1997 PRS Santana I Dark Cherry Sunburst
“THE FIRST SANTANA MODEL”
Carlos Santana was convinced after three attempts by the budding guitar maker that Paul’s guitars were not just accidents, or due to divine intervention, but that the young man actually knew what he was doing. Although I suppose divine intervention did probably play a part in it.
The original PRS all mahogany handmade guitars from the late 70s were this shape. Paul then built a few with maple tops, and these were the guitars that convinced Santana that PRS were great. When the company began manufacturing in 1985 there were only two production models to keep things easy. The Custom and the all mahogany PRS guitar, both in the standard PRS shape, the early larger size guitars that convinced Santana were not offered until much later in the picture.
When the Santana model was released it was called the PRS Santana Signature model, and it was only when the Santana II came about in 2000 that this first model became known as the Santana 1. The Santana 1 was made for only a few years, so these guitars are a rarity and furthermore, are the only model with the two mini-switches, one for pickup selection and one as a standby.
This is a killer guitar in sound, playability and aesthetic, and one that is equally worthy of the Santana and Paul Reed Smith names.