Tuning a Goose Call

A properly tuned short reed goose call can make you a better goose caller. In the right hands, a tuned goose call is louder, more responsive, and more efficient than a call that is out of tune. If your current call is out of tune, inexperienced goose call tuners should send the call into the call maker to be tuned. For hard core goose hunters, learning to tune your own call can save a hunt should your call fall out of tune. In this article I will discuss tuning your short reed goose call.

Parts of a Goose Call

Tuning a goose call is very easy once you understand how each piece of your call contributes to its overall sound. I am going to be talking about my “Fast Talker” goose call here, but the same principles will apply to other short reed calls on the market. A “Fast Talker” short reed goose call consists of a barrel, insert, reed, wedge, and tone board. The tone board and wedge are often referred to as “guts” of a goose call.

Standard Tuning

Standard tuning of a goose call will have a call playing to 90% of your calling ability’s potential. The standard way to tune a call is to manipulate the guts and reed. Place the reed on top of the tone board so the tip of the reed can be barely pushed down into the tone board. Now place your wedge down to roughly 1/16 below where the reeds taper stops. Now push this whole setup down into the insert until the wedge is roughly 1/16-18 of an inch of the wedge is sticking out. Double check that the reeds tip barely drops down into the tone board. The smaller the gap between the trough in the tone board and your reed, the more efficient your call will play.

Fine Tuning a Call to Your Calling Style

You can tune a call to play higher or lower in pitch. If you want your call to play deeper you can move the wedge assembly out a little ways or you can make the portion of the reed longer. Remember though that the tip of the reed must fall into that tone channel. If it does not, the call will not break over. Now that your call is 90% tuned, you can try super tuning your call if you are proficient on it. Manipulating the guts of a goose call You can change the pitch of a goose call by moving the guts in or out of the insert. The farther into the insert you press the guts, the higher pitched the call will play. The farther out you have the guts pushed into the insert, the deeper the call will play. This is assuming we are using the same reed placement in relationship to the guts. Also the looser the guts are inside the insert, the lower in pitch a call will play. You can achieve this by shaving the wedge down. This is a very touchy situation as if the guts do not fit tight enough, they will come un-tuned very easy. Shaving the wedge is best left to very experienced call tuners that no exactly what they are looking to get out of there call in the areas of pitch and tone.

Shaving the Reed of Your Call

The longer the reed, the deeper and less responsive a call will play. The shorter the reed, the higher pitched and more responsive a call will play. A reed with an upward taper takes more air to break over than a reed with a downward taper. Always shave the side of the reed that does not come in contact with the tone board. Shaving the reed of your call will help you micro tune the pitch. If the above does not get you the pitch you want, you can shave the reed. Shaving the reed is micro tuning, if their are major pitch changes desired, follow the steps from the beginning to get the results you desire. If your call is close you can shave the upper 1/3 of the reed to make the call break over slightly easier and to have a higher pitched crack on it. If you desire a call that is harder to break over and slightly deeper in pitch shave a little off the reed that is back by the wedge. I prefer to shave my reeds in the call and place a razor blade underneath the reed and use a fingernail file. Remember to shave just a little off your reed and then play the call. You can always take off more but you cannot put it back on.


Remember if it is not broke, don’t try to fix it during hunting season. Play with learning how to tune your call in the off season. Your call should not need to be tuned often. If it is needing to be tuned often, it more than likely just needs to be cleaned. Constant tuning will never let you master playing a call. First master playing your “Fast Talker” how it comes from my shop, it is mailed out tuned.

For more goose and duck hunting tips please read other articles located at duck and goose hunting tips.

Questions? Please call or email Chris Holste:
651-983-9514 chris@performancecalls.com
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