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Cowbells

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What are the best cowbells?

Cowbells come in all sorts of sizes and materials. But generally, they can be organized into two groups: the clapper and the clapperless. Clappers are the traditional model, closest to the farmers’ accessory to livestock collars. 

Clapperless options come in a wider variety of shapes and sizes and are frequently used in West African, Latin American, and Go-go music.

If you're looking for a quality, no-frills choice for your drum set, you can't go wrong with LP. From the high pitched, affordable Black Beauty to the Ridge Rider, which has a bright sound and sharp attack, LP has cowbells for rock drummers, funk drummers, and everything in between.

If you're looking for something more versatile, check out the Meinl Russ Miller Signature Cowbell. Meinl has built a “dampening mechanism” into this cowbell, giving you maximum control over how low and resonant or how high and punchy you want your sound to be.

How do you play the cowbell on drums?

Snares produce sound when you strike them by channeling the vibration through wires that stretch across the drum head. Cowbells work differently. It's simply the body of the cowbell that sounds when you strike it, like a cymbal. 

It's an easy mistake to make to assume that playing the cowbell is as simple as striking it at the right time you want that sound. But if you've ever listened to Afro-Cuban or Go-go music, you know that playing the cowbell is an art of its own. 

You can play this instrument with the same wooden sticks you use to play your drums. But professional players become so adept at playing the cowbell that they get their own special stick for it. That kind of stick called a clave, or a bell beater creates a unique, deeper sound.

How do you use a cowbell instrument?

The first thing to know when learning how to play the cowbell is how to hold the instrument. 

You hold the cowbell in your non-dominant hand. Cowbells have a broader, open, and thinner, closed-end. Hold the instrument on the narrow end and strike the open end to get a full, clear ring.

Once you master the strike, it’s all about getting your rhythm down pat. A cowbell can help keep a band in time or shine during a solo!

Check out all our options at the Drum Center of Portsmouth!

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