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Whole Ox Rib, Scrawny Regular (left rib cage)
Whole Uncut Sun-bleached Rib bones from Wyoming
Requires less sculpting. Sometimes makes a full pair of bones. Good value.

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Make Your Own Musical Rib Bones FREE twelve-page illustrated step-by-step instruction guide packed with each shipment (a $4.97 value!): Make Your Own Musical Rib Bones in 7 easy steps

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Only $7.99 each
Special Note: Sometimes makes two playable bones.

This is a natural product, no two are alike: Your item may differ from photo.

Quantity in Stock:(Out of Stock)
Product Code: 105-1-S-REG-L

Description Technical Specs The Inside Story...
What is a Scrawny Regular Rib Bone?

segmented rib Musical Ox Rib Anatomy 101
An ox has 13 rib bones on each side of the rib cage. Take a look at this whole ox skeleton. It shows an enlarged view of the rib cage separated into four categories so you can better understand the raw material we are working with.

rib rack Since every critter is different, the bones don't always fall neatly into each category. And I am not an expert on ox anatomy, so the grading of the actual rib you get is rather subjective. But I think this page gives a fairly good idea of what you are ordering so there will be no surprises when you open the box. In any event, this is superb bone-making material and I guarantee that you will be happy with the instruments you craft from them. But please take the rib numbering and descriptions with a grain of salt.

High End
The best ribs for musical bones are the upper back ribs. They are located next to the shoulder. These premium ribs are prized by experienced musical bone makers because the shape is nearly perfect and requires little sculpting. These are the 'prime rib' of musical bones. At least that's what some bone makers claim. Yes, High End ribs are easy to make into musical bones. (But I prefer Regular ribs because you usually get a conical plus a flat bone out of them.) You can make one musical bone from a single High End rib. You can't play just one bone. That's only half a pair. You need to order two High End ribs to make one full pair of musical bones.

Yield: One bone.
Advantage: Requires less sculpting.
Disadvantage: More expensive. Few in stock.

Hefty High End
These rib bones fall between High End and Hefty. They are somewhat heavier and wider than High End rib bones.

You can make one musical bone from a single Hefty High End rib. You can't play just one bone. That's only half a pair. You need to order two Hefty High End ribs to make one full pair of musical bones.

Yield: One bone.
Advantage: Full resonant tone. Good value.
Disadvantage: Requires substantial sculpting.

Behind the High End ribs are Hefty bones. These ribs are too thick and massive for musical bones. I suppose a skilled craftsperson could shape these 'big bad boys' into decent instruments. But the task would certainly offer a challenge. They are great, however, as presentation ribs. Next time someone asks what your bones are made from, just raise a Hefty bone in one hand to show what the 'before' looks like, and a pair of your usual musical bones in the other hand to show 'after.'

Yield: Zero playable bones (unless you like them extra wide, extra thick and extra heavy).
Advantage: Good presentation rib or "cowboy" back scratcher.
Disadvantage: Requires substantial sculpting.

Hefty Regular
These ribs fall between Hefty and Regular ribs. They are somewhat heavier and wider than Regular rib bones. Hefty Regular ribs can be a good deal because sometimes they yield a full pair of bones.

Yield: One bone, sometimes two if you are lucky.
Advantage: Full resonant tone. Good value.
Disadvantage: Requires substantial sculpting.

Regular Ribs

segmented rib Regular ribs are kind of a cross between High End and Hefty bones. They are long like Hefty bones and just a tad thicker, wider, and heavier than High End bones. You will need to shape them here and there with a saw and rasp. Regular bones produce excellent instruments, even though the edges usually show exposed marrow. They almost always yield both a conical plus a flat musical bone. That means you just need to order one Regular rib to make a full pair of bones for one hand. So Regular ribs give you the most for your money.

Yield: Almost always two bones.
Advantage: Produces full pair. Synergetic combination of conical and flat bone. Best buy for the buck.
Disadvantage: Requires moderate sculpting.

Scrawny Regular

Bridging the Regular and Scrawny ribs are Scrawny Regular ribs. Some Scrawny Regular ribs might actually be Scrawny ribs from the hindmost end of the rib cage. But if the rib is flat and large enough to yield one (or two) playable music bones, then I grade it as Scrawny Regular instead. Although they might be somewhat curvy, Scrawny Regular ribs can be an especially good value as they sometimes yield a full pair of bones.

Yield: One bone, sometimes two.
Advantage: Requires less sculpting. Good value.
Disadvantage: Some ribs are a bit round and curvy.

The hindmost ribs are rather round and scrawny. You might get a musical bone out of one, but don't count on it. What good are Scrawny bones? Some craftspeople carve jewelry and other natural trinkets from them. If nothing else, you can stick one in your bones bag and use it as a lightweight presentation rib.

Yield: Zero playable bones (unless you like them round like thick pencils)
Advantage: Useful for craft projects, and as a "cowboy" back scratcher.
Disadvantage: Narrow, round and curvy.

Which Should I Make: Conical or Flat?
Neither is better. They are just different. So if your rib can yield just one playable bone, then you must decide whether it will be conical or flat. Can't decide? Then order at least two ribs and make both. Personally, I like to mix and match. Besides, ordering more ribs saves on shipping.

Matched Pairs

If you are one of those people who craves matched pairs, then you are in for a real treat.

It doesn't matter to most folks, but some players prefer a carefully matched pair made from opposing sides of the rib cage. Others prefer them from the same side of the rib cage.

Left rib cage, right rib cage...what's the difference?
The difference is how the bones feel in your hand. If you are not sure which side you want, then either side will probably be fine.

Some folks like to mix and match. I just checked my favorite natural musical bones. The right-hand pair of bones are from opposing sides of the rib cage. But the left-hand pair are from the same side of the rib cage. And to further complicate matters, each hand pairs a rib from a critter that died of old age with the rib of a young animal.

This store caters to persnickety players. But for the rest of us, if the left side is out of stock, just order from the right.

Awesome Raw Material
Only a few ribs in the collection display good-size cracks, but I tend to keep those specimens for myself. (Sorry, there's not enough to go around.) But if you look real close at the rib you receive, you might see scores of tiny hairline cracks running though the surface. You might think these cracks are a defect. I did at first. But after making quite a few sets from these bones, I now view them as an appealing feature. But to each his or her own.

Since these are natural products, no two are alike. The ribs are sheathed to varying extents by a chalky thin natural protective membrane. The membrane is relatively easy to sand and finish, and does not impair playability.

These are naturally sun-bleached ox ribs collected on the open range. Some ribs are nearly white in color. Some are dark brown. Some show various degrees of natural staining. The color or staining has no impact on the sound these extremely hard-to-find bones produce. The ribs are graded strictly by shape, not color. But if you need ribs matched by color, then let me know and I will try to accommodate you.

Limited Supply, Order Now

Remember, Jim sends me just one major shipment each year. Make no bones about it, when these bones are gone, they're gone. So if you want to try this excellent musical bone material, then order today.

Bone Crafter
You must be absolutely delighted with the finished musical instruments created from these Whole Sun-bleached Bones. If you are not happy with the finished musical bones you craft from these bones for any reason - or for no reason - then just give me a holler and I will send your choice of an immediate full refund or free replacement bones absolutely free. And the shipping is on me. So if the bones you make don't turn out how you like them, then just keep 'em and try again.

All the risk is on me. So what are you waiting for? Order this first-rate raw material now and get rattling.
  • Naturally Sun-bleached: Bone dry, not greasy
  • Uncut: Make the length you want
  • Large Open-Pore Marrow: Gives full resonant sound
  • Free-range Critters: Died naturally of old age
  • Pre-cleaned: No scrubbing or picking off dried meat
  • Free from Bleach, Chemicals and Heat: All natural, won't chafe skin
  • Smooth Finish: You might see some thin natural protective membrane, but all-in-all the bone is ready to cut, sand and buff

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Make Your Own Musical Rib Bones
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Make Your Own Musical Rib Bones

Average Customer Review: Average Customer Review: 5 of 5 5 of 5 Total Reviews: 1 Write a review.

  0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:
5 of 5 Scrawny Regular Whole Sun-dried Ox rib bones October 19, 2009
Reviewer: Michelle LeFree from Montrose, CO United States  
I just finished a practice session with several of the pairs of bones that I have made from these "Scrawny Regular" Ox bones. I had so much fun I thought I'd share my experience.

Being natural bones, these ribs vary in size, shape and the age of the animal they were harvested from. Some ribs yield one bone per rib, others can yield two bones per rib. I've made pairs of bones from "paired" left and right ribs and from a single rib when the length and curvature of the bones permits. The age of the particular rib effects the tone of the resulting bones once you've made them. Older bones have a more sparse spongy interior; younger bones have a more dense spongy interior. The bones I have made from older Oxen have a more "hollow," resonant tone and the younger ones have a more distinct "clack" when played. Some of the bones I've made from older animals also have cracks along the length of the solid exterior bony layer. These cracks don't affect the playability; in fact my favorite pair came from a single rib with cracks running along the entire length on the outside layer. The tone from this pair can be altered simply by adjusting the location of the "strike point" where they meet when played. I like that a lot as they are my most versatile pair when I play single-handed. I like to have different sounding bones in either hand when I play with both hands so one pair from an older animal pair combine nicely with a pair from a younger animal. Of course, this is just my personal preference, and you may well feel differently.

The actual making of the bones is a simple process that is fully described in Scott's pamphlet "Make Your Own Musical Rib Bones in 7 easy steps." Scott mentions the health concerns associated with breathing bone dust (something you definitely don't want to do), so I do my cutting and sanding outdoors and use a disposable mask designed to filter particulate matter and a pair of goggles to keep the dust out of my eyes. I don't have any power tools such as those mentioned in Scott's pamphlet, so I use only hand tools and sandpaper. I prefer a shiny finish for my bones as I think that makes them less likely to slip in my hand grip. So, once I've cut and shaped the bones, I use increasing grades of wet/dry sand paper up to 600 grit. I cut mine to 6 1/2" long and have shaped some to be of uniform width (I sealed the edges where the spongy bone is exposed with epoxy to make them more comfortable to grip). I've left the ends of the bones unsealed as Scott's pamphlet suggests that sealing the ends can negatively impact the tone. I detect no negative effects of sealing the side edges.

I like working with my hands so the process of making bones from these ribs is an enjoyable one for me. The real fun, though comes in the rattling. I suffer from "BAD" (bone acquisition disorder) so I have probably a dozen pairs in my collection, including several different kinds of wood and nautical-style bones made from Ox shins. I always seem to gravitate back to the bones I've made from these Ox ribs, both for their tone quality and the pleasure I get from rattling bones I've made myself. When I take them out to play them I invariably get complements as I've not encountered anyone who has seen real bone rhythm bones. In fact most people don't even know what rhythm bones are! That only serves to increase the gratification I get in rattling these home-made bones.

So if you have a few hand tools (hack saw, clamps with rubber gripping surfaces, a couple of files, some wet/dry sandpaper and a couple of hours to spare, I highly recommend that you make a pair of bones from these sun-bleached Ox ribs. They're like that old potato chip commercial: if you're like me, you won't be able to stop with just one pair!

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