The sound of cowbells can quickly make you think of music from the 80s, as well as Latin percussion grooves. This article goes through 3 of the best cowbells to add to your drum set
The cowbell originally wasn’t made as a musical instrument. As the name suggests, it was a bell to be worn by cattle for the purpose of locating and identifying them.
Of course, people soon found that they sounded great as a percussion instrument!
The 3 Best Cowbells for Drummers – Our Pick
1. Pearl PCB6 Primero Cowbell
We start this list with the classic – Pearl PCB6 Primero Cowbell. This is a very popular cowbell, and for good reason. This 6-inch cowbell is made from a quality, thick metal, welded all-round to create that full, cowbell sound. The overall build is great, so there is no need to worry that the paint will chip or fall off or that the cowbell will dent when struck.
For attaching this cowbell there is a big metal screw on the top, with which you can attach it to the top of your hi-hat or clamp it to something on your drum set. If you’re looking for a classic, well priced, quality cowbell to improve your playing and sound arsenal this is your pick.
2. Vangoa – 5-inch Metal Steel Cow Bell
Vangoa Cowbell comes in different sizes, from 5 to 8 inches, giving you a lot of range to choose from. Of course, different size means different sound. In the package with this cowbell, you get a small wooden stick, so it’s even useful if you’re using it outside of your drum set.
Price-wise this is a low-cost version of cowbell, so you shouldn’t expect the high-quality cowbell, but still, it will provide you with a decent sound. It comes with a screw on the top, so it can be attached to the stand or rod on the drums and played simultaneously. This is a great option for anyone looking for an affordable, mid-range cowbell.
3. Latin Percussion LP008 Ridge Rider Cowbell
Latin Percussion’s take on the cowbell produced this marvelous instrument – the LP008 Ridge Rider. LP008 is a classic metal cowbell with a distinctive red plastic piece on the hitting end of the bell, attached to the metal with three holes, on both sides. On the top, this cowbell has a classic screw to keep it on the stand or on the rod while played.
The sound that this cowbell produces is great. Everything is made from the high-quality materials and it really has a high-end feel to it, while the plastic parts (except being great-looking) really give this cowbell a truly deep, bright sound it needs.
This will stand the test of time and not bend or chip the paint when hit. The only downside to it all is the price – it is a bit steep, but you get what you paid for. It is a great high-end cowbell for professional musicians to be used without shame in the best productions in the world.
Needs More Cowbell
The saying “Needs More Cowbell” came from one of SNL’s best comedy sketches. It was aired in the year 2000 and featured a character played by Will Ferrell obnoxiously playing the Cowbell during a song, followed by the music producer (played by Christopher Walken) constantly demanding “more cowbell”!
How to Mount a Cowbell to Your Drum Set
There are a bunch of different options:
- Mount it straight onto the rod of your hi-hat. (Con is that it will move up and down as you pedal your hi-hat).
- Buy a cowbell holder and attach it to the rim of your drum, e.g. the top of your bass drum.
- Buy a percussion clamp and attach it to a cymbal stand or drum rack.
- Buy a percussion stand – add your cowbell to it, along with a bunch of other percussion instruments (e.g. jam blocks, agogo bells, etc).
There are many different options, it’s all down to personal preference and a bit of creativity!
More about cowbells
There are several different types of cowbells. There is the standard cowbell, which is the one most commonly known today. Then there are alpine bells, German version (coming from the Alps, thus the name), with a distinctive round shape. Also, there are different types of combined cowbells used in Africa and the Caribbean, allowing the player to play them together or to crash them all at once, creating a different and louder sound.
The cowbell is today usually played as an addition to the drum set and as such can usually be clamped to a rack or cymbal stand. Also, it can be played from hand, but if it doesn’t have a special handle to allow the player not to hold the bell directly in the hand, the sound can be a lot dampened and muffled by a hand.
As well as other percussion instruments, the cowbell is not meant to be played as a solo instrument, as it can really produce one sound, but is usually played as a backing percussion giving the depth to the song and rhythm section.
It is also still used as a farming tool and is used by sports fans around the world just for its noise–making abilities, which are truly magnificent.
We hope that this list has helped you find the perfect cowbell for yourself. Whether you want something cheap to make noise when you’re cheering your team, something to actually put on your cow, or you intend to actually play it as a musical instrument, you will find anything you need right here on this list.
There are a lot more options out there on the market, but we believe that these three options are among the best, for whichever use you intend them to be used.