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Victor Wooten

Wooten playing at the Belly Up in 2006.
Background information
Birth name Victor Lemonte Wooten
Born September 11, 1964 (1964-09-11) (age 45)
Hampton, Virginia, U.S.
Genres Funk, jazz, bluegrass, rock
Occupations Musician, songwriter, producer, author
Instruments Low guitar, double Low guitar, cello, banjo
Years active 1980 onward
Associated acts Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, Steve Bailey, Vital Tech Tones, SMV, Greg Howe, Dave Matthews Band, Chick Corea Elektric Band

Victor Lemonte Wooten (born September 11, 1964) is an American solo bassist, composer and author.

Wooten has won the "Bass Player of the Year" award from Bass Player magazine three times in a row, and was the first person to win the award more than once.[1] In addition to a solo career and collaborations with various artists, Wooten has been the bassist for Béla Fleck and the Flecktones since the group's formation in 1988.

In 2008, Wooten joined Stanley Clarke and Marcus Miller to record an album. The trio of bassists, under the name SMV, released Thunder in August 2008 and began a supporting tour the same month.[2]


Early life

Born to Dorothy and Pete Wooten, Victor is the youngest of the five Wooten Brothers, the other four being Regi, Roy, Rudy Wooten and Joseph Wooten, all of whom are highly regarded musicians. At age three, brother Regi taught Victor to play bass, and by the age of five, Victor was playing in front of crowds with his brothers in their family band, The Wooten Brothers Band.[3]


Wooten playing his Steinberger headless bass guitar at the Belly Up in 2006.

Wooten is most often seen playing Fodera basses, of which he has a signature model.[4] His most famous Fodera, a 1983 Monarch Deluxe which he refers to as "number 1", sports a Kahler Tremolo System model 2400 bridge. Fodera's "Yin Yang" basses (designed/created for Wooten) incorporate the Yin Yang symbol - which Wooten often uses in various media - as a main focal point of the top's design and construction. It is often mistakenly thought that the Yin Yang symbol is painted onto the bass, but in reality, the symbol is created from two pieces of naturally finished wood (Ebony and Holly, for example), seamlessly fitted together to create the Yin-Yang pattern.[5]

Though Wooten's basses receive much attention, his most frequent and consistent response when asked by his fans about his equipment (or equipment in general) is that "the instrument doesn't make the music ... you do". He'll often go on to state that the most important features to look for in a bass are comfort and playability. During a question and answer session at a 1998 concert, Wooten stated that "If you take a newborn baby and put them on the instrument, they're going to get sounds out of it that I can't get out of it, so we're all the best."[6] This philosophy seems closely related to Wooten's approach to music in general, which is that music is a language. According to Wooten, while speaking or listening, one doesn't focus on the mouth as it is forming words; similarly, when a musician is playing or performing the focus shouldn't be on the instrument.

As well as playing electric bass (both fretted and fretless) and the double bass, Victor also played the cello in high school. He still plays cello occasionally with the Flecktones. This is the instrument to which he attributes his musical training.


With Bass Extremes
  • Cookbook (1998)
  • Just Add Water (2000)
With Vital Tech Tones
  • Vital Tech Tones (1998)
  • Vital Tech Tones 2 (2000)
With Greg Howe
With SMV
With Béla Fleck and the Flecktones


  • The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music, ISBN 9780425220931, Penguin Group, 2008


  1. ^ Elig, Jenny."Famous bass player to visit the Swindlefish tonight", The Post (Online Edition), 1999-10-11. Retrieved on December 25, 2006.
  2. ^ "Marcus Miller News". Retrieved 2008-06-19.  
  3. ^
  4. ^ Fodera Guitars "Victor Wooten '83 Classic", Fodera Guitars website, Retrieved on January 10, 2007.
  5. ^ Fodera Guitars "Victor Wooten Yin-Yang 4 String", Fodera Guitars website, Retrieved on January 10, 2007.
  6. ^ Victor Wooten. (1999). Victor Wooten Live at Bass Day 1998 [VHS]. Hudson Music.

External links



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