The bad thing about cut down calls

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The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby Ricky Spanish » Mon Dec 05, 2022 7:32 am

These old olts when cut are notorious for "bubbling the reed".
Mine did it in one season.
The reed tip splits basically.
This is a thin reed that hasn't split yet.
16702434521827401872657562003110.jpg

The tip gets extra white looking when it's split.
When you wail on a cutdown it's hammering the hell out of the reed tip.
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby Ricky Spanish » Mon Dec 05, 2022 8:36 am

This one is deep, loud, raspy and has potential.
I'll try it in Arkansas but probably will use my Illinois cut and the d2 keyhole cutdown.
This one has no keyhole.
It's not bakelite.
1670247316267435612034388480338.jpg

Once you hear one of these old d2s tuned deep then see how well it works you're hooked.
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby Anotherone » Wed Dec 28, 2022 11:48 am

There’s a sound file somewhere with a 380 reed in a mag hen that sounds like your Olt. I can’t remember which site I heard it on.
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby PorkChop » Tue Mar 14, 2023 7:41 pm

I got me one of them rolling thunder cut down calls two years ago for Christmas. First time I blew it I was like what the hell is this. I thought I was too old for this damn thing as it takes way more air that I’m used too but with some practice I am able to call birds with it.

That being said, for the most part North Dakota is not a place where you need to be a great duck caller and so it’s easy to get lazy. I know for a fact I couldn’t hold a candle to you southern guys right now. It’s actually embarrassing for me how bad my duck and goose calling has become over the years.
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby Rick » Wed Mar 15, 2023 4:01 am

No one's going to come slap your hand if you tune a cutdown for better fit.
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby PorkChop » Thu Mar 16, 2023 10:16 am

I can tune a goose call but I would not even know where to begin with a duck call. When I was a kid I would not even fathom about cutting up my PS Olt or messing with the reeds. Of course I was lucky to get a call and so it had to be taken care of. Honestly I think the first I ever heard of it was when I was listening to the end of the line podcast and the rolling thunder guy was on there it just blew me away! Made me wish I had a time machine and I could go back in time.
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby Rick » Thu Mar 16, 2023 10:37 am

PorkChop wrote:I can tune a goose call but I would not even know where to begin with a duck call.


Though you'll find they can vary by model, Rolling Thunder sells extra reeds for all of them. Three should be plenty, but get five in case you get impatient, try to skip using your current best as a template only and eff it up by cutting too much from it. And get some of the appropriate cork, as well.

Here's a quick course I recently posted elsewhere (twice?):

Since I'm not a collector and sell or give away nearly all calls that don't make the grade, I never cut the shop-tuned reed, but mark it with an "O" for original and save it to go with the call to its next owner. I use that original reed as a template to mark a starting place on a new, uncut reed with a fine point pen. If the "O" reed is too light/short to suit me, I make my fist cut on the mark's outside edge. If too heavy/long, as in the Singleton's (and most everything Jim's tuned for me) case, my first cut is along the mark's inside edge. I'll repeat that process using the last-cut reed as my new template and cutting the thinnest possible sliver from the appropriate edge of my new marks until the tuning gets worse, instead of better. The idea being to always use the current.best reed as a template, rather than cutting it again, so that when you eventually go too far, you'll still have that best possible reed.

Might oughta add here that you'll want to be cutting the base end of the reed, not the dagger tipped working end.
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby PorkChop » Thu Mar 16, 2023 11:34 am

Rick wrote:
Might oughta add here that you'll want to be cutting the base end of the reed, not the dagger tipped working end.


See this right here is why you are the man! I definitely would’ve been cutting the wrong end :lol:
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby Ricky Spanish » Thu Mar 16, 2023 12:35 pm

Tossed my other light reed.
If it bubbles it will happen here.
Your reed can split too.
1678988026760479552820480755504.jpg
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby Ricky Spanish » Thu Mar 16, 2023 12:40 pm

PorkChop wrote:I got me one of them rolling thunder cut down calls two years ago for Christmas. First time I blew it I was like what the hell is this. I thought I was too old for this damn thing as it takes way more air that I’m used too but with some practice I am able to call birds with it.

That being said, for the most part North Dakota is not a place where you need to be a great duck caller and so it’s easy to get lazy. I know for a fact I couldn’t hold a candle to you southern guys right now. It’s actually embarrassing for me how bad my duck and goose calling has become over the years.

What actually matters is your confidence which is why we must establish a pecking order and put a mental beat-down on the competition so brutal that they just set in their blinds silently sobbing. :lol:
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby PorkChop » Thu Mar 16, 2023 12:44 pm

I have had my goose reeds split and bubble but never a duck reed.

Boy oh boy do I feel like a moron as I see the sticky post above this one is called how to tune a duck call the Rick way :D :-| :-| :) :o :o
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby Ricky Spanish » Thu Mar 16, 2023 12:46 pm

PorkChop wrote:I have had my goose reeds split and bubble but never a duck reed.

Boy oh boy do I feel like a moron as I see the sticky post above this one is called how to tune a duck call the Rick way :D :-| :-| :) :o :o

Some world champion guy made a real good video on tuning a duck call. Same guy is pretty full of himself.
I would be unbearable if I'd won a couple contests.
:lol:
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby Rick » Thu Mar 16, 2023 2:41 pm

PorkChop wrote:I have had my goose reeds split and bubble but never a duck reed.


Standard .010 J-frame reeds almost never, if ever, blister, but the thicker .014 mylar used goose and cutdown calls seems appreciably more prone to it - another reason to have extras on hand.
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby Ricky Spanish » Fri Mar 31, 2023 9:23 am

Transitioning from jframe to a cutdown hurts.
If you try using j frame style air you come up weak.
You gotta push push push the air.
How I do it is to quit with the hut hut hut and go to kak kak kakking. To develop the throat muscles should hurt.
It did on me anyway.
I had to get kicked in the nuts a few times by champion duck callers I resisted this so hard...
Then one day I found this...
What does it say?
Kak kak kak kak
Ok?
Antique set of OLT instructions got me to try.

My father was the worst duck caller ever and he set me back years by interpreting the instructions as kaw kaw kaw kaw. ...he really sounded awful but I was 14 and he was using calls with real reeds when I first started hunting so naturally developing up to acrylics and cutdowns was never going to happen without help.
Finally I got it
1680272665170325527633761082550.jpg


You know it took a court order to get my dad to take me duck hunting? Imagine that.
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby Rick » Fri Mar 31, 2023 4:08 pm

Running cutdowns seems a bit like dog training: the only thing two out of three practitioners will agree on is that the other one's doing it wrong. Some say "straight clean air," others say "straight clean air gated by your hand" and others initially gate their "straight clean air" with tongue-tip-to-roof-of-mouth reference sounds like that Olt "K", Bryce Decker's "T" or the "D" I finally stumbled on through trial and error before learning of other gating methods.

Seems to me that as long as one tunes his own to fit his air, all of the above, and likely whatever makes one's j-frames run to suit them, will probably work. Gating, by whatever means, to build a bit of initial pressure just lets one move a heavier (thicker or longer) reed with less wind. And I'm currently having some fun running a LA Cut Singleton that's bored for much more inherent volume than anything else I own and tuned light enough for me to find more ducks in by varying those presentations, instead of going for maximum cut-down crunch with a longer reed I'd have to gate for my tired old lungs to send way the hey down range for any length of time.

'Course, it might not prove anything special at all on game, but I'm getting my money's worth out of fun experimenting with this one and in anticipation of hunting it, rather than just the "now I know" return on most of the calls that have passed through my hands.
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby Ricky Spanish » Fri Mar 31, 2023 4:26 pm

Rick wrote:Running cutdowns seems a bit like dog training: the only thing two out of three practitioners will agree on is that the other one's doing it wrong. Some say "straight clean air," others say "straight clean air gated by your hand" and others initially gate their "straight clean air" with tongue-tip-to-roof-of-mouth reference sounds like that Olt "K", Bryce Decker's "T" or the "D" I finally stumbled on through trial and error before learning of other gating methods.

Seems to me that as long as one tunes his own to fit his air, all of the above, and likely whatever makes one's j-frames run to suit them, will probably work. Gating, by whatever means, to build a bit of initial pressure just lets one move a heavier (thicker or longer) reed with less wind. And I'm currently having some fun running a LA Cut Singleton that's bored for much more inherent volume than anything else I own and tuned light enough for me to find more ducks in by varying those presentations, instead of going for maximum cut-down crunch with a longer reed I'd have to gate for my tired old lungs to send way the hey down range for any length of time.

'Course, it might not prove anything special at all on game, but I'm getting my money's worth out of fun experimenting with this one and in anticipation of hunting it, rather than just the "now I know" return on most of the calls that have passed through my hands.

The trick is tuning it heavy enough to wail on yet light enough to where you can flirt with over-blowing it.
Thats where the nice squeals come from.
I can't control it but close.
It'd be nice to squeal at the beginning or ends of quacks.
It gets fun playing with that.
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby Rick » Sat Apr 01, 2023 11:17 am

Ricky Spanish wrote:The trick is tuning it heavy enough to wail on yet light enough to where you can flirt with over-blowing it.
Thats where the nice squeals come from.
I can't control it but close.
It'd be nice to squeal at the beginning or ends of quacks.
It gets fun playing with that.


Having never been able to find as much leverage in the raspy rattle most others seem to prefer as in crisp clean notes and wanting to finish my birds with the same call in hand that turned them, tuning as light as I can go without being able to lock it up on top has long been at least my initial tuning preference. And is where my Singleton cutdown currently is.

But more than just tuning and air presentation goes into "squeal" of the "Cajun" variety, not that I have found consensus on, much less claim to understand, the contributing elements of call design like back pressure and hold. Some calls, like Haydel's Dirty Rice, have inherent squeal built in, some, like a Daisy Cutter, readily squeal when notes are pinched off, while others, like the MVP, require more effort, and others yet, like the cutdowns I've had, flat refuse to squeal in my hands.

The LA Cut Singleton I'm enjoying is loose enough with its current tuning to do bouncing hens and will get all kinds of neat squeaky chattering but won't give up a quack with Cajun squeal no matter how I pinch it. Not that I've ever been able to find that intonation's purportedly special power on game. Just fun to get trashy for my hunters' and own amusement when things are going our way.
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby Ricky Spanish » Sat Apr 01, 2023 11:31 am

Rick wrote:
Ricky Spanish wrote:The trick is tuning it heavy enough to wail on yet light enough to where you can flirt with over-blowing it.
Thats where the nice squeals come from.
I can't control it but close.
It'd be nice to squeal at the beginning or ends of quacks.
It gets fun playing with that.


Having never been able to find as much leverage in the raspy rattle most others seem to prefer as in crisp clean notes and wanting to finish my birds with the same call in hand that turned them, tuning as light as I can go without being able to lock it up on top has long been at least my initial tuning preference. And is where my Singleton cutdown currently is.

But more than just tuning and air presentation goes into "squeal" of the "Cajun" variety, not that I have found consensus on, much less claim to understand, the contributing elements of call design like back pressure and hold. Some calls, like Haydel's Dirty Rice, have inherent squeal built in, some, like a Daisy Cutter, readily squeal when notes are pinched off, while others, like the MVP, require more effort, and others yet, like the cutdowns I've had, flat refuse to squeal in my hands.

The LA Cut Singleton I'm enjoying is loose enough with its current tuning to do bouncing hens and will get all kinds of neat squeaky chattering but won't give up a quack with Cajun squeal no matter how I pinch it. Not that I've ever been able to find that intonation's purportedly special power on game. Just fun to get trashy for my hunters' and own amusement when things are going our way.


This one is stiff and takes massive air.
I gave up on it ten years ago, picked it up lately, and it's tuned pretty good for where I'm at.
The back cut on there...woa.
16803665766677709889893616578305.jpg

16803666107655037251275785145964.jpg

Is your cutdown anything remotely like that?
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby Rick » Sat Apr 01, 2023 12:48 pm

Hard to tell from the photos. My Brute R has a more rounded Arky cut than yours appears to and more hump to its toneboard than my 45-degree LA cut SIngleton resulting in more space between it and the reed, which also appears the case with yours.
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby Ricky Spanish » Sat Apr 01, 2023 1:02 pm

Rick wrote:Hard to tell from the photos. My Brute R has a more rounded Arky cut than yours appears to and more hump to its toneboard than my 45-degree LA cut SIngleton resulting in more space between it and the reed, which also appears the case with yours.

That's a fuck up. Sorry rick
That flat back is just how the polycarbonate d2s are.
My bad. It took me a while to wake Gary up and he's got the straight skinny on them olts.
I try.
The poly d2 is collectible but not a bakelite keyhole call in any way.
That one's been modified but not much.
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby Ricky Spanish » Sat Apr 01, 2023 1:04 pm

This is a virgin "uncut" keyhole insert
IMG_20230401_130355.jpg
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby Ricky Spanish » Sat Apr 01, 2023 1:11 pm

This is cool I guess.
Screenshot_20230401_130903_Chrome.jpg


For $115 you get two tone boards to destroy.
I suppose if you were going to self teach yourself to cut cutdowns...
What could possibly go wrong?
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby Rick » Sat Apr 01, 2023 3:28 pm

That Olt is showing a mile of gap and ought to be course as a cob,

Old timers used to say you had to fill a pickle barrel with boogered inserts to learn to cut 'em, so at $115 a pair, I'm definitely out.
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby Ricky Spanish » Sat Apr 01, 2023 4:07 pm

Rick wrote:That Olt is showing a mile of gap and ought to be course as a cob,

Old timers used to say you had to fill a pickle barrel with boogered inserts to learn to cut 'em, so at $115 a pair, I'm definitely out.

The call is 110 so the extra insert is $5 and I bet you could negotiate a deal to get them in bulk.
Not that interested in it but it is interesting.
This is a hand cut call by Phil Robertson.
16803832564922812177632021964565.jpg

It's pretty nice,,two reeds, and has its place.
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby Rick » Sat Apr 01, 2023 5:01 pm

Still not at all inclined to fool with it.
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby Ricky Spanish » Sun Apr 02, 2023 5:47 am

Rick wrote:Still not at all inclined to fool with it.

Metoo.
Some guy is trying to get me into it.
Told him give me the jig and I'd be happy cutting tone boards of hedge to a pattern.
One of these days it's gonna happen.
I think it'd be an honor to churn out a betty-run.
I'd have to give them away... :lol:
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby Rick » Sun Apr 02, 2023 6:55 am

Ricky Spanish wrote:This is a hand cut call by Phil Robertson.
16803832564922812177632021964565.jpg

It's pretty nice,,two reeds, and has its place.


Little curious about the origin of that call, as that's not an Olt barrel I'm familiar with, nor molded from the type of wood-grained polymer (by "stuff like baking powder for plastic") that he felt a secret of his molded calls' sound. (Asked me not to write about it.)

Closest thing to a cutdown I've known of from his shop was/is(?) the Cutdown Reacher, a cut version of the polymer "Reacher" version of his original wood calls. Well, perhaps not really his original ones, as a college buddy of his was an annual regular in my blind and showed me what was Robertson's "trademark" prior to trying to market calls:
P1030187a.jpg


Don't suppose that offset bore would sell so well, and neither did that initial run of Cutdown Reacher, as when I couldn't find a second one to tune a bit higher, he told me they hadn't sold well and been pulled from the market. Did, however, "still make a few for me, thee and what few others can run them." One of which he was nice enough to give me along with a paw full of reeds to play with. (A rub with double-reeds being that it takes two with different tunings to approach the range of a decent single.)

Anyway, that was way back when he was still worried over their first video ever paying for itself, and never mind igniting the Duck Commander rocket which I can't say I followed after eventually moving on from the Cutdown Reachers.
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby Anotherone » Sun Apr 02, 2023 7:01 am

Phil and Warren shooting ducks in Maurepas swamp was the greatest video. Hell, I think I’ll pull up Duckmen 1 now and watch it.
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby Ricky Spanish » Sun Apr 02, 2023 7:02 am

Thanks for identifying what I got.
I had no idea and I think Gary forgot.
He keeps telling me to not undervalue it.
It's a very rare call.
In your hand it feels kind of meh.
It reminds me of a hopped up yentzen.
Thanks for playing along I still have a lot to learn and it's not in books.

I think the reason Gary gives me calls is because I run out and use them. ( and the hunny) He lives thru my adventures vicariously.
One of these days I'll get him out in the hole called middle stake and run up the flag. :lol:

Yesterday I ran the betty cut a lot.
It fits me real good. I can do bouncing hen and lots of cool stuff on it to drive ducks away. :lol:
Barking is a breeze on it.
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Re: The bad thing about cut down calls

Postby Rick » Sun Apr 02, 2023 8:31 am

Anotherone wrote:Phil and Warren shooting ducks in Maurepas swamp was the greatest video. Hell, I think I’ll pull up Duckmen 1 now and watch it.


Robertson told me they hired a real production crew (6 or 9 grand?) and took a lot longer (couple or three seasons?) than it appears to make and was still worried about it paying for itself at the time. Gave me a copy, which remains the best of its kind I've seen, and I returned it so he could give someone else that chance. Couple of rubes with no clue what that video would ignite, we were.

Being as how the statute of limitations has surely run out, he also showed me the photo of a dinosaur of an alligator he and Coco allegedly caught, measured with a length of the rope they tied it up with at 14' and released during the filming or preparation for it. That rodeo would have probably made for better footage than the deer I've heard he flipped with a rifle on a later video.

Next couple videos were disappointing and hopefully made on the very cheap before hiring better help again but turning hunts into how-red-can-you-go? shows I couldn't stomach. 'Course, that's the image that mass-marketed them through the roof, so I plainly know nothing.

Please note, Robertson and I weren't the close friends the above might suggest (he called me "Hall"), just a couple guys with similar interests that crossed our paths in the "Way back when..."
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