Mel Harvey

Died April 2012

My name is Melvin Harvey, Findlay Ohio. I learned to play them in 1948   from Gene Matthewson in rural Hardin County, OH. I am now 71.  I stopped in a music store in Coshorton, OK, and they told me to check the RBS website.  I became a member. Some of my favorite tunes to play to are “Down Yonder” By Del Wood, “Sweet Georgia Brown”, “Alabama Jubilee”, “Golden Slippers,” etc.


I have taught my son Ron and my brother Norman how to play the bones. I do not nor have I tried to play professionally although I have played with quite a few bands. Polka Bands, Bluegrass bands, Cake walking, Jazz bands, country etc. I just enjoy playing rhythm bones. I would like to meet other rhythm bone players.


My first few sets of rhythm bones came from cows ribs that we butchered on the farm, then I bought some ebonized wood rhythm bones, Then I found a set of four rosewood rhythm bones that I really liked, however they were burned up. I had a set of pure ivory rhythm bones that were too heavy I gave them away. I have had several sets of Joe Birl plastic rhythm bones, and, some rhythm bones I made out of ebony. I have just ordered a set of four made from cherry.  The hardest thing I find is finding tapes or CDs of the tunes that I like to play best.


I’ve shown many people how to play, but only my son, Ron, has learned how.  The man who taught me had five daughters and all could play.