gustavo santaolalla


(Reposted and updated from 2017)

As evidenced by this blog, I’m a huge fan of multi-instrumentalist composer, Gustavo Santaolalla. His music is synonymous with the world. He seems to capture at once the sound of Latin America, as well as distant cultures from all continents.

For this interpretation of John Carpenter’s Halloween theme — I wanted to to reimagine it as a “world” sounding piece. Like something that might be played in The Last Of Us. To accomplish this, I looked no further than the unceasing fingerstyle of Gustavo Santaolalla.

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Gear Used

My guitar is a Cordoba C7. I use this guitar specifically for low, alternate tunings. I keep it strung with Savarez Yellow Card strings.

Click here for a current list of my gear.

How to play John Carpenter’s Halloween (Santaolalla style)

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The guitar tab for Halloween is beautifully written across two pages. I would characterize this song as best for intermediate to advanced guitar players. While the guitar tab is only two pages long, and very easy to read — the relentless fingerstyle technique will take some stamina that a beginner guitarist will not have.

For a couple of the chord shapes on page one, you’ll notice in the guitar tab, that I play an open string at the end of the passage. I do this to allow me time to get to the next chord shape without missing a beat. I didn’t even realize I was doing until I listened back to the recording. 

The guitar tab is played straight through twice. You’ll take care to |: repeat :| each section twice. I love playing this, please enjoy!

The guitar tab is available below:

Halloween Theme (ambient, World guitar)

My version of Halloween is played in a low, alternate tuning. Your tuning will look like this, from Low to high: B E B F# F# B

It will most likely be much easier for you to get your guitar into, D G D A A D. That tuning achieves the same thing, just a slightly higher tonality. Note: you’ll be tuning the 3rd string up from G to A.


Written by:

Matthew's dad, Jennifer's husband, bass player - New Invisible Joy, YouTuber, short-film composer, creator of modern content for guitar.