So, where do you mount a cowbell on a drum set? Are there any specific ways in which you should put a cowbell in your drum set? How important is the cowbell in your drum set? How many cowbells should I put in my drum set? For novice drummers, there are really many questions about cowbells and why they should integrate them into their kits, and that is why we are here to find out.
So, what is a cowbell, and when was it first invented? Cowbell is a hand percussion instrument that is used in many styles of music, such as rock and Latin. Its name comes from the similar bell that is used by herdsmen to keep track of their cows.
The origins of this instrument can be traced back to free-roaming animals. The herdsmen place these bells under the animal’s neck to quickly determine which these animals belong. Even though they are also used to be placed in other animals, they are still called cowbells, as they are extensively used with cattle.
Although some people laugh when they see a drum set with a cowbell in it, many professional and legendary drummers use cowbells in their recording and live performances, which is why it is not shameful to put a cowbell in your drum kit. There are even famous tracks that integrate the cowbell into the drum kit.
So, if you are going to use a cowbell in your drum kit, you will need to know the perfect spots that you would be comfortable hitting, as there are many ways you can place it. For some genres, some drummers have a preferred spot to put their cowbell so that they can get comfortable with it.
Where Do You Place A Cowbell On A Drum Set?
There is really no rule to where you mount a cowbell on a drum set, but for many years that cowbells have been integrated with drum sets, there are notable placements that can be followed, depending on the drummer’s comfortability of its positioning.
Beside The Hi-Hat Cymbals
Some drummers place their cowbells on the left side of their cymbals. With this setup, you will need to have a percussion instrument stand so that you can mount your cowbell. You can use the cowbell in this situation as a replacement for your hi-hat cymbals. The cowbell gives you a unique sound to lead your beat. Many Latin drummers use this setup.
Above the Hi-Hat Stand
Most of the drummers that I know usually mount their cowbells in the hi-hat stand above the hi-hat cymbals. It is more comfortable to hit as it is near the hi-hat cymbals, which you are already used to hitting because of your sitting position as a drummer. You can easily use the cowbell to establish the rhythm of any song that you are playing. It also gives a unique sound to your playstyle.
Above the Bass Drum Using An L-Rod
Mounting your cowbell above the bass drum is one of the most known spots where famous drummers place theirs. Many rock drummers use cowbells in their drum sets, and they usually place them above their drum set using an L-rod. You can also see this setup to drum sets that do not have any rack toms.
John Bonham, Mike Johnston, Steve Gadd, and many other famous drummers have mounted their cowbells above the bass drum, as it is easier for them to hit. This position is not really for everyone, but many famous drummers have used this setup, so maybe you should try it.
Below The Ride Cymbal
Mounting your cowbell below the ride cymbal is also a known way to where drummers put theirs. You can use a boom arm so that you easily place the cowbell to where you are comfortable hitting it. You can also use the cowbell as an alternative ride cymbal in some parts of your playing also.
How Important Is Using A Cowbell On Your Drum Set?
You can play a drum set without a cowbell, but if you are going to integrate it into your playing, you will be surprised by how great it is to use a cowbell in your performances. Cowbell is an excellent addition to any drummer’s setup, especially if they know how to play it correctly.
What Are The Famous Songs That Used Cowbells In Their Drum Set
The first song that is known for using a cowbell as a percussion instrument is “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult. It has one of the most famous drum parts that uses a cowbell. The song was released in 1976 under the album “Agents of Fortune.”
The second song that integrated the cowbell into the drum set was Led Zeppelin’s, Moby Dick. John Bonham frequently used his cowbell in this song, which makes it iconic for those rock drummers that love to use their cowbells. The song was released in 1969 under the album “Led Zeppelin II.”
Last but not least, although there are still many famous songs that use cowbells as a percussion instrument, there is no better example than the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women.” The cowbell was frequently used throughout the whole song, which really makes it one of the most popular songs in which a cowbell is used as an instrument. The song was released in 1969.
Famous Drummers That Use A Cowbell On Their Drum Set
For Latin and Latin-fused music, there is no other famous drummer that is known for using a cowbell other than the Cuban drummer Horacio Hernandez. Horacio even has a signature cowbell which is manufactured by Pearl Drums.
Next is John Bonham of Led Zeppelin. There is really no more famous drummer for classic rock that uses a cowbell than Bonzo. For rock drummers today that use a cowbell, they usually get that idea from their child hero, John Bonham.
One of the most famous drum set instructors and percussion gurus, Mike Johnston, is really known to have a cowbell in its setup, which is usually placed above its bass drum. He even has a signature cowbell produced by Meinl.
Last but not least, Steve Gadd. A highly-regarded drummer and percussionist in the industry, he even has a signature cowbell manufactured by Latin Percussion.
You are really a known musician for using cowbells if some company asks your permission so that they can make a signature cowbell instrument named after you.
Overall, the cowbell is a really great percussion instrument that you can integrate into your drum set, as it will give you additional options to play with. So, if you are still curious as to where you mount a cowbell on a drum set, then there is really no specific answer to that. You can mount your cowbell to where you are comfortable, as there is no specific rule for that.