Learn the Basics

There are two styles of rhythm bones playing, Traditional and Percussive, though many play a bit of both. Traditional is built on the Triplet and Percussive is built on the Tap.  Basic instruction consists of how to hold rhythm bones and how to play the tap and the triplet.

Percy Danforth “How to Play the Bones”


From the Internet

Learn the Tap and Triplet from the master himself

Then learn a bit MORE


From Percy’s Booklet

This is one of the first instruction materials edited by Sue Barber and produced by Andy and Bill Spence of Andy’s Front Hall.  NOTE: You may have to change your browser’s PDF reader to Adobe Reader to listen to the audio files.  Alternatively after clicking ‘Read the Booklet,’ download the file, open it and if you get a security message, click ‘Trust.’ Read the Booklet


Nicholas Driver’s Bodhran and Bones Tutor

The rhythm bones part of Nick’s instruction book with an alternate way of holding rhythm bones

Read the Extract

Percussive Style by Fred Edmunds

Dr. Fred Edmunds wrote a book and made a video titled ‘Bones Unlimited.’ His complete course that emphasizes the percussive style of play. The original book and video and the on-line version are copyright 2007-2011 by the Rhythm Bones Society. All rights reserved.

Take the “Bones Unlimited” Course

Instruction on DVD

Percy Danforth – How to Play the Bones

This is the definitive work on playing the bones!  It was the first rhythm bones instructional video in the VCR format and now available as a DVD.  Produced and sold by Lark in the Morning who gave use permission to put the non-instructional parts of the DVD online – click HERE.


Aaron Plunkett – Bones From the Beginning

This is the other definitive rhythm bones instructional DVD by multi-percussionist Aaron Plunkett.  A bit more expensive, but well done with good exercises.  Click HERE for sample from the DVD.



Instruction on YouTube

There are several good instruction videos on YouTube.  Check out these:

Abe Doran

Bones with Brad Dutz – Part 1
Bones with Brad Dutz – Part 2
Bones with Brad Dutz – Part 3

Graham Hargrove

Russ Myers

Barry Patton


Hans Weehuizen

James Yoshizawa

Tuning Your Rhythm Bones – Michael Baxter


Online Personal Instruction

With people spread out over the world. we are interested in exploring online instruction using some teleconferencing technology.  We were recently contacted for this and provided an instructor who will soon report on this in the newsletter.


Ryan Thomson Experience

Bones Fest Workshops

Workshops are part of annual Bones Fests and have great instruction. Check out these:

Newsletter Tips & Techniques

Early issues of the Rhythm Bones Player had a ‘Tips & Techniques’ column.  Below are a few of the best.
The Rudiments of Rhythm Bones
Playing Eight Rhythm Bones by Yirdy Machar
Care and Maintenance by Walt Watkins
How to Hold by Walt Watkins
Rhythm Bones Etiquette by Walt Watkins
Dutch Penny Bones by Dutch Kopp
Quadruplet Roll by Bill Vits
After triplets, Now What? by Skeff Flynn
Learn a Lick by Steve Wixson

A German Children Experience

Rhythm bones in Germany are called Klepperle, and there is a long tradition of children playing them as part of Easter season.  Children make them, learn how to play them and learn several pattern that allow them to play together, compete using set patterns for honors with winners leading a Mardi Gras like parade.  The following videos are in German, but the images tell the story.  The last four videos are stories from some of the towns that carry on this tradition with some towns playing one handed and others two handed.  Unfortunately, the pandemic has stopped this tradition and leaders are wondering if it will continue after the pandemic. For more information go to klepperle.de (it is in German, but there is help on Page 4)


Children Making  Them

Learning to Play Them

Children Competing

Town of Radolfzell

Town of Gengenbach

Town of Haslach

Town of Waldkirch