There are a couple of events in a musician’s life that leave an impression on their lives. If you’re lucky, you get a couple of those throughout your life. For me, it was the first time I heard Victor Wooten play.
I had just started to play bass and I was talking to a percussionist backstage of a concert I was attending.
“That’s cool, man,” he said. “We need bassists. Have you heard of Victor Wooten?”
“You should check him out,” he said. “He’s good.”
Major understatement of the century.
When I got home, I jumped on the computer and went to a recently launched website called Amazon. I clicked on this CD cover to hear a sample:
My mind was blown away by his playing. I went to youtube to see what I could find on him. I found this video:
Victor Wooten: Breaking The Laws of Physics
I had never heard anything like that before. He was doing what I thought were impossible things on the bass. After seeing him play, I became a fan of his. I bought a series of books and CD’s I wanted to learn how to play just like him.
Technique and Groove
Throughout the years I kept up with everything about him. What I love about him is his technique and his seemingly endless supply of creativity. Whatever setting he is playing in, he fits right in and makes the band sound better.
The concepts required to play solo bass are not the same as when playing with band. When you play a solo piece, your time has to be impeccable, your technique pristine, your sense of groove has to be spot on. It’s not an easy fit but Victor’s got it down pat.
After hearing him play, I decided to study his technique and try to copy his techniques. I sad to report I have yet to master Victor Wooten’s double slap technique. Discovering his music early on in my musical journey pushed me to explore the bass more.
If you are just starting out to play bass, I suggest you go out past the genre you are used to playing. Doing this will force you on the different feel the genres have and the job you have to do as a bassist. Versatility as bassist is a skill set to pick up.
The man is a groove machine, there is no genre he can’t play. On top of being a great bassist, Victor Wooten is also a teacher. He has taken the time to share what he has learned with the rest of the bass community. Thank goodness for that.
You might be in the beginning stages of your musical journey. If this is the case and you’re looking to listen to a bass player you can learn from, Victor Wooten is a great choice.