Victor Wooten

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Victor Wooten
Wooten plays his headless bass guitar known as his "Sitar Bass" at the Belly Up in San Diego 2006
Wooten plays his headless bass guitar known as his "Sitar Bass" at the Belly Up in San Diego 2006
Background information
Birth nameVictor Lemonte Wooten
Born (1964-09-11) September 11, 1964 (age 58) [1]
Mountain Home, Idaho, U.S.
GenresJazz fusion, jazz funk, bluegrass, pop, progressive rock[2]
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, record producer
Instrument(s)Bass guitar
Years active1980–present

Victor Lemonte Wooten (born September 11, 1964) is an American bassist, songwriter, and record producer. He has been the bassist for Béla Fleck and the Flecktones since the group's formation in 1988 and a member of the band SMV with two other bassists, Stanley Clarke and Marcus Miller.[2][3] From 2017 to 2019 he recorded as the bassist for the metal band Nitro.

He owns Vix Records, which releases his albums.[4] He wrote the novel The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music.[5][6] He later released the book's sequel, The Spirit of Music: The Lesson Continues, on February 2, 2021.[7]

Wooten is the recipient of five Grammy Awards.[8] He won the Bass Player of the Year award from Bass Player magazine three times[2] and is the first person to win the award more than once.[8] In 2011, he was ranked No. 10 in the Top 10 Bassists of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine.[9]

In 2018–2019 Wooten was diagnosed with a rare neurological condition called focal dystonia in his hands and upper body, which had been limiting his ability to play in previous years, but has since abated somewhat.[10]

Early life and career[edit]

Born to Dorothy and Elijah Wooten, Victor is the youngest of the five Wooten brothers; Regi, Roy, Rudy, and Joseph Wooten are all musicians. Regi began to teach Victor to play bass when he was two, and by the age of six, he was performing with his brothers in their family band, The Wooten Brothers Band.[2][11] As a United States Air Force family, they moved often when Wooten was young. The family settled in Newport News, Virginia, in 1972. Wooten graduated from Denbigh High School in 1982. While in high school, he and his brothers played in the country music venue at Busch Gardens theme park in Williamsburg, Virginia. In 1987, he traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, to visit friends that he made at the theme park. One of them was a studio engineer who introduced him to Béla Fleck, with whom he has often collaborated.[12]

In 2000, Wooten created a music program called Bass/Nature camp that was expanded into Victor Wooten's Center for Music and Nature and includes all instruments. His camps are at Wooten Woods, a 147-acre retreat in Only, Tennessee, near Nashville.[13] Wooten co-leads the "Victor Wooten/Berklee Summer Bass Workshop" at Berklee College of Music in Boston. At Berklee and his own camps, he collaborates with Berklee Bass Department chair, Steve Bailey.[14] The two bassists have been teaching together since the early 1990s.

He was featured on the May/June 2014 cover of Making Music Magazine[15] to discuss the camps.


Wooten performing in 2009

Wooten is most often seen playing Fodera basses, of which he has a signature model. His most famous Fodera, a 1983 Monarch Deluxe he refers to as "number 1," sports a Kahler Tremolo System model 2400 bridge. Fodera's "Yin Yang" basses (co-designed by and created for Wooten) incorporates the Yin Yang symbol—which Wooten uses in various media—as a focal point of the top's design and construction. The symbol is created from two pieces of naturally finished wood (Ebony and Holly, for example), fitted together to create the Yin-Yang pattern.[16]

As well as playing electric bass (both fretted and fretless) and the double bass, he played cello in high school. He still plays cello occasionally with the Flecktones as well as in the 2012 Sword and Stone/Words and Tones tour.[17]


Solo Albums[edit]

As the Wootens[edit]

  • The Wootens with The Wootens (Arista, 1985) [18]

As Bass Extremes – with Steve Bailey [19][edit]

  • Cookbook (Tone Center, 1998)
  • Just Add Water (Tone Center, 2001)
  • S'Low Down (Vix, 2022)

As Vital Tech Tones – with Scott Henderson and Steve Smith [20][edit]

As SMV – with Stanley Clarke and Marcus Miller [21][edit]

With Béla Fleck and the Flecktones[edit]

With others[edit]

As sideman – with Mike Stern[edit]

  • These Times (ESC, 2003)
  • Who Let the Cats Out? (Heads Up, 2006)
  • All Over the Place (Heads Up, 2012)
  • Trip (Heads Up, 2017)


  • The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music, ISBN 978-0-425-22093-1, Penguin Group, 2008
  • The Spirit of Music: The Lesson Continues, ISBN 978-0-593-08166-2, Penguin Group, 2021


  1. ^ "Bio". victor wooten.
  2. ^ a b c d Phares, Heather. "Victor Wooten". AllMusic. Retrieved September 2, 2018.
  3. ^ "Marcus Miller News". Archived from the original on February 11, 2012. Retrieved June 19, 2008.
  4. ^ "Victor Wooten Announces A Show of Hands 15". February 8, 2011. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  5. ^ Salina Journal (2010)
  6. ^ "Biography". Archived from the original on May 19, 2010. Retrieved November 18, 2013.
  7. ^ "The Spirit of Music". Penguin Random House Higher Education. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  8. ^ a b "Victor Wooten official website/biography". Official website. VixLix Music. 2010. Archived from the original on May 19, 2010. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
  9. ^ "Rolling Stone Readers Pick the Top Ten Bassists of All Time". March 31, 2011. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  10. ^ "Interview Victor Wooten Focal Dystonia Treatment". February 25, 2021. Retrieved February 27, 2022.
  11. ^ Brodkin, Fran (November 29, 2013). "The Wootens: Band of brothers grow up with music and values". Montgomery News.
  12. ^ McDonald, Sam (February 21, 2000) "High Profile: Victor Wooten", Daily Press, Retrieved 2016-03-04
  13. ^ "Victor Wooten chosen in 'Rolling Stone' 'Greatest Bass Players of All Time' poll". April 7, 2011. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  14. ^ "Victor Wooten/Berklee Summer Bass Workshop | Berklee College of Music". Retrieved March 4, 2016.
  15. ^ Freddy Villano (May 1, 2014). "Victor Wooten's Music and Nature Camps". Retrieved March 4, 2016.
  16. ^ "Victor Wooten Yin Yang 4 String". Archived from the original on March 6, 2010. Retrieved December 25, 2013.
  17. ^ "Playing with Words and Music". NoTreble. October 4, 2012. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
  18. ^ "The Wootens – The Wootens | Releases | Discogs".
  19. ^ "Bass Extremes | Discography | Discogs".
  20. ^ "Vital Techtones | Discography | Discogs".
  21. ^ "S. M. V., Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten – Thunder (2020, Vinyl) – Discogs".

External links[edit]