Rhythm bones are sets of slabs or sticks, held two (or more) in each hand, and made to strike each other to make snapping and rolling sounds. Rhythm bones are one of several types of clappers, but there are also clappers which are held one in each hand and struck on on the other, and clappers which have two parts tied to a handle that strike each other, and these are not rhythm bones. Rhythm bones should not be confused with spoons, which are also clappers. Names such as clappers, sticks, spoons, clackers, and knicky-knackers have been subscribed to rhythm bones. The name is derived from their original composition and nomenclature, bones. Originally rib bones of animals were used since their size and shape fit in the hand, and many people still play them. For different sounds, tones and conveniences other materials, particularly wood, are used. What makes rhythm bones unique as a clapper is the ease that it can produce the 3-click triplet sound (see the How to Play page).
Here are pictures of some of the many types of wood rhythm bones that are available today followed by what material they are made from. These come from Ev Cowett’s (the father of the Rhythm Bones society) own rhythm bone collection. Many of these can be purchased however a great many boners enjoy making there own personalized rhythm bones to fit their own style. Click HERE for a Portfolio of rhythm bones (Note: this is a work in progress. Also note there are other examples in the video below.)
Michael Baxter produced a breakthrough video demonstrating the sound of many kinds of rhythm bones. It’s purpose is to make it easier to decide which type of rhythm bones to Make or Buy. Scott Miller did that but in several individual videos on his Dry Bones website, and here Michael Baxter does it in one video. This is a much needed addition to our website. Thanks, Michael. Click Mike’s image to view.