How can I achieve Santana-like sustain?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by skyblue, Oct 30, 2005.


  1. skyblue

    skyblue Member

    Messages:
    87
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Location:
    California
    Hi guys. I'm new to the forum and relatively new to guitars. I've
    been trying to learn some Santana songs, but always seem to fall short when I try to emulate his guitar's sustain. Is is at all possible to achieve this tone with either my stock strat or SG plugged straight into the amp, or will I need the help of a pedal to get that kind of sustain? If so, what pedal will let me come closest to his "sustain-for-days" tone? :confused:
    Thanks for your comments...
     
  2. slowburn

    slowburn Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,524
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    i'd stick with a humbucker equipped guitar like your SG (vs. a strat), but it's hard to say more w/out knowing what amp you have.
     
  3. Robert1950

    Robert1950 Member

    Messages:
    3,377
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2005
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB.
  4. AaeCee

    AaeCee Member

    Messages:
    14,155
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    Location:
    MD.
    A good overdrive pedal (and there are many good inexpensive pedals) will go a long way in improving sustain and thickening your tone. A compresser is a great little tool to help as well, especially in conjunction with overdrive. AC
     
  5. skyblue

    skyblue Member

    Messages:
    87
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Location:
    California
    Thanks, guys. AC, I do notice a slight improvement in the length of my sustain when I use my DS-1. I guess I'll need to try using it in conjunction with a Compressor/Sustainer to see if there's a dramatic improvement. BTW, I play through a Peavey Classic 20 and a Mesa Boogie Subway Rocket, if it matters. Any suggestions as to what settings I should be using?
     
  6. AaeCee

    AaeCee Member

    Messages:
    14,155
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    Location:
    MD.
    Kinda kidding...although louder will exhibit more continuity of sound. If your amp has master volume or gain settings, utilize them for higher gain (eg. lower master/higher volume) , and you needn't have the overall volume at tinnitus inducing levels. Same with your pedals...higher gain and comp settings will result in higher sustain. If your choices in amp/guitar/pedals are of sufficient quality and work well together, you'll still hear surprising articulation (like Santana) even at fairly saturated settings. Bottom line...experiment. Those are the basic tools that'll getcha real close. Then get an endorsement deal with PRS, and you're there!
     
  7. Ah Xoc Kin

    Ah Xoc Kin Member

    Messages:
    203
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2005
    That's actually how he did it, using VOLUME!

    Even before Mesa Boogie, PRS, or pedals. And that's one of the reasons he does not play Strats (that much).
     
  8. 1964

    1964 Member

    Messages:
    296
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2005
    Location:
    Too close to hell
  9. gassyndrome

    gassyndrome Member

    Messages:
    1,544
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Location:
    sunny Australia
    [​IMG]

    This will get you part of the way there. Then use a lot less treble than normal, and get as loud as you can !!! :dude
     
  10. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

    Messages:
    11,809
    Joined:
    May 19, 2003
    Santana plays loud. He also walks around on stage during his rehearsal playing till he finds the sweet spots on stage where his guitar feeds back. He then marks the spot with tape. He'll go back to these spots for feedback during solos.
     
  11. cuttooth21

    cuttooth21 Member

    Messages:
    26
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2005
    Location:
    New York
    A good compressor will get you good sustain. I can get what seems like infinite sustain with a Barber Tone Press, some OD and my Strat.
     
  12. littlemoon

    littlemoon Member

    Messages:
    857
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2003
    Location:
    Corona, CA
    Be sure to put the compressor before the OD pedal.

    littlemoon
     
  13. skyblue

    skyblue Member

    Messages:
    87
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Location:
    California
    thanks, littlemoon. actually got a used CS-3 today, and am excited to see how it sounds with my DS-1.

    anyone have the link showing the proper sequence of hooking up pedals?
     
  14. Mullet Kingdom

    Mullet Kingdom Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,446
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2005
    Location:
    Just South of the Colorado
    Daddyo tells true.

    I've heard Carlos himself speak at length about this.

    I'd plug straight into the amp (preferably the MESA), select the neck pickup, turn the gain way up and otherwise fiddle with the tone controls until it sounds good.

    Look at the back of the Subway Rocket. Is there a speaker jack marked "half power" ? If so, plug the speaker into that jack instead of the normal one. This will allow you to crank the master volume and get some power tube distortion happening without getting painfully loud. 20 watts can hurt. :(

    That rig may not get you his exact tone, but it should get you pretty close.

    Hope this helps.
     
  15. µ¿ z3®ø™

    µ¿ z3®ø™ Member

    Messages:
    5,711
    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2005
    Location:
    t-dot
    i can see it now.
    burnt out guitar player flaked out on the sidewalk in tattered clothes. open guitar case.
    he says to every passerby, "hey buddy, spare 20 grand for a dumble?"
     

Share This Page