Author Topic: Good tuning instructions for Reelfoots?  (Read 5187 times)

Offline FDR

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Re: Good tuning instructions for Reelfoots?
« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2014, 09:03:59 PM »
On the subject of antique calls I have restored a few along the way and can share that there is a lot of variation in antique calls. Some are great and most vary from barely acceptable to pure junk. Most of you know that I am friends with Jaime Hamilton, a Reelfoot guide, who grew up and knew many of the old call makers and the guides who tuned many of their calls. Jamie is one of the best Reelfoot call tuners that remain with a foot in the past. Jamie told me that the calls we are making today are far superior (read consistant) to most of the older calls.
Turpin was considered to be the best call maker of his time.  Most of his really good calls were tuned by his Reelfoot guides. The flaw in Turpin's work was that he cut his reeds by hand and they were all a little different which required adjustments to the tone channel or reed itself to tune the call properly. A good call tuner could overcome these less that ideal dimensions but the tuned call might not be as good as one with the optimum layout..
The more consistant calls started with Johnny Marsh. I had a recent opportunity to rebuild 3 of the Marsh calls and each one was very consistant internally. Tommy Alexander and Glynn Scobey also made a very consistant call. The Alexander calls blow more easily because the throat of the insert is smaller in diameter.  They also produce less volume.
As far as barrel length goes I have turned barrels from 3 inches to over 6 inches and both straight bore and expanded bores (Glodoed) and my experience has been that a good insert will sound good in any barrel length.

In a Reelfoot call the duck music is in the insert!  If you have to cough up a lung to blow a Reelfoot you have either an insert or reed that could be improved or both maybe.
Fred Roe
Reelfoot, the original duck call. What's on your lanyard?

Offline Henry H

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Re: Good tuning instructions for Reelfoots?
« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2014, 09:36:19 PM »
Great discussion - I'm learning a lot from each of your experiences and observations - keep sharing them!

Offline FDR

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Re: Good tuning instructions for Reelfoots?
« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2014, 09:55:05 AM »
There is nothing more dangerous than a curious engineer!  To further this discussion I just went out to the shop and did a little subjective experiment to determine the amount of air required to just get the reed to move in an Arkansas call vs a Reelfoot call.  In order to tell about  the experiment I have to now make an admission.  I have in my shop 2 Arkansas calls that were custom tuned for me, one from RNT and another from  Echo. Long story!  I looked around and finally found a Reelfoot :whistling:

What I did was barely blow a little air into the Arkansas calls and got immediate reed action. I repeated the process with a properly tuned Reelfoot and got the same response. The Arkansas call might have required slightly less air but the difference was minimal. 

Again, the magic is in the insert.  One of the first comments I got from my mentor was " not much reed action" or too much air required to break the reed loose.  The second was "beautiful workmanship but sounds like crap".  Problem: the tone channel was too deep!

Fred
« Last Edit: July 31, 2014, 10:06:12 AM by FDR »
Fred Roe
Reelfoot, the original duck call. What's on your lanyard?