Hey, I'm painting my bass cabinet and need to know what I need to do to ensure that the paint won't chip, look bad after a while. for example: primer, clear coat, multiple costs, etc. I took the tolex off and it is already naked wood, no glue or anything left over.
You pretty much nailed it in your post. Sand the wood lightly, spray the primer (however many coats you want) and then spray it the colour you want. Multiple light coats, not one thick coats or else it will dribble and, later on, chip.

I wouldn't bother with a clear coat unless you plan on doing anything intricate. Obviously, cab covers will be a must.

(I've never painted a cab before but woods is woods.)
Wood doesn't affect tone, leave the rainforest alone..
Consider using Duratex. It's textured, it's really tough, it looks like tolex, it rolls on easily and it's not particularly expensive (oh, and it comes in colors). http://store.acrytech.com/Speaker-Cabinet-Coatings/

Here's another option. I have two cabinets that I needed to be really durable. These are a pair of 2x12s with ports and piezo tweeters. I took them to a LineX dealer. LineX is a pickup truck bed liner that's extremely tough (and again, looks like tolex), that comes in colors, and that's sprayed on hot. As soon as it cools, it's ready to go (I walked in and back out with the finished cabinets in about a half hour). Absolutely brutal stuff, and it seems to be structural; it'll hold things together that would normally have long since come apart. If you're familiar with The Mythbusters, you'll know that there are at least three shows that feature the stuff. In one they blew up a pair of small pickups; one had a bedliner of LineX, the other didn't. Both trucks were nearly vaporized, except for the pickup truck bed on the one that had been sprayed with LineX. The military uses this stuff as an anti-spalling coating. http://www.linex.com/ and http://www.linex.com/pages/2010/military/