And lastly – we are introduced to the fact that the Washington gig on 4/21/1981 was the first concert that Santana ever played on a PRS guitar.
 
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Miroslav L

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1,496
Carlos should have stuck with the Yamaha SG2000!

For sure!
That's the tone that really sticks in my head as the "Santana" sound. I use to be so obsessed with his sustain, and chased after that sound...but I never tried the Yamaha guitars.
Of course...the amp and whatever pedals he was using had something to do with it too.
 

Peteyvee

Premium Platinum Member
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56,048
If what I've read is correct, Santana was playing through a solid-state Gallien-Krueger at Woodstock. Actually, I think it was the first amp Bob Gallien built before forming his company.
He was. I don't remember if it was a prototype G-K or not for sure, but I think it was.

We had a 250ML when I worked at GC from '83-'85 and it sounded huge with a LP or SG. IIRC, it was 100 watts. Amazing tone out of such a tiny little amp. I used to get that thing feeding back like I was playing on "Moonflower"...sustain forever.
 

Shovelhead

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1,633
Well while we are certainly are entitled to our opinions STILL when you think about it, kinda funny how we internet "experts" have the hoospa to tell Santana what and when his "best tones" were with a straight face,,,,, are gotta love TGP.
Haha! True. But to be fair, I said "my favorite" of his tones were the SG. :)
 

Jose Eduardo

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598
Carlos' early adoption of PRS guitars is what gave Paul credibility in the guitar world and helped launch the company.
I don't know if anyone has discussed this, but in addition to this early adoption, the success of Supernatural in 1999 catapulted PRS, imho.

PRS had built a decent amount of success by then. The original PRS Forum began in 98-99. But when Supernatural came out it made a lot of people curious about PRS. Including me. I knew about PRS but was not into them then. Santana made me take a second look. I joined the forum in 2000. I remember lots of people coming in just to ask about why Santanas were so expensive. yadda, yadda. I bought my first PRS in 2000 (a singlecut) and have owned over 15 in the past 20 years. In riding that second wave of Santana's success that's when SEs came as well.

I don't know if any of this amounts to 'save' the company, but Santana has been instrumental in its success.
 

MaxTwang

Member
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3,124
^^^ Is that Santana, or John Oats? :roll





Santana, 1982:

Yeah, that PRS tone's not doing it for me. Moonflower, especially Eruopa, inspired me to play guitar - I started on an SG and bought a Boogie 4 years later. I've wanted to like PRS but I always end up sounding like the attached 1982 Europa and not the 1977 Europa.
 

Peteyvee

Premium Platinum Member
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56,048
Yeah, that PRS tone's not doing it for me. Moonflower, especially Eruopa, inspired me to play guitar - I started on an SG and bought a Boogie 4 years later. I've wanted to like PRS but I always end up sounding like the attached 1982 Europa and not the 1977 Europa.
I always liked those Yamaha SG-2000s but they weighed a ton and a half. They were like a '70s LP Custom with lead weights implanted. I was in my early 20s then (1977) and strong as an ox, but they were still heavy.

But yeah, that Moonflower tone is something else.
 

KevWind

Member
Messages
538
How could he have played a PRS in 1982 when Paul founded the company in 1985?
Don't know the actual history BUT seems entirely possible given Paul started making guitars in 1975 Excerpt form "A brief history " article

"Smith opened his own repair and luthiery shop in Annapolis, Maryland, played guitar in bands, and, with help from a handful of employees, built about one guitar per month between 1976 and 1985."
 

big mike

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
12,292
That's what I remember, too.

Guys mentioned Nuge (I saw the Damn Yankees tour in 1989 he played one then) and Howard Leese as early adopters. They certainly were, but crazy Uncle Ted started playing PRS after Carlos, assuming my late, late 30s memory is correct.

Not that it really matters.
Paul built Ted a solid ‘byrdland’ late 70s. Derek St Holmes had an early all hog as well around that time. Leese got the first mapletop early 80s salvaged wood from a friends dresser.
Even had the plug from the drawer pull.
Pre company guitars
 




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