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The next time you empty a can of tomatoes give its bottom a spank with a brush. You'd be surprised how similar it sounds to a cowbell!
 
Because its metal is thinner, a can is more responsive to the touch of a brush than a conventional cowbell and they make ideal replacements. There's a surprising variation in pitch between different cans, even if they're all the same brand, but once you find one you like it's fairly easy to incorporate it into your setup. I attached one to my auxiliary hi-hat stand using the mount from a redundant LP Blast Block. Alternatively, a guiro holder might work (if you don't mind an awkward playing angle).
 
Ring-pull cans are the best choice as you're less likely to cut your fingers to shreds on any sharp edges. To clean the insides pour in a little bleach, top up with water and leave for a few hours. As for the outside, soak the can in warm water to remove the label and use white spirit/mineral oil to remove any residual glue. Using a cheap metal-punch kit, make a couple of holes in the side of the can opposite its seam.  It should be plain sailing from there.  Alternatively, fill the can with water and freeze it.  When solid, remove it and drill. Haven't tried that method, but it should stop the can from buckling during drilling. 
 

 
 
You can hear the canbell in action by watching the 'hat click' video in the tips and tricks section.