What is a Richter based harp?
In this article we'll use the name "Richter
based harp" to identify harmonicas that are tuned the same
way as the regular bluesharp. It is common to name the regular
bluesharp tuning "Richter" but, as Pat Missin pointed
out on Harp-L, the term "Richter System" normally
only applies to the physical construction of the harp. A Richter
System harmonica has roughly square sections chambers each containing
a blow reed and a draw reed; each note of the harp having but
a single reed. The Marine Band, the Lee Oskar Melody Maker,
the Huang Cadet Soloist, etc. are all Richter harps.
The XB-40 and CX-10 might have the same tuning
as the typical 10-hole Richter, but these are actually completely
So why grouping all these harps in the same article?
Simply because sharing the same tuning is more important than
the construction of the harp for the harmonica player. It is
generally easier to adapt (at least at first) to a different
size of mouthpiece than to a different tuning.
The lowest octave of a bluesharp has a very typical
sound that is much appreciated by diatonic harmonica players.
That's the reason why many player don't want to use the chromatic
but would still want to play chromatically. All the harps reviewed
in this article keep this characteristic.