Who ever said that an instrument needed to be complicated? Not the creators of claves, that's for sure. These classic percussion instruments are as simple as can be, and they're also used extensively in many types of music. They're all-stars in Cuban styles like son and guaguancó, for instance, as well as lots of African and Brazilian music where they keep the time and add a familiar accent to the band's sound. Claves have had cameos in the rock'n'roll genre, though songs like the Beatles' "And I Love Her" and the Who's "Magic Bus", and there's even music written for claves exclusively: Steve Reich's "Music for Pieces of Wood".
In this section, there are plenty of options for traditional handheld claves. You could start by checking out top-selling choices like the LP LP597 King Klave or LP211R Rosewood Standard Clave. Or take a look a bit deeper in the lineup for some specialty models such as the shaped Meinl African Solid Body Claves and Toca Pro Wood Claves. And if you want to sidestep tradition to try a truly unique set of claves, make sure you don't miss the Hammerax HyperClave Pair. These hollow metal claves can sound surprisingly similar to classic wooden versions, but they also have some notes that are all their own.
Are you looking for the sound of the claves without dedicating your hands to holding them? In that case, there are a few options here for you. A popular choice is the Pearl Cajon Clave Block, and some others include the Toca 3/2 Clave Block and Pearl Clave Block. With these, you can integrate clave sounds into any standard drum set while still using your favorite drumsticks and playing your drums as well. One of these blocks is the perfect way to add a little more variety to your drum kit, putting one more sound into your percussion toolbox.
There's a lot of variety in the field of percussion instruments, and you only need to look at claves to see a great example of that variety in action. They're not drums or shakers or cymbals or bells - they're essentially just specially-made sticks, and their beauty is in their simplicity. They make a sound that's essential to some musical styles and a versatile accent to every other, so no matter what sort of percussionist you happen to be, claves have something to offer you.