Tuning broken in guts
Guys, seems a lot of people are have problems tuning a short reed especially with broken in guts and thought that I would take an hour or two of my time and help those people out. I will add pictures to try and help with the process.
First off we will work on terminology of the short reed.
*Barrel- The part of the call you put to your mouth
*Insert- the part you hold in your hands and the part of the call the guts sit in
*Guts- the wedge, reed, and toneboard that are the heart of a short reed call
*Wedge- is the tapered peice that sits on top of the toneboard and reed to make the guts sit tight in the call
*Toneboard- is the part of the guts that the reed dips into. (the part of the "guts" that gets broken-in)
*Tone channel- The part of the toneboard the reed dips into inside of the "U" shaped valley on the toneboard.
*Reed- is the plastic mylar part that creates the sound of the call
*"Groove"- the lines formed from the reed thus creating the "Broken-in" toneboard
One important part of tuning is when you pop the guts out put your thumb on the front of the toneboard and push down. This is probibly the best and fastest way to eject the guts from the insert. Also note that after a while of doing this your gut will wear and not fit in the call as good as they once did. Scott Thrienen's method is to turn the call around and push the guts out with a small doll rod. Make sure you never twist the toneboard out as you can break the toneboard and destroy a set of well broken in guts.
Now, once you have the guts out of the call inspect the inside of the tone channel to make sure the reed did not create any burs or any other indentations on the "groove" that could effect the sound. (this can happen if you bubble or crack a reed and keep blowing it.
If the toneboard and groove looks alright now you can begin the tuning process. If your guts are broken in you want to make sure you use a reed that fits the groove, if it does not, use a fine grit emory board to fit the reed to the groove.
Now that you have your reed picked and fit to the groove in the tone channel you can either shave or not shave the reed. Shaving the reed has both pro's and cons. For hunting I run all shaved reeds, in my contest call for the most part they are full un-shaven reeds.A shaved reed seems to have more buzz but lacks the full power you can get from a full reed. When shaving the reed I use a sharp pocket knife and a round surface to shave on (a 3.5" shotgun shell works pretty good). You want to shave in stages because you can always take more off but not put more on. Me, I personally just lightly scrape the surface of the reed and don't take too much off. Notice I did not say it was right or wrong to tune the call with the bend of the reed up or down. This is all personal prefernce and I personally tune my calls both ways. What I mean by this is that all reeds ,duck or goose, have a natural bend in them, to find the bend put the reed between your index finger and thumb and apply light pressure, the reed will bend and the side of the reed that creates the "U" shape is the up side of the bend.
To me, the bend up will make the call a little bit harder to blow with more growl,rasp, or buzz. The bend down, a little bit clearer and easier to blow.
Next step, starting to actually tune the call. Most call makers guts come with a line on the side, this is really a great starting point for tuning. And I confess that I still use the line when tuning calls and I urge most begining callers and call tuners to do the same. The line is pretty close to "medium" goose in tone. Put the guts (reed,wedge and toneboard) together in your hand between your tumb and index finger at about the point you "think" they should be and set them in the call.
Leave them loose enough to fine tune the reed placement.