Mike Brooks takes a look at the new Ritter Cora bass, with its sumptuous ‘Late Lounge’ finish
With each Ritter bass comes an element of surprise: what budget-busting features has German luthier Jens Ritter assembled this time? This particular credit card-melting beauty is a private order and coming in at around £6,500, you can be certain it will be imbued with Ritter’s unique sense of extravagance and opulence.
The one-piece flamed maple body is just sumptuous, finished in what is described as ‘Late Lounge’ colouring (sunrise- or sunset-inspired, perhaps?) and making use of the thick gloss coat to show off the figuring to the maximum. It doesn’t stop there, though: the matching finish has been applied to the headstock facing and neck. The three-piece laminated maple neck is securely attached using a five-bolt system that is super-firm, and the neck pocket is as tightly fitted as you could hope for. The bulbous top horn, deep cutaways, extensive contours and rounded chamfering highlight that comfort is a top priority with this design: the extended top horn improves the balance and a quick test shows it has the playability of a Stanley Clarke Alembic without the weight distribution problems for which that particular bass is notorious.
The black ebony fingerboard comes fitted with white pearl block markers and side markers, and the standard of fret finishing is impeccable, while the pointed headstock design with its limited dimensions improves the overall balance. The 19mm string spacing, 33.3” scale length, pleasantly rounded neck profile and overall dimensions invite the player to dig in. Don’t be scared to do so: despite the price tag, this is a wonderfully solid bass that should be enjoyed. The gold hardware and dark wooden pickup covers just add to the visual extravaganza on offer, while the layout and spacing of the controls and pickups make this feel incredibly comfortable and effortless to play.
Equipped with Ritter-designed circuitry and pickups, the 18 volt, three-band EQ has plenty of room to accommodate a broad palette of sounds and at this sort of price, the player should expect plenty of variation. The jack socket is recessed into the rear of the body and, despite my initial thoughts of ‘why is that there?’, it doesn’t get in the way. The battery compartments are of the fliptop variety for ease of use, while the control cavity is well shielded and tidily laid out.
Playability And Sounds
From the moment you first play this bass, it resonates. Maple will accentuate the bounce and resonant capabilities of the instrument, but it’s really quite surprising to the degree that sustain and attack are prevalent. It’s good to see that the Cora’s stunning looks are matched by stunning playability. The ebony fingerboard adds depth to the natural tone and tempers the exuberant brightness of the maple body. The depth of tone and natural clarity are very appealing and acoustically, the bass exhibits a bell-like quality with a powerfully defined fundamental tone.
Plugging in shows what this bass is really capable of. The Cora is truly an all-rounder that invites confident playing. There’s no lack of bottom end, but the EQ helps to tighten this up while the mid control adds some authority, giving the instrument a rich punch without being extreme or harsh. The treble EQ is also suitably well tuned, offering a crispness that slappers will like a lot. Panning across both pickups, there is no lack of tonal options while each string sounds strong and focused. Both pickups offer the individual tones I would expect to find, but the overall delivery remains refined, punchy and vibrant at all times. Rockers may think that the Cora sounds too clinical to appeal to them, but assuming you have the money and the visuals appeal to you, this bass wouldn’t sound out of place in a rock band as it has the power and definition to do the job.
This really is a great bass to play: a very enjoyable experience indeed. Visually the Cora jumps out at you, screaming ‘Play me!’ and it deserves to be played – often! It’s far too good a piece to be hung on a wall to be admired, or stuck away in its case. And that’s the rub: at just under £6,500, would you be happy to risk taking it out and using it? Then again, if you can afford a bass like this, a relacquer – should you ever need one – would be money well spent to protect your investment. Considering how quickly Jens Ritter’s instruments are purchased after their announcement, there is no lack of players willing to purchase them. Go on – treat yourself!
Price | £6,448
Made In | Germany
Body | One-piece flame maple
Neck | Three-piece maple
Fingerboard | Ebony
Pickups | Master Ritter Slimbuckers x 2
Electronics | Active three-band EQ Ritter C3 circuit
Controls | Volume, pickup pan, bass/treble stacked, mid
Tuners | Ritter BT (custom made by Gotoh)
Bridge | Ritter 3D/B1 string attachment
Nut width | 39mm
Neck Join | Bolt-on, five-bolt
Scale Length | 33.3” (845 mm)
Frets | 21
Weight | 3.7kg (8.1lb)
Left Hand Model Available? Yes
Gigbag/Case included | Hardcase
What We Think
Plus | The Cora has it all – great looks, fine craftsmanship, supreme playability and a tonal palette to match. Extremely comfortable to play, you will always want to pick it up and play it
Minus | The price tag limits its potential audience, but you’re buying quality, and quality costs
Overall | Bags of ‘wow!’ factor, tones to die for… what’s not to like, assuming you’re rich enough?