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Goose hunters should always do general cleaning and up keep to there calls at least twice a year to keep there calling equipment in good working order and clean of any debris. Before and after the season is probably the best times and is a good way to keep that goose call in tip top shape for the coming season. Doing so will also remove any build up that might have gathered in and around the guts and reed. Waterfowl calls need cleaning and repaired periodically due to frequent use in harsh conditions and damages that might have occurred during the late season hunting season. No matter how expensive a goose call is if used regularly retuning is a process that will need to be done from time to time.
Custom goose calls can be very expensive and for those that have never taken a call apart it can seam a daunting and scary task taking apart that costly goose call. The first thing to do is take a sharpie fine tip marker and after you separate the insert from the barrel, is to place a mark along the reed where the wedge ends. This does two things first it gives you an exact mark where the reed sits and identifies the top of the reed. Next you need to mark all the way around the guts where it goes in to the insert, do this with a light scratch just enough that is can be seen.
Taking notice of where the reed ends on the tone board, it will either stop at or just before the end of the tone channel and the rubber O rings to insure they are not missing or cracked. After removal of the guts and reed from the insert for cleaning, do a quick inspection for cracks in the reed or insert for defects due to ware, tare and general use while waterfowl hunting.
With clean water and if you wish a gentle anti bacterial mouth wash clean both the barrel and the insert and allow to dry or use a soft clean towel. Now rinse off the two parts of the gut system but not the reed. The lower part is called the tone channel or board and the shorter is called the wedge.
Once all parts washed and rinsed parts have been dried place the reed on the tone board. If you have some doubt about which side of the reed is up there are two way to tell. First you could hold the reed in between your finger tips at the end of the reed if the end is curved up that is the top. You can also place the reed flat on a table and flick the reed to make it spin the side that spins the best always the up side of the reed.
After lining up the wedge with the mark insert the guts and reed, once the mark on the reed and the lines on both the wedge and tone board all line up with the edge of the insert you call should be tuned just as it was when you took it apart. Now if you are using an acrylic call as most do now days if the insert and barrel are tough to get on and off you can rub chap stick along the two rubber O rings this will allow the part to slide together much easier. Also if you can not get the call apart place your call in the freezer for ten minutes , this will cause the call to reduce in size just a bit and allow you to separate the insert from the barrel but never use tools like pliers as this will mar the call reducing the value. Reeds and O rings are easily replaced and may be obtain by contacting the call manufacture at very little cost many of whom will be happy to retune your call for only the cost of shipping.