Author Topic: Tone boards (reed trimming)  (Read 5469 times)

Offline cb223

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Tone boards (reed trimming)
« on: March 25, 2008, 09:58:09 PM »
I started making my own tone boards a couple months ago. They sound good, don't have any pitch breaks but they just aren't as high pitched as I would like.

I started with a 1 1/2 long, tried 5 different rad. Went to 1 1/4 long with 3 different rad. Used .008, .010 and .014 thick mylar in just about every shape that would fit the board.

I was really hoping to figure this out on my own but I'm having some trouble. So I figured it best to come and ask the experts.

What is the secret to getting that high pitch raspy sound?

I can post pic's of what I have so far if that would help.


Chad
« Last Edit: January 29, 2016, 11:52:26 PM by VECtor Calls »

Offline BigB

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Re: Tone boards
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2008, 10:30:46 PM »


Chad,

Try narrowing your width of the reed at the tip of the call.


Brian
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Offline Yotehntr

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Re: Tone boards
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2008, 10:42:41 PM »
I haven't been at it to long, but the breaks were killing me. After yards and yards of delrin what works for me for the high pitch is where you cut the reed off. It needs to be about 1/32 further than the hole. If you go further it just cuts off when you get to high. If you go to short it just runs out on ya. You will also hear a considerable volume increase when you're getting close. On my howlers the .014 seems to be the best for me and I use the .010 on distress. The volume is the only thing I see affected by different sized holes. That and not as much ramp space. I use one myself that I drilled the normal size (that I use) but didn't go through, I finished with a smaller drill bit. That way I had the same ramp space with a softer sound. I like it but it won't bark, howl, or ki-yi. I just use a howler for that anyway.

Offline dogcatcher

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Re: Tone boards
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2008, 10:59:09 PM »
Here is somethnng I wrote up a few months ago, parts of it will explain how to learn to tune a toneboard.  It is not all inclusive, but if you work at it you soon will be able to tune calls in yoursleep.

Marvin

My thoughts on tuning an open reed.  First buy a sheet or 2 of Mylar, this can be found at sewing stores, usually in the quilting area.  Quilters use it to make patterns.  Now gather up all of the open reed calls that you have available regardless of their source.  Then make up a worksheet and fix your self a notebook to record all the information that you will get out of this project.  You will need to record on the work sheet, what happens when you shorten the reed, make it a little thinner, dog ear the corners, round off the tip.   This is your worksheet, for a beginner it will be invaluable.  If you get away from callmaking for even a few weeks it will save you time getting you back in the groove.  You will learn the basics, one a reed too long is hard to blow.  Too short and you won't call anything in.
 
Now take one call at a time and take out the reed, then make a handful of reeds for it, make it a little wider and a little longer than the original reed.   Then try one of them.  Make a note of how it changed the sound from the original.  Then trim the front of the reed, try it again and make your notes  Cut it shorter and do it again, and make your notes, then again.  Always keeping notes as to the sound and the ease of blowing the call.
 
When the reed is too short, take the second reed and cut it the longest length that sounded the best or was the easiest to blow.  Now you are ready to trim the sides of the reed.  You will do the same thing as you did on the length, you will trim a little off both sides and try and then write your notes.  You do this until you are at the optimum sound that you are looking for.  Do not forget to write down in your notes what you have been doing. 
 
Now take another reed and trim it to the size of the last one leaving it about a 1/16" .larger. now dog ear the front corners just a little, again try it and write down the results.   Play with thinner, shorter etc. until you get that optimum sound that you are looking for.  Round the front, cut it at more of an angle do what it takes, but write down what you did and what the result was.
 
Now you are close, take another reed and cut it too what size and sound that you had from your experiments sounded the best to you.  Now it is critical that you only take off thousandths not 1/16s of an inch.  By this time you should have a good sound.  If not start all over and do it again.  Remember you are only on your first of many calls.  But the first one will be the hardest to tune.  After the first couple of time you will get the hang on it and know after you first blow on the reed what needs to be trimmed and about how much.  I should say most of the time, there will be some toneboards that you make that will never sound right even if you had divine help.
 
Now that you have the sound that you like compare your reed to the original, they will be different, maybe close or maybe a lot of difference.  But you are tuning to the sound that you want not to what someone else likes.  There is a lot of fiction in that you must tune your call to sound like everyone does. that is pure bull.  No 2 people blow a call the same. so you tune it for yourself.  If a customer wants a different sound you can tune it for them.  When you make a call tune it your way, when you sell a call these notes will help you tune it to what the customer wants.
 
Okay now repeat the process with all of your other open reed calls.  When the wife, kids , pets and neighbors decide to kill you.  Take a break, study all of your notes and then try doing it again.  they will get used to it.
 
Last not but not least, there are some customers that do not know what they want but will tell you they want this sound, then change their mind, st some point in time you will become frustrated with them.  Tell  them here it is if you like it okay, if not send it back and you will send their money back.   life is too short to put up with these type of people, or better yet send them to me, it doesn't bother me one bit when I tell someone where to go.  Some of my best customers today are the ones that were a royal pain 20 years ago, after I told them where to go they started to understand the process a lot better.
 
Marvin

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Offline Al_at_THO Game Calls

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Re: Tone boards
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2008, 11:31:31 PM »
Try two things.

First, make sure that the tone board has a constant steady arch downward at the very tip end.  Sometimes, the tone board will flatten out here, and you need to pay attention to making it slope downward.

Next bring your air channel out just a bit closer to the tip.  This gives you more actual playig surface and if your tone board slopes evenly, the further out your air channel is, the higher pitch you will get.

It is correct to trim the end of the reed just a hair longer than the air channel, and it is also correct to trip the end of the reed a bit narrower than the main part.  This will help with the hgih pitches too.

Rasp is something different.  It helps to have a longer flatter reed bridge before the arch starts.  That gives a bit of rasp on my calls.   But the REAL SECRET to all of it is the reed itself.

DO NOT TELL ANYONE I TOLD YOU THIS IT IS TOP SECRET.

When you put your reed in your call, bend the rear portion under it self so there is about 3/8 to 1/2" bent under the reed. 

What this does is it LIFTS the mylar off the tone board just a hair.  An old call maker taught me this trick years ago, but he woould cut a wedge of mylar and slip it under the reed where the band goes.  I just bend mine under and get the same effect with out the possability of losing that wedge or it moving on me.

The reason again is that by lifting the mylar off the tone board, the mylar can bend more naturally.  It wants to bend in a nice smooth arch but if it is flat to the tone board at the reed bridge, it has to follow the tone board and pitch breaks are much more pronounced.  By being up just a hair, it can bend nice and smooth and give better sound.  It also helps with the rasp a bit.

I'll get a picture up tomorrow for you of what I am talking about. 

Al @ THO

Offline cb223

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Re: Tone boards
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2008, 10:24:36 PM »
Thanks for all the replies.

 I have been trimming the tip of the reed and that does seem to help getting the pitch higher but it didn't put any rasp in it. I know the arc is consistant all the way out to the tip, because I've been cheating, kinda. I just can't help it for the last 18 years day in day out I work with +/- .001 tolerances or less. I cut them on one of the conversational mills at work. The  air channel is 3/16 wide and about .200 deep at the deepest point and runs .100 from the tip.


 The lower pitchs have a nice rasp to them but when I move out to the tip the pitch is higher but with no rasp just a high pitched squeal. I really like that high raspy sound.

I only have a few calls that will do it, one of Al,s and a couple from Arkyoter. So I know it can be done.

I will try folding the reed under and see what I can get. Thanks Al.

Another question. Can I get low raspy and high raspy from the same tone board or do I need to have two different tone boards one for each? 

Offline Al_at_THO Game Calls

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Re: Tone boards
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2008, 10:43:11 PM »
You can get the high and low rasp from the same tone board, but sometimes it has more to do with the way the reed sets in the tone board than the tone board itself. 

When the reed is flat to the tone board, and with a really good consistant arch, the reed cannot vibrate enough to give you the rasp you are looking for.   That is why folding the end of the reed under itself will help.  If you have one of my calls, look at the reed and you will see what I am talking about, if it one that I made in the last couple of yeras that is.  The reed material under the reed lifts it up, and that causes the reed to vibrate more and produces a little more rasp.

The best way though, is to make your call with a double reed.   That will really give you a lot of rasp. 

Put your regular reed in just like normal, and then cut another reed from a thinner material that is just a hair wider and longer than the first one.  You need to put a Dimple in the top reed so they do not stick together.  If you look at one of the double reeds from JC Products you will see that they have two dimples.  Same principle but you only need one, about 1/4 to 3/8 from the tip and centered.   Krusty makes a lot of double reed calls, and he described it once as sounding like a jackrabbit beng dragged down a gravel road  - or something like that.  I used to make a lot of double reeds but haven't done many lately.  I may do some this summer for the fall though.  They work very very well, and do give you a lot of rasp at each end.

The reed combinations I used were .010 for the bottom and .0075 for the top. If it is something you want to try, shoot me an e mail with your address.  I have some small sheets of .0075 here if you need it. I know that Krusty used a ,014 or 5 bottom reed with a .010 top so you can try that too.  Those ended up being a bit hard for me to blow so I went the other way but they might work for your tone board design.

I also think back pressure plays a part in rasp.  The less back pressure the less rasp, but that may just be my imagination.  I know that if I do not drill out the end of the tone board and leave it the same diameter as the air channel I get more rasp but then the reed can also lock up on you of you over do it calling too hard.   They work for me because I know what they are going to do, but if you try and sell one like that people will always over blow the call and lock it up and not be happy.

I forgot to take that picture this morning but I will do it first thing tomorrow for you.

Al @ THO


Offline cb223

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Re: Tone boards
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2008, 05:39:30 PM »
WOW more info!

Well I trimmed the tip of the reed about 1/16 narrower yet that helped some. Then I cut a new one and folded it under. That helped even more. I'm gonna keep messin with it even though I like what I've got. A guys gotta know where the limit is!

 It is still not as high pitched as the one I got from Joe but upon closer inspection that tone board is a whole different design. With my current toneboard I will never get that sound.

I'm going to see what I can get out of a double reed. I have .014, .010 and .008 mylar. I can't imagine .0075 thick can make that much difference over .008. I'll give what I got a try and see what I can get.

Thank You every one for all of the info. I am really amazed how freely information is given out here and there is alot of it.

I'm sure I'll come up with more questions.


Chad

Offline Al_at_THO Game Calls

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Re: Tone boards
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2008, 07:26:36 PM »
Here is a picture of the reed and the end of it bent under so you can see how far to go.  Farther out and you get more rasp, but too far and you lose sound. 



And here you can see how it works,  a bit exagerated for the photo but this is the principle behind it.



Al @ THO

Offline Braz

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Re: Tone boards
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2008, 09:58:38 PM »
I had noticed on your tone boards that I use that the reeds are doubled under. I had already discovered that it made a lot of difference whether I put the reed in with the fold under or on top. It has been clear to me for some time that the fold had to be under. Nice write up and good pictures. Again, Al strikes a home run.
Braz
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Offline VECtor Calls

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Re: Tone boards (reed trimming)
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2016, 11:52:52 PM »
BUMP!
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