Your first question--Alum, Slate, Glass, ect. All have a different sound/tone to them, some play easier in different climates.
Your next question, soundboards--The soundboards are the voice of your call, every time you change it, you change the sound of your call.
Your last question, tuning--This is where it gets intresting, everything you do to your call changes the way it sounds. The thichness of your pot sides, the thickness of the bottom, the hole sizes, the holes spacing, the heigth of your pedestal which the soundboard sits on, the diameter of your pedestal, the thickness of your pedestal, the diameter of your soundboard and the thickness of the soundboard. Once you have everything figured out and matched up to the sound you want then the fine tuning is done with your striker with different woods , diameters, and lengths.
It takes a few to learn what works with what, and what combinations work together. You mmay get lucky and have everything work out fine on the first call you make or it may take you a 100 calls before you find what works?
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