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Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

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Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby msd1228 » 02 20, 2015 •  [Post 1]

Hey fellas, things have been a bit quiet the last few days and I've been trying to think of an interesting topic to post but have come up empty, so I figured maybe we could fire up a thread to help people who may be struggling with mouth reeds. There is no question that a good open reed will call in a boatload of elk, but there is also no question that no elk calling repertoire is complete without a versatile mouth reed attack.

All that being said, my question to the newbies or even experienced guys who may have some trouble is this: what specifically gives you trouble when using mouth reeds? What sounds do you struggle with? Can you describe what is occurring when your sounds aren't coming out the way you want them to? (I.e., is the tone coming out flat, are you not getting a proper seal, are the notes screech, does the reed even fit your mouth?)

Please, fire away! You can rest assured that if you are having a problem that 100 people before you have had that exact same problem and one of us will likely some info or suggestions that can help. Don't be shy!

Once the thread gets going I'll throw out many of the common issues that I help people with and will speak about some of the ways that those issues can be cured.


Also, I should note that Paul's "Mastering the Mouth Reed" DVD is a must watch for anybody having issues with a mouth reed. It will also help prevent newbies from ever developing many of the bad habits that tend to show up in self-taught callers. I can't remember how many years ago I bought the DVD - it was right after it came out, but I can personally attest that the DVD laid the foundation that helped take me from a regular joe-blow caller to a multiple time Canadian Elk Calling Champion and the current World Championship Men's 2nd place finisher. It really lays out the fundamentals skills that every caller should have.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby mottlet » 02 21, 2015 •  [Post 2]

I self-taught myself some bad habits when learning to use a turkey call years and years ago that led to a few difficulties when I started trying to use elk calls. Mostly just that I was using the top of the back of my tongue to contact the reed. Figured out pretty quick that I was gonna have to use the tip of my tongue to get those drawn out elk sounds!
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby Rangerz » 02 21, 2015 •  [Post 3]

I have a tendency to "cutoff" the reed when trying to do the higher notes in the middle of a bugle. It seems I push the latex up to far and it bottoms out on the dome. Been trying to use more tongue instead of just the tip. A work in progress.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby ohio boy » 02 21, 2015 •  [Post 4]

Since were on this topic, what reed to you advise for a beginner? I was looking at elk nuts store and see many choices. Im not real good with reeds. I currently just have a cow call that you just blow into. Not sure if that ls good enough or do reeds really make the sound so much better!!
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby elk.addict » 02 21, 2015 •  [Post 5]

I gave my kids those white Primos with the single reed. They are extremely easy to use but they don't seem to last very long.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby msd1228 » 02 21, 2015 •  [Post 6]

ohio boy wrote:Since were on this topic, what reed to you advise for a beginner? I was looking at elk nuts store and see many choices. Im not real good with reeds. I currently just have a cow call that you just blow into. Not sure if that ls good enough or do reeds really make the sound so much better!!


I can assure you that one you get good at reeds you will sound 1000x better than you do with a blow style call. I would recommend the Mellow Yellow out of the reeds that are in Paul's store - it is a very soft latex that is quite easy to run (if you get a good one - I'll speak more about this later) and will make great cow sounds and smaller bugles. Out of our line at Wapiti River Outdoors I would recommend either the Pink Lady or the Black Widow. Again, both of these are soft reeds, but the Black Widow has a touch more backbone than the Pink lady.

The key to getting good at reeds is finding one that fits your calling style. For example, a ton of guys love double reeds, but I pretty much exclusively use single reeds - I don't apply as much pressure on the calls as others. Likewise, I run into some people who do all of their cow calling and bull calling with a stiff triple reed. I can't even bugle with a triple reed let alone cow call with one - I just don't exert enough pressure on the call. I can't stress enough the importance of matching the reed to your calling style rather trying trying to match your calling style to the reed.

Another huge element is frame size - some people have wider/narrower palates than others. A person with a narrow palate will never be able to run a wider frame call properly...the geometry simply doesn't work. Likewise, a person with a wider palate will typically struggle with a narrow frame call because it sits too flat against the roof of the mouth and the latex ultimately goes dead because there isn't enough gap between the top of the latex and the palate to allow the tongue pressure to do higher notes. This exact thing is why domed reeds have been so huge - a domed reed FORCES the proper amount of space to exist between the top of the latex and the palate (on a domed reed the bottom of the dome essentially replaces the palate - its an artificial palate, if you will). The first thing I do when I have a person struggling with a call is to have them place it in their mouth and let me look inside so I can see the position for myself. So many times I've seen people trying to use a call that just doesn't fit - either the frame is too wide and has to sit in their mouth at an angle, or the frame is too narrow and it sits flat against their palate. In a perfect world, the frame of the call should fit somewhat snug between the INSIDES of your teeth. Ideally, you can pop the reed into your mouth, put it into position between your teeth, and IT WONT FALL OUT. Again, this is in a perfect world - I realize that this won't happen for everyone. If you have to tilt the call side to side to get it to fit between your teeth then IT IS TOO BIG. You will never become proficient with this call - you need to go to a smaller frame.

....a person can spend many frustrated hours trying to get a call to work when the truth is that the reed may NEVER work for them.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby msd1228 » 02 21, 2015 •  [Post 7]

2 posts about tongue position - a very common issue! It's interesting because mottet and rangerz are essentially doing the exact opposite of each other, but ultimately get about the same result (cut off bugles, etc). Tongue position is huge - without getting this right you will struggle with consistency.

I have included a really bad picture of what part of your tongue should be contact the latex, and another of the general shape your tongue should be making. As you can see, you don't want to use the tip of your tongue - you want to use the "ball" of your tongue - the portion that pops up if you were to flex your tongue like would would your bicep. At least for learning purposes, its often easiest to get the right position by anchoring the tip of your tongue (look at the picture on the right - the tip of the tongue is the far right side of the line) either against the back of your bottom teeth or against your gum like where the back of your bottom teeth start to grow out of them. I still use this exact position when I cow call, but I deviate a bit for bugling. But, as I said, for learning proper tongue placement this is a good method because it forces you to use the ball of your tongue - this will also help to keep you from bottoming the reed out on the dome since its harder for you to push up that far with the flat of your tongue as compared to the tip.

Another important thing to remember is that for 99% of people its best to keep your tongue off the leading edge of the latex. If you kill the vibration on the leading edge then you'll kill your sound - don't suffocate the leading edge. Ideally you want to be contacting the latex somewhere in the middle. For elk calling my tongue position falls around the mid point to front third of the latex - this allows me to break over the notes on command without smothering the vibration.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that, generally, volume is controlled by AIR PRESSURE (how hard you blow) and pitch is controlled by tongue pressure (how hard you push on the reed). Yes, you can alter your pitch with air flow as well, but it takes mastery of tongue control before you can learn to do that with any degree of consistency. So remember, AIR = Volume, TONGUE = pitch.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby Rangerz » 02 21, 2015 •  [Post 8]

Thank You Shane!

To the other gentleman about which style of reed, you might also look at the Allstar. Was easy for me to get some decent sounds with that one.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby ohio boy » 02 21, 2015 •  [Post 9]

Thanks shane. Alot of good info there that i never knew. I am def gonna order a cpl different reeds and try them to see which works best for me. I know with my turkey calls, it seems like my tongue is always tickling. ( if that makes sense ).
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby Brendan » 02 21, 2015 •  [Post 10]

I got pretty comfortable with bugles - the greater air volume seemed to work better for me. But, when I transitioned out to the woods, I was having a heck of a time with my cow calling, especially quieter calling.

I was using mainly the "mellow yellow" and feel like I need much more practice... Almost like the reed would stop vibrating and I'd just be making that hissing noise...
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby msd1228 » 02 21, 2015 •  [Post 11]

Brendan wrote:I was having a heck of a time with my cow calling, especially quieter calling. Almost like the reed would stop vibrating and I'd just be making that hissing noise...


The softness of the reed will dictate how quiet you can get - the softer the reed the quieter you can call. The Mellow Yellow is a soft reed, but as I alluded to earlier, often times reeds from bigger manufacturers suffer from consistency problems...you may have to buy 5 of the same reed to find a single one that does what you want it to. In order to really get soft you need to break the reed in/down a bit. When I prep a new cow reed either for the woods or stage I'll immediately start doing a few bugles/grunts and hard estrus style screams with it to try and break in the latex. The heavy tongue pressure and vibration from your voice will help expedite the softening process. Although this may sound counter-intuitive, I personally find my cow reeds perform at their peak when I have worn them in such that the leading edge of the latex is a little bit wavy in appearance. This is NOT THE CASE FOR BUGLING REEDS - just cow reeds.

Another thing that will soften the reed is to add a tiny, tiny (like 1/32" - 1/16") cut to the edge of the reed, close to the frame. The Mellow Yellow already has a double cut so its not necessary to do on that reed, but 99% of the other elk reeds out there don't have any cuts. For what you are describing I would recommend you try to following 2 calls: If you want to stay with Bugling Bull reeds then I would try to Pink Temptress. If you would be interested in trying one of our calls at Wapiti River Outdoors then I would recommend the Pink Lady - once broken in this call will go so soft that it is nearly inaudible, all while allowing you to maintain control. I always demo that feature of the call for people when I'm with them in person - experienced callers' jaws drop every single time. I also use that technique as one of the elements of my stage calling - this year at world's I had my Black Widow so soft that the front row of the audience didn't even hear the quiet sequence I did. The ability to call at incredibly low volume while maintaining total control of the flow and pitch of the sound will drastically separate you from 95% of the guys in the elk woods.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby chipick » 02 21, 2015 •  [Post 12]

I'm good with the cow and calf calls but can't get that deep three note bugle
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby msd1228 » 02 21, 2015 •  [Post 13]

A couple other things I regularly see:

I hear this lots, and I hear it a lot when people post their sound clips on here, and that is guys often have a tendency to put far too much pressure on their reed when bugling, both with regards to air and tongue pressure. It is very easy to hear when this occurs because you will notice that a bugle will go from having a nice tone with good control to having almost a screechy tone that that is very inconsistent. If the following graphic represents a proper bugle with good control ----------------------- (a smooth, continuous note), then this next graphic represents the pattern of an overblown bugle -------/\/\/\/\/\/\ (starts smooth and then goes all squirrely and has a screechy tone). It is very easy to hear when it occurs - even people with an uneducated ear can pick up on it immediately. It's important to get used to taking the reed up to its naturally highest note and holding it there - this is how you learn to maximize control. If the reed does not produce the tonal qualities you are looking for then you are better off switching to a reed with a tighter stretch that will allow you to hit a higher note with control than to over blow a reed that is too soft for what you are trying to achieve. Remember: tighter stretch = higher tones.

Another thing that I see all the time is that people often get carried away with using certain mouth formations when cow calling and it really takes away from the realism of their otherwise solid calling. Many people have a tendency to make a very pronounced "EEEEE-YOU EEEE-YOU" mouth formation on every single cow sound. If you listen to Paul's "Sounds by the Elk" CD you will clearly hear that cows don't make that sound regularly. Sure you can throw it in for some variety every now and then, but it should not be your default sound. To maximize the realism of your cow calling it is imperative to learn to drop the lower jaw at the end of the mew in order to taper the sound off. Think of how you move your jaw when they Dr. tells you to say "Ah" - that is how you should work your jaw when cow calling. Dropping the jaw in a smooth manner will directly result in a reduced amount of tongue pressure on the reed and thus give you the natural downward taper in tone that a real cow has. Varying the amount you open your jaw in this way will allow you to get a whole bunch of different endings to your cow calls, all of which sound far more natural than "EEE-YOU". Listen closely to the Sounds by the Elk CD or any elk recording on YouTube and you'll see what I mean.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby msd1228 » 02 21, 2015 •  [Post 14]

chipick wrote:I'm good with the cow and calf calls but can't get that deep three note bugle


Getting a bugle with pronounced notes is all about tongue control. You can get 3 distinct notes all while blowing the exact same amount of air pressure across the reed - many people will both blow harder and push harder when trying to get distinct notes but that isn't necessary. Practice by blowing the same amount of air that you normally would for your usual bugle, but use very, very light tongue pressure. This will result in you getting a loud note with a low tone. Get used to holding that tone. Now do that again and slowly add tongue pressure until you break over to the next note. The break will be very distinct if you do this with control (don't add any AIR pressure, just tongue pressure). Keep practicing this - you will see that if you keep your air pressure consistent the reed will always break over with the same amount of tongue pressure. Master this and you will have a much greater understanding of control. Once you have learned to flow seamlessly between those first 2 notes its time to add tongue pressure once again until you get the next break. Again - maintain the same amount of AIR pressure throughout, just increase your TONGUE pressure. After you have developed the ability to consistently move between these 3 distinct notes (practice going up and down and back up again all in the same breath if you can) then it is just a matter of getting the rhythm down until it sounds how you want it to.

Once you have mastered the ability to use TONGUE PRESSURE to smoothly move up and down the tone register then you can learn to do the same using different AIR pressures. I wouldn't recommend doing this until you have developed proper tongue control though. In my opinion it is easier to learn how to keep air pressure steady and use the tongue to manipulate the reed than to keep the tongue rock steady and use air to manipulate it. Other people's opinions may vary, but tongue control mastery is essential so its likely a good idea to get that skill down as early as possible.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby Gselkhunter » 02 22, 2015 •  [Post 15]

For the guys that struggle with tongue position do this.
1 Chew the tape up to soften it so you get a good seal and call placement.
2 Place the call up in your teeth and push it to the front of your mouth[nose]. The further forward the better angle you get on the call to make sound. This is where call size needs to be determined. For some it takes a palate plate. I prefer calls without a palate plate.
3 Say SSSSSHHHHHHHooooowwwww. The word show heavy on the "SH" will put your tongue right where it needs to be. You don't have to be loud or pushing a ton of air. Just say the word and you will get sound. Then learn to control a single pitch with your tongue in that spot and you are off and running.
4 Learn to control pitch with tongue pressure and air volume. A lot of guys that loose top end pitches are using too much tongue pressure blocking air flow. Where air volume/speed will get it done.
Another tip, even though you love that old call, once it starts to break down and you fight it for sound throw it away. As you develop as a caller don't be surprised if the calls you started with fall out of favor with you.
The guys that are getting to the "Pro" level of calling have practiced for thousands of hours. To be a good to great caller requires effort and good calling mechanics.
Guys like Shane,Travis and Paul are always willing to help. We all were beginners at one point too.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby Wapiti » 02 23, 2015 •  [Post 16]

Fantastic thread you started Shane.

Some great info has been stated here so far !! Gregg Is bang on about falling out of love with reeds and we all go through it !! I feel this is because your skill level is always changing even at the top level. You will always be getting better and one reed that worked so well for so long may need to be upgraded ! As a call manufacturer that is why we have different reeds available. Everyone is at different levels !

You also take into account practice routines. Some guys practice hard and others only practice now and then. You will only get out what you put into it. Now in all honestly some may be thinking "Well I'm only calling elk and do not plan on getting on a stage and calling in front of people in competition". In all my experience the sounds we use on stage are even more important out in the elk woods ! I know for a fact the guys like Gregg and Shane use every single sound on an elk hunt that they would use on a competition stage !!

These guys also have a raw side to there elk calling that they reserve for elk out on there hunt !! To get the raw and full of emotion sounds like Gregg and Shane have comes with practice and practice only. It can not be given or taught ! It comes from inside your soul and from deep down within !

I don't expect all who reed this to be top level competition callers and that is not what we are after here. What we are after is perfecting your sounds and problems guys and gals are having with there calls. Our only and soul purpose for this is to help all of you become more efficient in the art of calling elk.

Believe it or not the elk are actually our toughest critics !! If you can not sneak in on an elk and let out a perfect sounding cow mew on the first try you are going to bust out more elk than you will ever call in. Think about it this way. The most used sound you will ever need and want will be a simple cow mew ! Now think about this. How many hunting buddies including yourself can put a dry reed into there mouth and produce one single perfectly executed quiet cow mew ?

My guess would be very few. The answer as to why is PRACTICE !!

So guys please reread all the great post's above and pay attention to the direction that Shane and Gregg have given. There instruction will shave years off your practice time !! Maybe later if Shane wants to go in the direction of cold call sounds we can all post up our own cold call sounds. I can tell you everyone will benefit no matter there skill level. It would put pressure on each of us to make one perfect sound, but it's hard to duplicate the pressure that we all face if we had a 6x6 bull walking towards us and we needed to make a perfect call to him !!

That is perfect practice !! By the way Gregg, Shane, Rory and a few others including myself do this already with each other !! Shane and others even practice there World elk calling routines for each other !! Anything you can do to get better will only serve you well in the hunt of a lifetime !!

Great stuff guys !! Keep it going !!

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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby Brendan » 02 23, 2015 •  [Post 17]

msd1228 wrote:The Mellow Yellow is a soft reed, but as I alluded to earlier, often times reeds from bigger manufacturers suffer from consistency problems...you may have to buy 5 of the same reed to find a single one that does what you want it to. In order to really get soft you need to break the reed in/down a bit. When I prep a new cow reed either for the woods or stage I'll immediately start doing a few bugles/grunts and hard estrus style screams with it to try and break in the latex. The heavy tongue pressure and vibration from your voice will help expedite the softening process. Although this may sound counter-intuitive, I personally find my cow reeds perform at their peak when I have worn them in such that the leading edge of the latex is a little bit wavy in appearance.


This is a really good point. I remember that I switched to a new reed within the weeks before my trip - and started having more issues, then even the backup (new) reeds weren't much better. I'm almost wondering if I had a batch or a couple reeds with some issues, or never got them broken in right. I guess I just have to keep practicing, and make sure I break in several reeds.

I think I did try a pink lady last year, as well as a couple reeds from several other manufacturers. I'm thinking it must've been fit issues, or that I'm a beginner, but everything except for the Rocky Jacobsen palate plate reeds was an absolute disaster for me. That said, I didn't try too much because I had something that was working at least decent for my first year. I need to do a little more experimentation and concentrate on some of the fit advice up above.

Thanks!
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby Mnbowhunter » 02 23, 2015 •  [Post 18]

Good info. I think the reeds I've been using are to big
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby Elkduds » 02 23, 2015 •  [Post 19]

Mnb, you can trim the vinyl rim smaller w scissors, to see if a smaller size works better. Of course, that voids the warranty :lol:
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby Mnbowhunter » 02 23, 2015 •  [Post 20]

Elk duds I try ed that and it works thanks
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby msd1228 » 02 23, 2015 •  [Post 21]

Brendan wrote:I remember that I switched to a new reed within the weeks before my trip - and started having more issues, then even the backup (new) reeds weren't much better. I'm almost wondering if I had a batch or a couple reeds with some issues, or never got them broken in right. I guess I just have to keep practicing, and make sure I break in several reeds.

I think I did try a pink lady last year, as well as a couple reeds from several other manufacturers. I'm thinking it must've been fit issues, or that I'm a beginner, but everything except for the Rocky Jacobsen palate plate reeds was an absolute disaster for me. That said, I didn't try too much because I had something that was working at least decent for my first year. I need to do a little more experimentation and concentrate on some of the fit advice up above.

Thanks!


Before I started making my own calls/working with Trav I would purchase 10 of my chosen cow reeds and 10 of my chosen bull reeds before a competition in hopes of finding 2 of each that would work sufficiently for what I wanted them to do - this was beyond frustrating. So yes, it is entirely possible that you just got a few bad reeds in a row!

I feel I should mention the frame sizes when I refer to narrow and regular frames. On WRO calls (and most others, for that matter), the narrow frame has an OUTSIDE to OUTSIDE width of 13/16". The regular frame has an OUTSIDE to OUTSIDE width of 1 1/16".

I can totally relate to what you are saying Brendan - the palate plate/dome style call essentially removes many of the fit issues people experience due to the way it acts as an artificial palate that automatically creates the proper amount of space for the reed to work. There is nothing wrong with using a palate plate/dome style if that's what works for you! I used to be a devoted dome call user, but have since developed a preference for non-domed calls, but that's entirely personal preference. If you are ever looking for a new call to try you can give Trav (Wapiti) a call/PM and give the Reaper or the Phantom a try, or you could request a domed Black Widow in either narrow or medium frame. I have no doubt that you would find something from that grouping of calls that would work wonders for you.

I'd like to thank everyone for their input thus far - I think we've developed a pretty good thread here. Anyone who has anything to add, please do so! Further, if anyone else has any questions or concerns then please post em up! I have no doubt that we can come up with a solution or suggestion between all of the experienced guys here.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby Bow4me » 02 23, 2015 •  [Post 22]

I just bought my first one and its definitely going to be harder than I thought. I picked up turkey calling pretty quick but I couldn't get one good elk sound the first day. So with the extra effort it's going to take I think I'm going to wait until after turkey season so I don't develop any bad habits. And I'm definitely watching this thread.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby msd1228 » 02 23, 2015 •  [Post 23]

Bow4me wrote:I just bought my first one and its definitely going to be harder than I thought. I picked up turkey calling pretty quick but I couldn't get one good elk sound the first day. So with the extra effort it's going to take I think I'm going to wait until after turkey season so I don't develop any bad habits. And I'm definitely watching this thread.


Can you describe what is happening when you are trying to call? Are you trying bull or cow sounds? If you were able to post a sound clip we could likely identify the problem by sound alone.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby chipick » 02 23, 2015 •  [Post 24]

Msd1228
the tips you gave have greatly improved my bugles, but they still need a lot of work but with a hour drive into work then back I should have it soon.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby msd1228 » 02 23, 2015 •  [Post 25]

That's awesome chipick! Your post made my evening! You are totally right - if you are starting to get the hang of it already then you will have it down pat in no time. The fundamental skills you are developing by learning to control your breaks/developing an understanding how air and tongue pressure work together will allow you to run the entire range of elk sounds without a second thought.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby BrentLaBere » 02 24, 2015 •  [Post 26]

I just wanted to add a few things from my personal experience (trial and error....mostly error). You don't have to follow the "fit" of a diaphragm like is shown in this thread. I believe it is meant for a guideline? I noticed you mentioned something along those lines, Shane.
For me, I have to place the diaphragm further back in my mouth so it has the room above the reed, just how it is shown. If I place the reed behind my teeth, I can not get a good seal or consistent sounds. Using more of the middle arc of my tongue on the latex. This may not be the best way to control pressure and air flow but its what I have become comfortable with. Don't be afraid to adjust it to your 'fit'. Play around with it, and you will find where its comfortable for you! I have yet to find a company that I can fit a reed inside my teeth and have ample room above the reed. Its just the way they fit for me.
Not trying to derail the thread or take away from the tips given. Just wanted to post this up in case others run into the same problem I have. Very helpful pointers here. Thanks for posting it up.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby msd1228 » 02 24, 2015 •  [Post 27]

BrentLaBere wrote:I believe it is meant for a guideline? I noticed you mentioned something along those lines, Shane.


Absolutely - it is purely a guideline that should hold true for most. We have to remember that all of us has both a different size and shape to the inside of our mouth so all of the little tips and tricks with regards to positioning etc., will need to be tinkered with to meet each person's needs. Callers A, B, C, and D may all call best when following the illustration above to a T, but caller E may need the call to be a bit further back on his palate and caller F may need to use more of the center of his tongue than the 3rd quarter of it. It all becomes fine tuning and personal preference at that point, for sure.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby msd1228 » 02 27, 2015 •  [Post 28]

I want to add one more thing that I can't believe I forgot to mention earlier: when in doubt, use LESS air pressure! The vast majority of people who can't get their reed to make the right sound, or any sound at all for that matter, are using far, faaaaaaar, too much air pressure. If you blow the reed to hard it will just flat out die - no sound will come out. I was guilty of this too, especially when making the switch from domed calls to non-domed calls. I can remember my friend Joel Turner making some calls for me to try; until this point I had solely used domed calls, and when I tried the reeds every last one of em was totally dead! I told Joel that I couldn't even get a sound out of his calls, let alone do them any justice. He wasn't exactly what the issue was, but he certainly let me know that I was doing something terribly wrong. As it turns out I was blowing the calls entirely too hard. That was something that the forgiveness of a domed call had allowed me to get away with up until that point. Once I learned to back the pressure waaaaaaaay off I was able to make those calls sing, and I prefer to use non-domed calls to this day. So, remember: if in doubt, back the air pressure way off and work your way up!
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby Wapiti » 02 27, 2015 •  [Post 29]

Great point Shane !!

That is also how you get those soft sweet cow mews you all hear us doing ! There is no chance of messing up a cow call using this low air strategy !! I use just a whisper of air to get started and increase the air pressure for the volume I'm looking for !

One thing that has always troubled me is my tongue flutter ! Much like you purr for a turkey call !! We use our lips for lip bawls but there are uses for a fluttering tongue as well !!

In most of my calling I use the low air technique as you can go from a low cow mew to a fierce lip bawl scream !!

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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby Lefty » 02 27, 2015 •  [Post 30]

I can make about any elk sound with a raised pallet plate . Sometimes a fresh in my mouth takes a moment. But without a raised palet,.. I cant make anything elk
I don't like using the Primos Domes,.. but my neighbor is all elk with one.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby Wapiti » 02 28, 2015 •  [Post 31]

Lefty wrote:I can make about any elk sound with a raised pallet plate . Sometimes a fresh in my mouth takes a moment. But without a raised palet,.. I cant make anything elk
I don't like using the Primos Domes,.. but my neighbor is all elk with one.



Lefty try a regular flat Reed but don't put any pressure on the latex with your tongue !! Then with just your tongue resting on the latex make some cow sounds.

You may be putting extreme pressure on the latex and not know it !! On a pallet plate call it only lets you push the latex to the plate. On a flat Reed you are hitting your roof of your mouth and killing the vibration of the latex !!

Try that and hopefully it helps you. Many people have become dependant on domes and pallets but if a person can stick it out and learn with a flat Reed the doors open up drastically for any Reed you ever could want to try !!

Good luck and I hope that helps you out !!

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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby Huntingfanaticjoe » 02 28, 2015 •  [Post 32]

I'm glad you said that Travis. I have always tried to bend my frames to contour to my palate. I do this a lot with my turkey calls trying to get the tape to seal off. I don't think I have ever tried just a flat reed right out of the box. Now I have to go flatten out my reeds and see if that helps.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby Wapiti » 03 01, 2015 •  [Post 33]

Huntingfanaticjoe wrote:I'm glad you said that Travis. I have always tried to bend my frames to contour to my palate. I do this a lot with my turkey calls trying to get the tape to seal off. I don't think I have ever tried just a flat reed right out of the box. Now I have to go flatten out my reeds and see if that helps.



Great post right there. As there are many people that bend there calls and that is fine IF they can get the latex to make proper sounds after the bending !! Being a call manufacturer I spend hours and hour getting the latex to the proper stretch for each reed we sell. Each and every call no matter what name it was given has what we call a recipe for that call. Take for instance our Pink Lady reed. I spent 3 months developing that one reed and now its a huge hit ! Guys all over just love it and many a bull have come into the sweet sounds it emits ! But if you get that reed from us and bend it you are unwillingly changing the tension of the latex. So that 3 months of hard testing just got thrown out the window.

A better way is to just fit the frame to your mouth size as Shane has shown then there is no reason to bend the reed thus keeping the proper intended latex tension.

You may find a narrow framed call with a dome fits you perfect when a narrow frame without a dome is to small ! The dome helps take up room in your mouth and many folks are some where between a small frame and regular frame reed ! I am a regular frame with a dome for fit just to give you an idea but Shane is a narrow frame with a dome. When you get the proper sized reed you will make that baby sing !!

Huntingfanaticjoe you might need a brand new reed to see if a flat reed works. All yours are bent and bending them back will give you an unknown latex tension !! Once you get 3 post on these forums you'll be able to send PM (private messages to other members). PM me and I'll send you a couple reeds to try for free from Shane !! We'll help get you into the proper sized reed !!

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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby Huntingfanaticjoe » 03 01, 2015 •  [Post 34]

I noticed that the latex was looser and even wrinkled on some because of bending them. Never put 2 and 2 together I guess. Makes since after hearing what you just posted. I have never really had a call made for me. Just picked them off the shelf and started. I may have a new one that I haven't bent. Going to look tonight and try these tips. Thank you Trav.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby Gselkhunter » 03 02, 2015 •  [Post 35]

Just to throw an interjection in here, the calls I used for years were made with white tape not vinyl. The seal was much better and helped the call stay in place under heavy pressure. I can't imagine trying to gobble on a mouth call that has vinyl tape.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby Huntingfanaticjoe » 03 02, 2015 •  [Post 36]

Gselkhunter, the tape doesn't seem to be the issue. It is more of a frame problem. I guess the frames are to wide for my mouth so they don't ever get the right angle as mentioned above. The tape never has a chance to do it's job. Thanks for the input though.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby Bow4me » 03 02, 2015 •  [Post 37]

msd1228 wrote:
Bow4me wrote:I just bought my first one and its definitely going to be harder than I thought. I picked up turkey calling pretty quick but I couldn't get one good elk sound the first day. So with the extra effort it's going to take I think I'm going to wait until after turkey season so I don't develop any bad habits. And I'm definitely watching this thread.

Well to be honest I was in a motel and didn't want to get real aggressive with it. And I had just went down to bass pro on a rain day and picked up a primos double reed just to start tinkering with it but it's going to take a lot more air than the guest at the best Western are interested in. Hopefully I will get to go home in a few days and let it rip. And start looking for a little better call
Can you describe what is happening when you are trying to call? Are you trying bull or cow sounds? If you were able to post a sound clip we could likely identify the problem by sound alone.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby Gselkhunter » 03 02, 2015 •  [Post 38]

Huntingfanaticjoe wrote:Gselkhunter, the tape doesn't seem to be the issue. It is more of a frame problem. I guess the frames are to wide for my mouth so they don't ever get the right angle as mentioned above. The tape never has a chance to do it's job. Thanks for the input though.

If the frame is too big, that is a problem. The good part is most companies are making smaller frame calls that are as good as the full size. I have run into frames that don't fit me also and I can't call on those calls. I can't call on the small frame calls or domes, my mouth is too wide for small frames. I just don't like domes, they feel wrong in my mouth. Being frustrated by a call is not good and can develop bad or no practice habits.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby Huntingfanaticjoe » 03 02, 2015 •  [Post 39]

Gselkhunter wrote:
Huntingfanaticjoe wrote:Gselkhunter, the tape doesn't seem to be the issue. It is more of a frame problem. I guess the frames are to wide for my mouth so they don't ever get the right angle as mentioned above. The tape never has a chance to do it's job. Thanks for the input though.

If the frame is too big, that is a problem. The good part is most companies are making smaller frame calls that are as good as the full size. I have run into frames that don't fit me also and I can't call on those calls. I can't call on the small frame calls or domes, my mouth is too wide for small frames. I just don't like domes, they feel wrong in my mouth. Being frustrated by a call is not good and can develop bad or no practice habits.



I am working on getting some smaller frame calls now. I hope this solves some of my problem. Then, it's practice time!!
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby Wapiti » 03 02, 2015 •  [Post 40]

Ok Huntingfanaticjoe. I have sent a selection of calls your way for you to try out and get some practise on !!

Gselkhunter also has a trick he uses on the tape to soften it up. He will chew on the tape all the way around just to soften it all up. Gregg is a lot like me in that we both have wide pallets and smaller framed calls are just to small for my liking. You can learn a lot from Gregg as he was also on the Pro Calling stage and has worked with several companies on there calls !!

It's actually funny as I was never a domed reed kind of guy as I never liked the feel but now with our regular sized frame and our new dome I have fallen in love with a reed once again !! Also Gregg is correct in the aspect of liking your reeds. If you like it you will want to practice all the time but if you have a reed that is just so so you will not practice as much as you should !

One other tip I can give is good callers call some of the time but GREAT callers call all year long and in many cases are calling every day !!

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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby Huntingfanaticjoe » 03 02, 2015 •  [Post 41]

Wapiti wrote:Ok Huntingfanaticjoe. I have sent a selection of calls your way for you to try out and get some practise on !!

Gselkhunter also has a trick he uses on the tape to soften it up. He will chew on the tape all the way around just to soften it all up. Gregg is a lot like me in that we both have wide pallets and smaller framed calls are just to small for my liking. You can learn a lot from Gregg as he was also on the Pro Calling stage and has worked with several companies on there calls !!

It's actually funny as I was never a domed reed kind of guy as I never liked the feel but now with our regular sized frame and our new dome I have fallen in love with a reed once again !! Also Gregg is correct in the aspect of liking your reeds. If you like it you will want to practice all the time but if you have a reed that is just so so you will not practice as much as you should !

One other tip I can give is good callers call some of the time but GREAT callers call all year long and in many cases are calling every day !!

Trav



Thanks Trav! Can't wait to get them and see which one(s) I like best and work best for me. I really appreciate all the help from everyone.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby Brendan » 03 02, 2015 •  [Post 42]

This thread has motivated me to start practicing again. (By the way - We're 6 months away from Elktember!)

I am using my "Mellow Yellow" and "Closer" from Rocky Jacobsen and the Pink Lady from WRO. I have 2 of the pink lady, and 2 of the black widow, then probably 3-4 each of the Rocky Jabobsen calls. I feel I can get both style calls to sit between my upper teeth reasonably snug without falling out, but the Pink Lady is a bigger frame so fits more "snug".

I feel like I can tell when I'm not getting a good seal and air is either escaping around the edge of the reed or over the top. What happens if I feel air is going between my tongue and the reed as it is supposed to - but I'm getting more "hissing" than I like without the reed starting to vibrate? Could that be a reed that isn't really broken in yet? I feel I run into this scenario more with some reeds than others, that's why I'm wondering.

Still trying to figure out which fit is "better" - but so far I've had more trouble maintaining a good seal with the Pink Lady. Maybe I need to chew it up and soften it up more, will give that a try at home.

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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 03 02, 2015 •  [Post 43]

Exceptional thread Shane, Trav, GS. Gonna save this one in the archived tips at some point 8-)
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby msd1228 » 03 02, 2015 •  [Post 44]

Brendan wrote:I'm getting more "hissing" than I like without the reed starting to vibrate? Could that be a reed that isn't really broken in yet? I feel I run into this scenario more with some reeds than others, that's why I'm wondering.


Yes, that can absolutely be a reason why you are having this happen. It will also happen when you are trying to blow tightly stretched calls softly. A soft air pressure requires a softer latex. The Black Widow is the softest call we sell, and the Pink Lady will get very soft once you have worked it in a touch as it has a very light latex. The Pink Lady will break in faster than the Black Widow, but neither should take too long. The PL and the BW are built on the same frame, so they should fit the same, but yes, definitely give that tape a good chewing if you feel like you aren't getting a good seal. Another thing you can try is to flip the call around - when using a single reed it really doesn't matter that much which side of the frame is up or down. The frame will certainly fit differently in your mouth depending on how its oriented, but the tone quality won't be affected in any noticeable way. Truth be told, I use all of my reeds upside down (i.e. I have the crowned surface facing down instead of against the roof of my mouth) because my pallet is so flat that I need the reversed crown to have enough room between the latex and my pallet to to hit my high notes.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby Wapiti » 03 03, 2015 •  [Post 45]

Brendan,

The easy way to fix the hiss you are getting is to move your reed back further until it goes away. Moving the reed does two things. First it seals better but second it let's the air coming straight from your diaphragm and funnels it over the latex which will cause the reed to instantly activate.

You will always have a small amount of hiss sound no matter what though. Try taking your reed out and make a cow mew with no reed in your mouth you get a hiss sound automatically. That sound is also present when you introduce a reed back into the equation. Don't let this sound bother you as this is your own sound and a part of your bugle. We all hiss differently and elk do the same and its part of our natural sound. I feel if we all hissed the same our bugles would all sound the same. We don't want that !! LOL

If you listen close to really good callers you will hear there hiss as well !! They use it to there advantage as this is also where growls and moans are formed. Now on your cow sounds it sounds like you are exhaling way to hard on the reed. All you want is just a whisper of air across the reed and the latex will activate for you. This is especially true on the Pink Lady as that is how it was designed. Just take a nice breath in and relax and let the air gently flow across the reed and you see what I'm saying.

Hope this helps Brendan !

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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby Gselkhunter » 03 03, 2015 •  [Post 46]

Brendan, hissing can be air escape around the tape. As Travis eluded to I chew the tape until it is soft enough to mold to my mouth. I do it with every call I put in my mouth.
Let me add a practice piece. Since tone control is what elk calling is, learn to go from a low tone to a medium and then to a high tone. Holding at each tone for a bit then move on. Then once you get to the top tone bring it back down and again under control. This will set up cow sounds and bugles. I personally do 5 tones. This is just tones not voice added in.
You will find the better you can control tone the faster you will progress in calling skill.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby msd1228 » 03 03, 2015 •  [Post 47]

Just want to summarize the last couple of posts regarding hissing from the reed since they are all different, and 2 of them are completely contradictory to one another.

So, as you can see, there can be several reasons why you may hear hissing on the reed. Take all of them into consideration and determine which of the reasons is the one affecting you, then you can take the corresponding advice and fix your problem.

1) Hiss can be caused by blowing too softly on a tightly stretched reed.
- It takes a certain amount of air to actually get a reed to activate, that is determined by how tightly the reed is pulled. If the reed is pulled tight then applying too little air will result in a hissing sound as the air passes over the reed, but not fast enough to cause it to vibrate. You may also hear a combination of a whiny sound coming off the reed in conjunction with the hissing if the reed is fluctuating on the edge of being activated or not. To determine if this is the issue you can try to apply more AIR pressure to see if the hiss subsides. If this is the cause of the hiss, try moving to a softer reed.

2) Hiss can be caused by blowing too forcefully on a reed.
- This is in direct opposition to the situation above, but the results are largely the same. If you apply too much air pressure to a reed then it will simply stop vibrating and all you will hear is a hissing noise passing over the reed. This will be a more aggressive hissing sound than you would hear in scenario 1) - this would be more like air coming out of a valve stem. This is often caused when air is blown too forcefully over a reed that is not thick enough, and thus lacks the necessary backbone, to support the volume of air that is passing over it. This is a problem I often encounter from people having trouble. To determine if this is the problem, try doing your normal calling sequences with half the AIR pressure. If the problem subsides, then you have found the issue. Now, some people just naturally blow harder than others and there just isn't any way around that. If that is the case, then I would suggest moving to either a thicker single reed call, or increasing the number of reeds (move to a double or a triple reed call). Multi-reed calls have much stiffer backbones than single reed calls, in general.

3) Lack of seal on the roof of your mouth.
-If you have air escaping around the tape then you will be able to hear a distinct mixture of sounds when you call. You will have the sound of the reed coming out, but the tones will sound very "airy" - they won't sound pure, they will have almost a sloshy sound to them. You will never use the reed to its capability if this is happening. There are a few ways to go about fixing this. My first suggestion is put the call in your mouth then look at the inside of your mouth in the mirror to make sure it actually fits. The call should fit as close as possible to the insides of your teeth. Next, like Greg said, get the tape nice and soft so that it molds to the inside of your mouth - the softer the tape the better the mold. You can soften the tape by holding it in your mouth and chewing it. Next, make sure you don't have excess tape. The most common places that air escapes around a reed are on the rear corners of the tape (if you look at the U shape of the frame, the tape will often bunch up in the corners of the tape on either side of the rounded end of the horseshoe). If that is the case then I would recommend trimming the tape in like 1/16" increments until it fits, or try a call from WRO that has a tape design that prevents that problem from occurring. Finally, you can try moving the call a bit further back in your mouth. Some people can't put the reed too close to their front teeth or they won't get a proper seal, me being one of them, so play with call position until you find something that feels right. When the call is positioned in my preferred location, the front edge of the call sits just behind my canine teeth, so probably a good 3/8" behind my front teeth.

I hope this post clarifies all of the different recommendations above - its just that there are often many causes for various issues.
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Re: Mouth reeds: What gives you trouble?

Postby Lefty » 06 25, 2017 •  [Post 48]

msd1228 wrote:
Brendan wrote: There is nothing wrong with using a palate plate/dome style if that's what works for you!,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, I have no doubt that we can come up with a solution or suggestion between all of the experienced guys here.

I can make all sorts of sounds with any open myler reed call Ive tried. Duck, goose, coon pig, rabbit, deer.
Ive tried lots of different diaphragm calls. I just cant make a flat frame work.
I bought the Primos raised palate (4 packs) and do not have any problems.The raised domes I just dont like in my mouth. I can make the sounds I want, but scared to chance failing with a flat frame.
This is good stuff guys maybe Ill give it a go again.
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