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Thread: Single Reed vs. Double Reed

  1. #1
    *Supporting member* jagermeister's Avatar
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    Single Reed vs. Double Reed

    Alright... So a few weeks ago, in the Duck Calling Basics thread, I posted the following in response to bthompson's question about whether I prefer a single or double reed call...

    Quote Originally Posted by JBrown View Post
    Excellent question, man. Personally, I prefer a double reed call... for most occasions. Reason being, the areas that I hunt are usually either pressured hard or the birds are always going to be working close. Double reeds are usually slightly quieter than single reed calls, and I find that a loud wailing single reed will sometime spook the birds in pressured areas. That being said, I still like to carry a single reed with me when I'm hunting so that if I need to really reach out and touch one I can. IMO, double reeds are easier to run than single reed calls since they require less air pressure... However a lot of double reeds are prone to sticking when it's cold. Single reeds are usually a bit more versatile and less prone to sticking.

    It's funny because my favorite call is the one that I didn't spend any money on. It's an Echo double reed... Back in 2004, while working at Pickerel Creek WA, I was out spraying purple loosestrife in the main marsh in one of the drawn-down units. As I went along I noticed something green down in the mud. I dug it up and sure as shit it was this duck call, packed completely full of mud. I could tell it was an Echo so I knew there was still hope for it. Only the guy that lost it knows how long it was buried in that marsh. I cleaned it up and it's been one of my go-to calls still to this day.
    Here in the past week, I have come to realize that what I posted wasn't completely accurate, and I've actually become a HUGE fan of single-reeds. I ordered a couple sets of reeds and corks from the Echo Calls website last week, along with an extra polycarbonate call insert (back half of a call). My intent was to tune one insert as a double and tune my other insert as a single reed... basically giving me two calls to choose from. After tinkering around with the single, tuning and practicing, I decided I liked it so much that I converted my Zink PH2 (which is a double reed call) to a single reed call.

    I have been blowing double reeds pretty much my entire waterfowling career. I don't know what kept me away from the singles, except maybe just an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude.

    Here's what I now know/believe in regards to these two different calls... (some of it may be contrary to what I originally posted in the other thread)... Double reeds take more air pressure to operate than single reeds, but they have more raspiness "built-in" to them. This results in a very user-friendly call because it basically runs itself. Single reeds take less air pressure to operate (how much less depends on how it's tuned), but don't have as much as that raspiness "built-in" to them. To get the rasp, you have to add inflection, or "voice," into the call. It takes more effort to learn, but once you figure it out the range you are capable of is unbelievable. If it's tuned right you can get the high-pitched squeals and the low raspy old hen out of the same call. It's about as versatile as it gets. And as far as volume goes... If the call is tuned properly, you can get nice and quiet on a single reed just as well as on a double reed.

    I'm sure a lot of this is common knowledge but I'm just happy as hell about it. Kind of pissed off at the same time, though, that it took me so long to have this revalation. Not sure I'll buy another double reed ever again.

    What's the takeaway from this? I would say if you're a beginning duck caller, a double reed might be your best option to start with. As you develop your skills on the call, a single reed could really take you to that next level.
    "Keep your mouth shut, and your ears open."

  2. #2
    A little out of season, but I'm looking to get some new calls and want to get them soon so I have plenty of time to practice with them...

    Jim, you mentioned the Zink PH-2...when you decided on the PH-2 did you compare it to the PH-2 "Double Mag"? I was curious to hear if you did and what your take on the differences between them were...I've been looking at echo's and zink's...almost pretty sure that I want to have zink's though...and real sure that I will get a zinks call for geese.

  3. #3
    *Supporting member* jagermeister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bthompson1004 View Post
    A little out of season, but I'm looking to get some new calls and want to get them soon so I have plenty of time to practice with them...

    Jim, you mentioned the Zink PH-2...when you decided on the PH-2 did you compare it to the PH-2 "Double Mag"? I was curious to hear if you did and what your take on the differences between them were...I've been looking at echo's and zink's...almost pretty sure that I want to have zink's though...and real sure that I will get a zinks call for geese.
    Hey man thanks for bringing this back up! When I bought my PH2, Zink was not producing the double mag... so I didn't really have that option. At the time, I just liked the sound of the PH2 and it fit me, so I rolled with it. I can't give you any guidance really on that double mag because I've never blown one before.

    If I were you, I would try to get my hands on an Echo polycarbonate call before buying a Zink. Don't get me wrong, you will not be disappointed in the PH2... But, I have both and I really REALLY like the Echo. I have converted it to a single reed instead of a double, but even when it was a double it was one of my favorites on the lanyard. I'm 100% sure you'll be happy with either call, but if you try them both you'll at least be able to determine which one "fits" your calling style the best. Keep us posted as to which route you take....
    "Keep your mouth shut, and your ears open."

  4. #4
    *Supporting member* jagermeister's Avatar
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    Here you go... http://www.echocalls.com/polycalls.html

    Not sure if mine is an Open Water or a Timber. I would bet that a double-reed Open Water would be the most similar to the PH2.
    "Keep your mouth shut, and your ears open."

  5. #5
    *Supporting member* jagermeister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBrown View Post
    Here you go... http://www.echocalls.com/polycalls.html

    Not sure if mine is an Open Water or a Timber. I would bet that a double-reed Open Water would be the most similar to the PH2.
    --

    BTW, my next duck call will probably be an Echo Pure Meat. Acrylic, single-reed, and just downright pure duckiness!
    "Keep your mouth shut, and your ears open."

  6. #6
    so what do you like about the new acrylics versus the old polycarbonate?

  7. #7
    *Supporting member* jagermeister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bthompson1004 View Post
    so what do you like about the new acrylics versus the old polycarbonate?
    Acrylic is more dense than polycarbonate, which results in less muffling/absorption of the sound by the material itself... This basically means that acrylic calls can be louder and produce notes that are a bit more crisp than polycarbonate calls. Now this doesn't necessarily mean that louder is better... Of course, you'll have times when softer calling is much more effective than loud calling. However, having the ABILITY to get loud when you need to is a great asset. Most high-end acrylic calls (duck and goose) have a ton of range in them. You can get up there and high-ball your head off, then in the very next sequence drop down right into that ducky low end. There are some quality polycarbonate calls that also have a lot of range but they're few and far between, IMO. There's a reason why most custom acrylic calls are 4 or 5 times more expensive than your average poly call. Acrylic is a superior material, so it costs more than poly. But also, more time is put into the production and tuning of the acrylic calls... The end result is (usually) a higher quality product... and one with more capability and range (noted above). As with so many other things, you get what you pay for.

    All that being said, I carry both acrylic and poly calls on my lanyard. No matter how good that fancy acrylic call sounds to you and I, there are still times when the birds would much rather hear that el-cheapo polycarbonate.
    Last edited by jagermeister; 05-08-2012 at 03:54 PM.
    "Keep your mouth shut, and your ears open."

  8. #8
    *Supporting member* jagermeister's Avatar
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    Here's a good video for you, explaining why it's important to have multiple calls on your lanyard.



    It's funny... Fred was shooting a Benelli back then... Now that he's sponsored by Browning, he claims the Benellis aren't really worth a damn.
    "Keep your mouth shut, and your ears open."

  9. #9
    sponsor's and money will make some people do funny things...

    after watching that, I would say my lanyard is complete then....but that ph-2 is dam sexy and hard to resist!

    video was pretty good, pretty logical and made a lot of sense...it really is about paying attention to the conditions and reading the birds on any given day!
    Last edited by bthompson1004; 05-09-2012 at 08:45 AM.

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    *Co-Owner - Admin* bowhunter1023's Avatar
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    The only two duck calls I have right now are the PH1 and PH2. I really don't know much about calling and what not, but I like the sound of both. The PH1 is a long range call for sure...
    "And a country boy is all I'll ever be..."

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