Victor Lemonte Wooten 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. From 2017 to 2019 he recorded as the bassist for the metal band Nitro.
He owns Vix Records, which releases his albums. He wrote the novel The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music. He later released the book’s sequel, The Spirit of Music: The Lesson Continues, on February second, 2021.
Wooten is the recipient of five Grammy Awards. He won the Bass Player of the Year award from Bass Player magazine three times and is the first person to win the award more than once. In 2011, he was ranked No. 10 in the Top 10 Bassists of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine.
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. 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.
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. 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. The two bassists have been teaching together since the early 1990s.
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.