Box calls

Rudy Maestas

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Hello everyone, I have a question for you call makers. I have recently picked up the hobby of making box calls, or trying anyway. I have made a few and I have a couple that sound really good and a couple that have a really high pitch or are very hard to get sound out of at all. I'm not sure what I did different besides used some different wood. The 2 that sound good are a cedar box and a hickory paddle. The others were a walnut box with a white oak or hickory paddles. Does anyone have any tricks on how to tune and get lower raspier sounds out of them.
Thank you all, Rudy
 

eaglea1

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Welcome from Wisconsin Rudy, I was never good at box calls, but there are others here that will chime in. Good luck
 

Ray D

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Welcome Rudy. Post up a picture if you can. There’s some guys on here that make a lot of box calls and I’m sure they will be able to help. I haven’t made a bunch of them but I know wood selection is very important. Even when the proper wood is selected, tuning them can be challenging. I’ve made some that were very easy to tune and others that were very time consuming. Walnut over poplar and purpleheart over poplar were my favorites.
 

bluedot

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The wood selection has a lot to do with sound. That means type and grain orientation. The sound board grain should be slightly vertical . You will find that horizontal grain is hard to tune. The walnut will typically be higher than the cedar. Thin the tone boards to get lower pitch. The paddle can be a component of the sound. experiment. with changing the angle on the paddle. Sometimes a steeper angle will play better. A picture might help to determine the problem. Are these glue up boxes or single piece? I make a glue up cherry box that is high pitched but makes an excellent locator call . The walnut boxes are lower but not as raspy as single piece poplar, butternut and cedar boxes. I am no "Expert" but love to play with these boxes and experiment for different sounds. I hope some of this rambling helps.
 

Rudy Maestas

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The wood selection has a lot to do with sound. That means type and grain orientation. The sound board grain should be slightly vertical . You will find that horizontal grain is hard to tune. The walnut will typically be higher than the cedar. Thin the tone boards to get lower pitch. The paddle can be a component of the sound. experiment. with changing the angle on the paddle. Sometimes a steeper angle will play better. A picture might help to determine the problem. Are these glue up boxes or single piece? I make a glue up cherry box that is high pitched but makes an excellent locator call . The walnut boxes are lower but not as raspy as single piece poplar, butternut and cedar boxes. I am no "Expert" but love to play with these boxes and experiment for different sounds. I hope some of this rambling helps.
Thank you for your help, I will try these suggestions, I really appreciate the help.
Thanks again
Rudy
 

bluedot

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No problem I am not an expert but a student of the art so feel free to contact me anytime I am sure we can both learn from each other.
 

Rudy Maestas

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No problem I am not an expert but a student of the art so feel free to contact me anytime I am sure we can both learn from each other.
Thank you for the help I really do appreciate it. I do have a question. Does the depth of the box have anything to do with pitch on the call or just volume?
Rudy
 

bluedot

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I am not sure. I have never played around with that all mine are made from 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 blanks with approx 1 inch depth . Sorry

Dan
 

Casey Botts

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Look in the classroom. I just finished reading how screaming skulls makes his box calls. He has a few suggestions at the end to help with sound. It is very informative and I found it helpful.
 

nyboxcaller

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Not sure if there are still questions out there re: box calls. I have been building them for 12 years and have run across just about every scenario possible about the entire process. I might be able to offer help...insights.
Scott
 

Ray D

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Not sure if there are still questions out there re: box calls. I have been building them for 12 years and have run across just about every scenario possible about the entire process. I might be able to offer help...insights.
Scott
Nice of you to offer. Many folks are very tight lipped about their processes but I’ve found just the opposite on this forum. I started making solid body “Neil Cost style” boxes about a year ago. Been making pots and glue up boxes for over 10 years.
 

nyboxcaller

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I too ran ionto the same unfortunate "road blocks" about 10 years ago. In time after I proved my worth and the fact that I wasn't going away, a few guys let the door open just a bit and from there I made the best of it. More years later I became recognized via the NWTF and competitions. Since then and about 5 years ago, I started working with a few other new callmakers showing them the ropes. It never made any sense to me to hold out info. Having said that, I will not tell someone what to do, but rather give guidance and make suggestions, "what do you think about this...have you tried that...did you notice when...believing the best wasy to learn, which is what I did is to experiment through self-discovery, practice, making many mistakes, take notes and so forth. You WILL learn this way and you won't forget. I will also add that nothing beats going to the NWTF Convention and running countless calls and looking to see what works and what doesn't. Through that many veteran callmakers will loosen up if they recognize that you are genuine and willing to work and work hard at it.
 
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