“It is a tribute to the enduring legacy of tube amplifier culture”: Would you buy a $40,000 guitar amp? Because Jens Ritter has just made one and the Encore is a Fender/Dumble inspired work of art

Jens Ritter Encore
(Image credit: Jens Ritter Instruments)

Jens Ritter Instruments has just unveiled a tube amp that might be the most original design we will see this year, and with a list price of €36,000 – the best part of $40,000 – it is quite possibly the most expensive, too. 

The amp is called the Encore, it’s a 2x12 combo, and it is described by Ritter as setting “a new standard in the fusion of superior sound quality, exquisite design, and unparalleled craftsmanship”.

Quite. Just look at it. The inspiration for the cabinet is taken from classic ‘50s and ‘60s design, with that same sort of modernistic spirit that saw wings on US automobiles such as the Lincoln Futura and that changed the shape of the electric guitar itself with the Flying V and Explorer. 

“[The] Encore is not merely an amplifier,” says Jens Ritter. “It is an artifact of cultural significance, designed to bridge the past and future of music.”

Jens Ritter Encore

(Image credit: Jens Ritter Instruments)

It looks like vintage signage meets vintage hi-fi meets vintage amp design. But from front to back it is a love letter to the golden age of the tube amp. As Ritter explains in the YouTube demo video below, if this is to be the final tube amp, so be it. 

Well, we don’t think that this will be the final tube amp, but it might be the ultimate option for the collector looking for classic tones in a wholly original format.

The Encore is rated at 58-watts RMS, and its tones are inspired by the Fender Bassman and classic Dumble amps, presenting across two clean channels, Princess and Porsch, which can be played individually or blended together. Each channel has its own volume control and 3-band EQ. Presence and Cut controls are located on the back of the amp.

One particularly intriguing aspect of this 2x12’s design is that the speakers are mismatched, with a punchy 12” Electro Voice speaker that’s housed in a bass reflex system, complemented by a softer, warmer sounding Jensen driver for the best of both worlds.

Like the channels, you can use these speakers independently or together. Other features include a series effects loop, switchable speaker output impedance, from 4 to 16 ohms.

But all that said, we can’t get past that aesthetic. Not only is the cabinet an audacious silhouette, something that would be the centre piece in any room or studio – but please keep your drinks glasses off the woodwork – the control knobs are coated with white gold and encrusted with sapphires.

Yes, actual white gold, actual blue sapphires. Some amps have jewel-style power lamps. Other have sapphires. What a world.

Jens Ritter Encore

(Image credit: Jens Ritter Instruments)

Under the hood, the Encore is all hand-wired, with its tubes encased in ice-matte, 18-carat white gold covers. Those tubes probably arrived via silk pillow. They certainly won’t be rushed out. The Encore is built to order with each unit taking between six and seven months to put together. Jens Ritter Instruments is only making three of them each year.

There are high-end guitar amps, built for pros, stockpiled by studios, and then there are those built for the collector’s market, and future museum pieces. This is definitely the latter. And maybe after calling time on that search for that Dumble Overdrive Special of your dreams, it might be worth checking out. Head over to Jens Ritter Instruments for more details.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.