Victor Wooten’s unique approach to the bass guitar caused shock waves when he first emerged circa 1988. This is what he has to say about being a bigger, better bassist.

An iconic figure in the bass world, Victor Wooten’s reputation is founded on three decades of exceptional work across a multitude of genres. You may not recognise him from his days playing solo at the Slice of Life restaurant in Nashville. It’s more likely you know him from his time toting a Fodera Monarch for Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Either way, you know who he his. Victor is one of the most-followed bass players on the internet with over 535,000 devotees on Facebook and 60,000 on Twitter. His highly distinctive playing style, which employs dizzily fast polyrhythmic parts via tapping and slapping, all with a phenomenal musicality and rock-solid groove, immediately marked him out as one of the most compelling contemporary bass guitarists on the planet. ‘Music has been really kind to me and I always try to consider myself a musician more than just a bass player,’ he tells us. ‘Sometimes I give people some fireworks, but at the same time I want to make the best music possible, not just a bass showcase.

Aside from his tenure with Bela Fleck, Victor’s desire to experience and play as many different styles as he can –‘variety is the spice of my life musically’ – has seen him build up an impressive client list, including MikeStern, The Dave Matthews Band, Scott Henderson and Greg Howe. In among all this activity, Victor has also found time to record, play and produce nine solo albums, launch his own annual bass and nature camp in Nashville, publish a novel (The Music Lesson, released in 2008), establish his own record label (VixRecords), and form the group SMV with Stanley Clarke and Marcus Miller. As Victor says:
‘Playing with Marcus and Stanley was like a dream come true. I had to remember to step up and be a part of the team rather than just sit back and just watch these amazing guys, but I feel like I’m a better musician because of it. It was just an amazing all-round experience.’ Over the years, Victor has been responsible for the sale of lorryloads of Fodera basses, having first appeared with a beaten-up Fodera Monarch. When it comes to amplification, he relies on his high-profile relationship with Hartke. ‘When I’m playing I want a bass that I forget that I have on, and then I want a speaker that amplifies exactly what I hear in my head, and if it’s doing that and I forget it’s there, then it’s doing its job.’