Life lacks meaning without music, just as music lacks essence without rhythm. Music serves as a profound savior, and its significance has become increasingly apparent to humanity today.
In recent times, people have embraced vocal and instrumental music like never before. Notably, drumming holds a special therapeutic quality. The act of playing on a drum set releases pent-up anger and frustration, providing a cathartic experience.
Yet, drumming encompasses more than just using a conventional drum set. This is where the allure of Cajon drums comes into play. These drums bring a unique element to the musical experience. To explore the finest Cajon drums available in India, peruse our review below.
Overview of Cajon Drums
For those unfamiliar with Cajon drums, prepare to be amazed. A Cajon drum is simply a wooden box drum that produces beats when played by hand. Interestingly, the name “Cajon” is derived from the Spanish word ‘caja’, which means box drum or case.
Imagine a wooden box drum with 4-6 smooth surfaces. Now, envision a sound hole on one surface and snare or guitar strings inside the box drum. That’s precisely what a Cajon drum looks like. Cajon drums typically measure 12 inches in width and 18 inches in height.
Hardwoods including birch, pine, and walnut, as well as redwood, ash, cedarwood, and applewood, are used to make cajon drums. Tapa, a thin plywood sheet, is the material used to create the rhythms.
The performer sits on top of the Cajon drums and utilizes their hands or other accessories to create the entrancing rhythms, which is a fascinating part of Cajon drumming. It’s a distinct and all-encompassing musical experience!
The History of Cajon
The cajon was first mentioned in literature in the middle of the 19th century, although its roots may be found as far back as two centuries in Peru. African slaves started looking for alternate ways to make percussion because they were not allowed to play drums at the time. The oldest cajon may have been a repurposed fruit crate.
However, it was in the late 1970s that the cajon, as we know it today, was introduced to Europe by Paco de Lucia, a renowned Spanish flamenco guitarist. The wooden box drum design had evolved by then, becoming the favored instrument among musicians.
As the popularity of “MTV Unplugged” grew in the 1990s, cajons experienced a significant surge in popularity, cementing their place as a widely cherished percussion instrument.
Types of Cajon Drums
Did you know that Cajon drums are sometimes referred to as “drum boxes”? This fascinating instrument has its roots in Afro-Peruvian culture. During the era of slavery, people from West Africa, despite facing a ban on music, found a way to create music using packing boxes made of hardwood. They tapped on the wooden surfaces with their palms or fingers, giving birth to the Cajon drum. Over time, this percussion instrument made its way into Flamenco, rumba, and various other musical styles.
Let’s explore the various popular types of Cajon drums:
- Peruvian Cajon: Staying close to the original construction, the Peruvian Cajon has no internal snares. It resembles a hollow wooden box drum with a soundhole and is often played in pairs to compensate for the lack of snares.
- Flamenco Cajon: This drum box drum incorporates guitar strings as snares within the hollow space. These strings can be fixed diagonally or straight, and some versions may have bells attached, enhancing the sound quality with a distinctive buzz.
- Snare Cajon: With regular drum snares inside the hollow space, the Snare Cajon offers a wider range of sounds. The removable snares allow the instrument to emulate the sound of a standard drum set.
- Cuban Cajon: Featuring four sides and a square top surface with a soundhole, the Cuban Cajon provides enhanced resonance during play. Depending on the size, it can be categorized as Tumba, Conga, or Quinto.
- Slap-Top Cajon: Resembling the letter ‘T’, this Cajon drum is balanced between the drummer’s thighs with a flat, horizontal playing surface. It features two sound holes, projecting the sound outward.
- Bongo Cajon: Named for its resemblance to Bongos, this drum consists of two smaller Cuban Cajon drums connected together. The combination of rectangular/trapezoid shapes and square/octagonal ‘tapa’ offers a variety of pitches and tones.
- Tube Cajon: An accessory rather than a standalone Cajon, it attaches to the soundhole of a Cajon to amplify the bass tones and provide better separation of snare and bass sounds.
- Bata Cajon: This double-surfaced Cajon is placed on the musician’s lap. While earlier versions had animal hide surfaces, modern ones use wood, offering various pitches and tones.
- Acrylic cajones: Popular among traveling musicians due to its durability, this cajones sound may not be as rich as traditional wooden varieties. To compensate, the ‘tapa’ (playing surface) is made of wood, making it slightly more expensive.
- Dual cajones: A combination of snared and snareless Cajons, this type features a soundhole on the side, allowing drummers to play on both the front and rear surfaces. One of the plates contains snare wires/mesh.
- Electro-Acoustic cajones: Usually made from Flamenco Cajons, this version has an integrated amplifier and battery that makes it simple for performers to switch between electric and acoustic tones. For even more convenience, you may plug it into an electrical outlet.
These various types of Cajon drums offer unique sounds and playing experiences, making them popular choices among musicians and enthusiasts alike.
How Cajon Drums Are Crafted:
Cajon drums may appear to be a familiar instrument to you, but there is much more to its design than meets the eye. The fundamental approach is the same whether the cajon drum is rectangular, square, trapezoidal, hexagonal, or octagonal.
The “tapa,” or playing surface, of a cajon box drum is often composed of 1/8-inch-thick plywood, while the other sides are frequently made of solid wood that is 1/2 inch thick. Nevertheless, depending on the design and type of wood used, this may change.
Step-by-step creation of Cajon Drums manually
The size of cajon drums, which are normally constructed of wood and measure between 18 and 19 inches across, varies. These woods include rubberwood, birch, pine, walnut, oak, mahogany, rosewood, apple, maple, and ash.
The initial steps involve precise measurements, where the cajon box creator cuts the wood using a metal clamping ruler and tools like a jigsaw or circular saw. In most cases, a 12cm diameter hole is cut into the rear piece to serve as the soundhole, except for slap-top or Cuban cajon boxes.
The wooden pieces are assembled using wood glue and secured with carpentry clamps, bolts, or wood screws. Snares or guitar strings are added beneath the tapa surface to produce the distinctive cajon box sound, and the tapa is then affixed in place.
Next, stability is ensured by attaching legs or stands to the bottom of the cajon box . Provisions are made for attaching amps, microphones, and snare adjustment knobs for added versatility.
To achieve a smooth finish, the maker sands all the surfaces, and some brands opt to round the corners for enhanced musician comfort. Additionally, some Cajon drums come with provisions for attaching a cajon box saddle on top. Finally, the cajon box is adorned or painted to give it a glossy and visually appealing appearance.
Essential Accessories for Maintaining Your Cajon Drum
The Cajon drum, a wooden percussion box drum , requires regular care to ensure optimal performance and sound quality. Proper maintenance is key to keeping it in top condition, protecting it from heat, dust, pests, and moisture.
To safeguard your Cajon drum, store it in a dry location. For transportation, invest in a cajon box case or a padded cajon box bag to shield it from potential damage.
Consider acquiring a specialized cleaning kit, which should include brushes, soft cloths, and varnish. Additionally, cleaning oils and silica gel packets can prove beneficial in maintaining the drum’s integrity.
Thankfully, all these essential accessories are readily available online, allowing you to conveniently choose the most suitable ones for your Cajon drum.
Playing styles of Cajon Drums
The players choose different styles to play the cajon drums. Whereas, some players sit with a leg on each side of the box and tilt the box at an angle and strike their head between their knees. Players can also produce various sounds from the drums by playing each side of it with their palm and fingers. While there are some harder hitting players that use protective drumming gloves to keep their hands well and blisters free. Some have attached a bass drum pedal to this instrument that allows them to play with a single foot. Players can also use lap cajon that they can play by keeping on their laps.
The Art of Learning Cajones: Top Instructional Videos
Embarking on the journey of learning a musical instrument is a wonderful pursuit, and while self-learning can be rewarding, having some initial guidance will greatly aid in mastering proper technique and form.
Once you’ve selected the perfect cajones, it’s essential to immerse yourself in instructional materials to accelerate your growth as a musician. Visual or in-person demonstrations work best for learning the cajones, so I have compiled a list of top videos that will help you on your journey:
- “Cajon Basics: A Visual Guide” – Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjJncuj3WRc
- “Mastering Cajon Techniques: Step-by-Step Tutorial” – Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-RDgInI9Y4
- “Cajon Rhythms Unleashed: A Comprehensive Lesson” – Dive in: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpReSnkGrTU
By delving into these instructional videos, you’ll gain valuable insights and accelerate your progress in mastering the art of playing the cajon box. Happy drumming!
Cajon drums truly stand out as marvelous and straightforward percussion instruments, appealing to both beginners and experts alike. Their versatility ensures an enjoyable experience for all.
Among the plethora of options available, our top pick is undoubtedly the Clapbox Adjustable Snare cajon box. This remarkable instrument offers exceptional value for your investment, boasting an impressive sound range and crafted from top-notch materials. We heartily urge you to try it!
Please share your insightful remarks about our choice in the box drum below. We look forward to reading them. Please feel free to recommend a product we should evaluate in the future as well. Your suggestions are greatly valued!
Are Cajon Drums Difficult to Play?
Not really. Cajon drums are quite accessible to anyone with a basic sense of rhythm and percussion skills. They are not overly technical instruments, and even beginners can manage to play them. However, formal training is available for those who are interested in further honing their skills.
Can Playing a Cajon Drum Cause Back Problems?
Ideally, playing a Cajon drum should not cause any harm to your back. To ensure comfort while playing, it’s important to choose a cajon instrument with a shape, size, and weight that feels suitable for you. Additionally, you can adjust the tilt of the cajon instrument either forward or backward as needed. Sitting on a chair behind the cajon instrument or using a cajon instrument stand to adjust the height are also viable options. Starting with shorter sessions and using back support if required can also help mitigate any discomfort.
Are Cajon Drums Expensive in India?
No, Cajon drums are not generally expensive in India. There are many cajon instrument brands that offer these drums at reasonable prices. You can refer to the review provided earlier to confirm this.
Are Cajon Drums, Percussion Drums, and Regular Snare Drums the Same?
Percussion instruments include cajon drums, normal snare drums, and percussion drums. They are not identical, nevertheless, in terms of their design and construction. Although looking like wooden crates, cajon drums are a specific kind of drum. Regular snare drums are a distinct type of percussion drum found in drum sets. To make a Cajon drum sound more like a regular snare drum, snares, mic processors, bass tubes, and cabasas can be used.
Can I Take Cajon Lessons Online?
Absolutely! Cajon drums are used often by percussionists, and Indian musicians have started to utilize them more frequently as well. There are many online tutorials accessible as a result. As an alternative, you might look for a local music instructor who provides cajon instrument instruction.
Can I Use Regular Drumming Accessories with a cajon instrument ?
It is advisable not to use regular drumming accessories with a Cajon drum since it is a unique instrument with a wooden-case structure and distinctive playing techniques. Using regular drum accessories on a cajon instrument can potentially damage its surfaces.
Are Cajon Drums the Same as Bongo Drums?
No, Cajon drums and bongo drums are two different percussion instruments. However, there is a sub-type of Cajon drums known as Bongo cajones , which consists of two smaller Cajon drums that produce separate tones and sounds.
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