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Ritter R-8 Singlecut Bass – Bass Review by Jake Wolf

Ritter R-8 Singlecut Bass – Bass Review by Jake Wolf…  As a lifelong fan of the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into boutique bass building, I’ve spent more time than I care to admit online, ogling photos of Ritter basses.  His visionary use of contour, color and texture merge to create some of the most instantly recognizable and visually striking basses on the planet.    New to the Ritter lineup is Jens’ take on the single cutaway design, the R8 Singlecut bass.   According to Jens, the vision behind the R8 was to create a bolt-on singlecut bass with excellent midrange response, a great sounding B string and improved “tone stability” and string attack.

This R8 arrived for a brief stopover on the way to its new home here in the US.    This particular beauty sports a super lightweight swamp ash body with a sandblasted natural finish, its grain enhanced by a light brown stain.  The result looks like a beautiful piece of driftwood that washed up on a beach somewhere; with its highly textured wood grain and a lovely natural open pore feel. I loved the sublime union of precision craftsmanship, high technology and old world feel.    The R8’s 3-piece maple bolt-on neck has internal aluminum strips to enhance stability, and is capped with a lovely and marvelously finished Asian ebony fretboard.  Its 24 frets gleamed with polished perfection, the bass had effortless playability with incredibly low action.   The neck profile is a medium C shape, substantial but fast, with just enough heft to feel solid in my hands.  The large Ritter Master Bar pickups feature a triple-coil design, which allows for switching of either pickup between dual-coil and hum free single-coil operation.  Jens’ powerful 3-band preamp offers a surprisingly versatile set of options for tonal variation. The concentric stacked bass/mid knob features a push-pull function for the neck pickups coil pattern, while the stacked treble/passive tone knob controls the bridge pickups coil pattern.  The passive tone control is engaged only in passive mode, and the bass’s rear cavity cover has a tiny hole for accessing the internal trim pot, which controls the bass’s output in active mode.   With the deceivingly simple looking knob setup, I was quite impressed by the range of sounds that the R8 can produce.  Its 34.5” scale and uber solid neck joint help produce a thunderously clear and dynamic B string, which was a joy to test through various rigs.  The custom Ritter hardware is exceptionally high quality, and added to the R8’s already marvelous synergy of form and function.

Weighing a svelte 7.7lbs, the heavily contoured ash body just melts into your lap, and feels as comfortable as an old pair of slippers.   Jens is truly a master of ergonomics; the minute you pick up this bass you realize there’s more to the wild aesthetics and elegant lines than meets the eye.  To me, the bass feels substantial yet streamlined, comfortable and efficient.  It feels like something that was born, rather than made.    The sound is decidedly bold and modern, with lots of complex midrange and a wide overall sonic footprint.  I was able to dial in a variety of usable sounds, each unique and compelling, and as original sounding as the bass is looking.

Those familiar with Jens’ basses will likely recognize some familiar elements borrowed from the Roya and Classic lines, but its clear that the R8 is more than a hop-on-the-bandwagon foray into singlecut territory; it’s designed from the ground up to address some of Jens’ tonal and functional goals for the R8, via the inherent strengths and tonal/mechanical attributes of the single cutaway design.  In that, the R8 excels; its ultra quick and punchy tone really enhances articulate playing styles, and its broad tonal spectrum allows the user access to a myriad of usable and unique tones.   The R8 starts at about $6,669, this model as tested with a few bells and whistles comes in at  $7,399. Not exactly budget friendly for most players, but as Ritter’s’ devoted and happy customers will attest to, Jens’ singular vision, and dedication to his craft have helped him find a niche all his own, as evidenced by this R8’s ability to seamlessly deliver an extraordinary amalgam of craftsmanship, playability and tone. Check out more on the web at ritter-instruments.com/R8-singlecut.php

Drop me a line at [email protected] with any feedback, suggestions, or requests for upcoming reviews.

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