Choosing the right mouth diaphragm is a difficult, daunting task, just as important as choosing the right boots or best arrow to match with your bow. When standing in the store looking at all the options you need to think about a few things. The width of your mouth, how much air you are comfortable moving over the diaphragm and what are you familiar with if any.
I’m going to go over 3 user-friendly diaphragms that all beginning elk callers can hit most of the tones needed to be successful at calling elk. These three calls are best for beginners because they are built on a single reed platform which allows you to focus more on the proper amount of air needed to hit your notes and reed positioning in your mouth while in a call sequence.
The Primos “Sonic Dome” Single Reed
This reed is built with a plastic dome-like plate that fits nicely against the roof of your mouth. The Sonic dome series of reeds come in standard size and mini. The latex stretched across the dome plate is very soft and thin. That being said, it doesn’t take much air to get the reed to work and make crisp calf sounds. But this reed does have its limits: it is very difficult to get deeper growly sounds needed to make mature cow talk and mature bugles. For a beginner, this is a very easy reed to be able to make cow-calf talk and small bull bugles, but limits out in its overall versatility.
The Phelps “Maverick Signature AMP” diaphragm
This reed is built in only one size but the outer body of the reed is very malleable to conform to the roof of your mouth. The latex used in this reed is a medium stretch over a metal dome-like “AMP” sound plate. This reed has a ton of sound range with a ton of volume. It takes a mild amount of air to get the reed to start to perform. There isn’t much that this reed can’t do, with applying more pressure to the reed you can hit those high pitched calf notes and with a slight repositioning of the reed, you can hit the deeper notes needed to hit mature herd bull bugles. This reed is an all-around great reed for any level, of elk caller.
Rocky Mountain Hunting Calls “Mellow Yellow Momma”
This too is only built in only one size. Instead of a dome-like structure over the latex they use a palate plate for this specific reed. This call is noticeably larger than the other two, which is fine if you have a larger palate. The palate plate allows the reed to sit closer to the roof of your mouth, which causes you to apply more tough pressure and the body of the reed is a lot more rigid than the others. This call can be a little difficult for a beginner to use. Figuring out the right amount of tongue pressure paired with the correct volume of air moved over the reed takes time, but once you get it dialed this call is a workhorse. From low, growly bugles to high-pitched cow and calf talk, it can do it all.
Between these three reeds, the Phelps “Maverick Signature AMP” seemed to be the best overall for anyone to pick up and get good sounds out of. The way that the latex can be controlled in a call sequence is superior. From high-pitched calf talk to dominant cow talk and into a bugle, it is extremely crisp and the malleability of the reed body helps the reed fit comfortably in your mouth.