There are usually several Cowbell instruments in a salsa band:
- The Bongos player has a Handheld cowbell which he plays during the Montuno section of the song. This cowbell is sometimes called also the "Cencerro", and is usually struck with a clave-like stick. The handheld cowbell emphasizes the odd beats of the music, beats 1, 3, 5 and 7.
- The Timbalero usually has a cowbell mounted on the top of the Timbales drum set. The Timables cowbell is also called the Mambo Bell, and it plays a unique two-measure pattern.