“The best way to get the bass sound I wanted was to play like Larry Graham. But it wasn’t fast enough for me”: Victor Wooten sums up his game-changing slap technique

Victor Wooten Promotes His New CD "Soul Circus" and Fodera Bass - November 6, 2005 at O-East in Tokyo, Japan.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Since the release of his debut album, A Show of Hands, which contains some of the most complex, but enjoyable music ever recorded on the bass guitar, Victor Wooten has been celebrated among the bass world’s elite. While he's continued to release wonderfully assured solo albums and remains a cornerstone of the indefinable Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, his philosophical depths have also come to the fore. No more so than in his book, The Music Lesson.

Yet for most bassists, Wooten will forever be known for his incredible plucking, slapping and popping speed. “For me that started with Larry Graham,” he said in an upcoming interview with BP. “On Everyday People by Sly And The Family Stone, it was just one note over and over, but it was a funky note. It wasn’t exactly the same note – even if everything else was muted and you were just hearing the bass, you’d start dancing to it. 

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Nick Wells

Nick Wells was the Editor of Bass Guitar magazine from 2009 to 2011, before making strides into the world of Artist Relations with Sheldon Dingwall and Dingwall Guitars. He's also the producer of bass-centric documentaries, Walking the Changes and Beneath the Bassline, as well as Production Manager and Artist Liaison for ScottsBassLessons. In his free time, you'll find him jumping around his bedroom to Kool & The Gang while hammering the life out of his P-Bass.