NGD---10 year old Santana II

shallbe

New Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Messages
365
Location
Mobile. AL
I have always wanted a PRS Santana. One with the classic look of Santana Yellow or Vintage Yellow, zebra pickups, dark (hopefully Brazilian) fretboard, and a old wood looking top, big neck carve (not the later pattern carve), old birds, volume control away from bridge pickup.

I finally found one with all that, and at a good price. Looked to be in mint shape even though it is a decade old. The Vintage Yellow color is of the darker variety, almost Santana Yellow, but you can see in the cutaway it has a cherry back. Guitar just arrived today. If I can get it setup in time, I will gig with it this weekend.

I'm stoked! Here are a few pictures the previous owner sent me:





The pictures don't do it justice.

It is spectacular. I love the shape and the way it hangs on my body. Just under 8 lbs, no neck dive.

Neck carve is wonderful. Arrow straight neck. Dark Braz board that really needs cleaning and conditioning. The trem is decked, and the strings are old and light. In spite of all that, it sounds sweet, with a nice chime in each position.

The top is PS quality at least. Above Artist grade (and I have 3 nice PRS Artists), with really old school rippled WIDE flames that are very deep. You would probably have to go Private Stock to get a guitar like this now, unless you got really lucky with a kick-ass Artist Pack Santana.

I will be cleaning the fretboard and frets tonight, applying FretDoctor, setting up the trem, and putting 11's on it. I will then go through a process over the next 2 days of setting it up the way I like a PRS to play. More to come.

Steve Hall
Small Zoo string-strangler
 

CatStrangler

PRS Enthusiast
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May 11, 2012
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1,407
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Boston, MA
I was trying to tell someone else at TGP looking for a Santana that there are some crazy deals on I's and II's out there right now. Like the OP I would go for one of the II's.

Edit: I believe the poster at the TGP I addressed before is shallbe! Good Score man!
 
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Alarik

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Feb 25, 2016
Messages
126
Never played a Santana but from the looks of it - that's one sweet guitar!
 

Bill SAS 513

Just another old guy in a T-shirt
Joined
Aug 30, 2012
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3,507
Location
Manchester, Maryland
Gorgeous axe...enjoy...just checked out (hopefully) your bands' FB page...Big Jeff Beck fan, huh???!!!! He's awesome!!!
and nice PRS collection!!!
 

shallbe

New Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Messages
365
Location
Mobile. AL
Gorgeous axe...enjoy...just checked out (hopefully) your bands' FB page...Big Jeff Beck fan, huh???!!!! He's awesome!!!
and nice PRS collection!!!

Thanks for all the replies.

I am a huge Jeff Beck fan. Ever since Truth/Beckola. Then Blow by Blow set the bar so high for genius guitar playing and stellar production.
 

shallbe

New Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Messages
365
Location
Mobile. AL
Last night I got to spend some time working on the guitar.

The strings were probably 9's at one time, but had turned to a mystery gauge due to corrosion. It was a good thing I had a tetanus shot not long ago! The board was pretty grimy as well, and the frets needed polishing. In addition, the trem was decked at an angle toward the treble side. It really did not work. I think the guitar is a 2004? It was in need of some serious TLC, in spite of being ding and scratch free.

Here is what I did:

Polished the frets and fretboard with 0000 steel wool. Works great for taking off the gunk and getting the frets smooth. Does not remove any wood. I taped the pickups so none of the fine metal shavings would get in there. When done, I used tape to remove the metal dust from around the guitar, and wiped it all down with a slightly damp rag. Then I applied FretDoctor generously and let it soak into the wood of the fretboard, headstock and trussrod cover.

While that was going on, I pulled both pickups. I like my pickups high, but I do not like them moving around in their mounts. One reason is unwanted feedback at high stage volumes. I also dislike humbuckers sitting at a strange angle. So I put a rectangle of mic box foam (cut to the pickup cavity) in each and put the pickup back in. Now they are both snug in the mounts, regardless of height. I do this with all my humbucker guitars.

Then I radiused the polepieces to 12". They had never been touched. Not a big deal, but it is something else I find makes a difference.

Without strings (fretboard still drying/soaking), I slowly got the trem back to a good height where it would float, making sure it was level and each screw was on the knife edge.

I wiped off the excess FretDoctor and strung it up with 11-49 strings. Some of the tuning keys moved to easy, and some were hard to turn so I adjusted the tension screws as needed. The saddles were radiused way too much, like a 7.5 inch guitar, so I adjusted those. The heavier strings pulled up the trem so more tension was needed on the springs. However, the neck did not budge at all. In spite of bigger strings, it is still dead straight.

The guitar plays like a dream now, and sounds really clear and sweet. The neck pickup is really special---much more open than the one on my DGT. The top is outstanding, the Brazzy board like smooth dark chocolate. I am going to break my cardinal rule and bring a "new to me" guitar to the gig Saturday night. This should be fun.

Here it is cleaned up:





 

shallbe

New Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Messages
365
Location
Mobile. AL
Really a great gig Saturday night! The band sounded great, we had a good crowd that stayed until closing time.

When I was tuning up the two guitars, my R8 was louder. Since it was the first gig with the Santana II, I kept some tools on the PA speaker beside me. I raised both pickups a bit to get the same volume as the LP.

This guitar hangs on my body so well, sounds and feels so good, I used it for all 4 hours. I left the old R8 on the stand.

During the night, I adjusted the pickup height a few more times to get the right balance between them. This is an outstanding instrument and easily among the best guitars I have ever played or owned, and I have 6 custom builds.

Clean and dirty tones are both exceptional, with nice chime in each position, and really dynamic. I could not be happier about finding this guitar.
 
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