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Old 03-21-2008, 04:16 PM   #1
Wade Walling
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Short reed tuning...broken in guts.

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.

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Old 03-21-2008, 04:18 PM   #2
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You want to make sure that the reed is as centered as it possibly can be in the groove or un-broken in tone channel. You shouldn't be able to see hardly any gaps between the reed and the front of the tone channel. After this push the reed down into the tone channel as far as you can push it and let it come back up, if you hear ticking or poping your reed is catching somewhere.

If this is happening push the reed down into the tonechannel and with your other hand grab the front of the toneboard and slightly wiggle it once while pulling it slightly outward...this will stop the reed from catching. You still should not have too much if any of a gap between the edge of the reed and the inside of the tonechannel.

Now that you have them started in the spot you think they should be you can fine tune the sound a couple different ways.

The first way would be wedge placement. Wedge hanging out more will require more air but will have more rasp and buzz as well as a better bottom end. But if you go too far it will become flat sounding.
Push the wedge in farther it will require less air to 'vibrate' the reed but you will lose some or most of the rasp and buzz.
When you get the wedge placed where you like it take a marker and mark the wedge as well as the reed, this will take a lot of the guess work out next time you go to tune your calls.

If your call is too buzzy but blows about how you want it, take an old reed and stick it between the reed and tone channel while the gut assembly is still in the call. Take a fine grit emory board and lightly sand the side of the reed to help it dip even farther into the channel. Putting the old reed between the new reed and toneboard will help protect the toneboard from being damaged while shaping the reed.

If the call is too easy to blow you can slowly bend the reed upwards to increase the distance from the reed to the tonebaord but you want to take the part in small steps. The reed has a lot of memory and you don't want to bend it to far up, it will cause the call to be flat and require a lot of air to just "vibrate" the reed.

And of course a longer reed will be deeper in tone and require more air....shorter reed will require less air and be higher in pitch.

Everyone has their own tricks when they tune their calls.

There are also a few things I want to address because I see it on the forums all the time and at shows.

First things first, no one call makers calls are easier to blow than others. Some call makers tune all their calls with the bend down to make them easier to blow off the shelf. When buying a call make sure you tell the call maker to tune the call to your liking so it does not get a bad review from you or others.

Also, a call maker is not a bad call maker or his calls do not "suck" because the reeds break or bubble, this has been mentioned numberous times before. Reeds are laminated peice of plastic and after time will go bad.

I hope this is helpfull to some...if not... get in touch with me and I will help out as much as I can.


Appologize about the bad pictures, the screen on my camera is broke so I had to guess.

Last edited by Wade Walling; 03-21-2008 at 07:18 PM.
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Old 03-21-2008, 04:24 PM   #3
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Thanks for posting up Wade, that was awesome!
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Old 03-21-2008, 04:44 PM   #4
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Thats some good stuff Wade.
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Old 03-21-2008, 05:08 PM   #5
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Thanks for doing that Wade. I just retuned one call and starting to work on the next. This should become a Sticky.
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Old 03-21-2008, 05:13 PM   #6
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2 thumbs up bro!!
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Old 03-21-2008, 05:28 PM   #7
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Nice job Wade. Best part is your mug wasnt in any of the pics!! Perhaps you could shed some light on the different shapes of reeds for dummies like me....For example, Clucker reeds are about the same size on both ends, but some GK reeds like the E3's have a "fat" end and a "narrower" end.....What will the different ends give me for sounds?
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Old 03-21-2008, 05:30 PM   #8
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Now how about how to run a goose call
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Old 03-21-2008, 06:37 PM   #9
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Thanks wade!!! That really helps!!!!
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Old 03-21-2008, 06:57 PM   #10
Wade Walling
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Different reeds and guts

Some call makers use different reeds than others. For example sake we will talk about GK Calls. GK offers E4 which is a standard clucker reed and an E3 wich is more tapered than a clucker reed. Other call makers use reeds that are wider or skinnier.

People don't understand the reason for the shapes of reeds. We will start with the GK E3 reed:

The skinnier profile of this reed allows it to dip down into the tone channel better than a wider reed which in return "cheats" the broken in gut sound without having broken in guts. With using this skinny reed I think you loose power on a call. *NOTE* I think that they would be powerful with a set of broken in guts but do not have guts broken in with a skinny (E3) reed. I think it is also harder to tune the call heavier with a skinny reed as opposed to the wider reed.

Both ends of the E3 reeds can be used in the Edge guts.

The E4 or wider clucker reed seems to be the standard in goose calls today. They are very verrsitle for tuning and sound. The skinnier tapered end fits into most call makers tone channels but the opposite end needs to be fitted for most gut systems.

One thing to remember is if you break in a set of guts with a narrow (E3) reed to stay with that reed on that particular set of guts or you could potentially ruin the guts.

The guts callmakers use are pretty similar in style but all are different in their own way. Here is a picture of the 4 type of guts that I had.

Winglock style guts (They were made by I believe victoria honker with the help of Rick Perry but I don't know for sure) Have a very slight angle and tuning knobs on the back end of the toneboard.

Grounds drop guts- these guts have a wider tone channel and also have more of an angle on the toneboard than most call manufactures. They are great guts!

GK's Edge guts- I believe these guts have a half degree more drop on them than an original clucker gut. But have a more precise tone channel which means less air will wasted.

Original Clucker guts- At one time or another almost every call maker has used this gut in their call...It was one of the first style short reed gut systems that allowed the reed to dip into the tone channel. The downfall of these guts now is that they are not consistant. You might have to go through 10 sets to find a good set. The tone channel does not fit the standard clucker reed well and does waste air.

Something I forgot to add in my first post was the definations of how a call is tuned IN MY OPINION.

Most contest callers blow a call that requires more air than most begining to average callers can handle. But I think people get mixed up on the terms of Hard to blow, stiff, easy, heavy, light ect ect. Here is my opinion

*Wasting air- If there are gaps between the reed and the tone channel air will escape without vibrating the reed
*Hard to Blow- Takes a lot of air to get reed to vibrate and to break reed over
*Stiff- call takes a lot of air to get reed to vibrate
*Heavy- this is the way I like my calls to blow--- Easy to get the reed to vibrate and has wider range on the low end but is harder to get the reed to pop over.
*Easy- l this and light are pretty close but easy in my opinon means most or all callers could pick it up and blow it and can do most sounds on the call.
*Light- light in my opinion is to light for a lot of callers who can not control their air pressure to blow.

Last edited by Wade Walling; 03-21-2008 at 07:17 PM.
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