Ladies and Gentlemen (mostly), I've been a semi-avid caller for over 10 years now, and lately, I find myself thinking about and seeking a greater understanding of how all the variables in call design interact and contribute to performance. Admittedly, most of what I've learned in this regard has come from this forum (I've been a snooper for years) and independent verification, but I know I've probably missed some good threads in here too. Anyway, I've finally come to terms with the significance of cork. It doesn't seem like it should matter that much, but okay, it does. I have many questions, but generally they fall into these categories. 1.) Tightness in the notch. I've heard folks say if the cork deforms the base of the reed, it's too tight. Makes sense when you consider that this must give the reed a slight dish shape near the notch, and the degree of dishing will change as the cork weathers. Also, if the cork pushes the reed into the channel, it is restricting/changing air flow to some degree. BUT, practically every RNT I've owned has been this way. So, I'm assuming some deformation is accounted for in their design? Is there an ideal thickness? 2.) Length in notch. Flush, behind, beyond... RNTs are almost universally beyond. I had an MVP that I could NOT tune to save life (it hesitated/air locked on an easy first note, every time), shortening the cork helped some. I finally sent it in and had John doctor it, and now, fantastic doesn't even begin to describe it! But I digress, during the process of trying to fix it myself, I experimented with every dimension of cork and reed, including tightness. 3.) Material. Other than rate of decay, which I realize is also influenced by amount and acidity (or enzymatic activity) of spit, what else is contributed? An air tight seal is an air tight seal, right? How much tonal dampening can really be attributed to material? 4.) What is it about a decayed cork that makes the call sound bad? I've had several that were still tight in the notch. No visible gaps, but still sounded or performed terribly until the cork was freshened. What gives? Would a less tight cork last longer? Thoughts and opinions much appreciated.