This has become an interesting thread.  I'll even search for
the Koch that lives in my sock drawer and give it another try.
I'll stick with my recommendation against buying either of
the Richter-tuned semi-chromatics in place of a "true"
chromatic, based on my own experience.

I bought my first chromatic because I wanted an instrument that
was more capable of melody playing than a is a diatonic.  At the
store where I shopped, the only harp labeled chromatic was a Koch.
The salesman knew nothing about harmonicas, and of course you can't
play before you pay, so I bought the Koch.  I was quite disappointed.

Two months later, again having some money in my pocket, I purchased
my first true chromatic, a Hohner 270 in C.  Great harp.  I've
learned a lot on that instrument (but not nearly as much as I've
yet to learn).  As Winslow said, it has a three octave chromatic
range.  It plays nicely, and is well made.

On my birthday, I was given a Model 260 in C.  In my opinion, the
260 has a fuller tone than the 270.  It is lacking the highest half
octave available on the 270.  However, I more often fall off the
bottom of the harp than the top.  Probably 90 per cent of what I
play on the 270 I can play on the 260.  The 260 is more convenient
to carry in my briefcase or pocket, to take on vacation, and so on.
Therefore, it gets played more.  It did get played more, that is.
I think I left it on St. Thomas last spring.  By the way, St. Thomas
is a really nice place to be when you lose a harmonica.

Re:  Hering harmonicas

I heard about Hering harps at about the same time I decided to buy
a 16 hole chromatic.  It seems like most of the blues players use
the Hohner Super 64, but I hesitated at the price.  The Hering was
less expensive, so I bought a Hering Professional.  Another
disappointment.  This is not an excellent harp.  It buzzes.  It
rattles.  It is inconsistent, hole-to-hole.  It's mouthpiece is a
casting, with big square holes and thin dividers.  It is difficult
to tongue block octaves, both because of the thin dividers and because
of the variation in air required in different holes.

I learned later that Hering has produced several models, and that
their quality has varied considerably.  They made one called a
Membo, I think, that is a very good instrument.  My teacher, Dave
Morrison has had several.  I remember seeing one on the cover of
a Toots Thielemans album, too.

You can only buy what is available, though, and when I decided to
give Hering another try on a 12 hole harp, I ended up with another
Professional.  It is not the equal of a Hohner 260 or 270.

To sum up, I recommend against either the Koch or the Slide Harp
as a first chromatic.  I agree with Winslow Yerxa that the Hohner 270
is a quality instrument with a very useful range.  It is an
excellent first choice.  I'll disagree with Winslow on an "economy"
model, though.  I prefer the Hohner 260, a quality harp with 2 1/2
octaves range, to the Hering, a 3 octave harp that is less playable
throughout its range.

I'll repeat from my previous post--avoid the Hohner Chromettas.
The price might be attractive, but they are poor instruments.

George Mayhew

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