advise on getting a Cajon

jacknotty1

New member
hiya everyone,

i was wondering if some one can help me with some advise on getting and explaining to way one works. i am in a collage band , we are starting to do some gigs but we are finding that transporting a electric drum kit is very difficult. this is the reason to why i am want to get a cajon. i have been drumming for over 6 years on acoustic kits and elctric ones too.

i hope someone could help with some advise on the matter i am stuck on.
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
Hello, and welcome to the forum.

If you have access to youtube start researching there for some great info on technique, purchasing and how different Cajons sound and play. This will give you a good way of not only hearing, but also seeing how this instrument works, and will help you determine how they sound, and what differences there may be between models, types, and sizes.

Next go to your local Guitar Center type big box music store and try them out in person. Bring a bandmate to help you. They can listen as you play and you can listen as they play. They usually have at least 5 to 10 new and used Cajons on the floor so you can really get a good idea of what is available and how much variation there can be in pricing. This is the best way to determine if a $300 new cajon is better for your needs than a $125 used Cajon. Speaking of used.... YES, buy used if at all possible.

Warning: some drummers are very negative towards the Cajon as an instrument when used outside it's cultural norms lol. Do not let them bring you down! The Cajon can be a very appropriate answer to the question you are asking-namely, how to support your bandmates rhythmic needs without bringing out a full kit. They can actually be a lot of fun, are easy to transport, and can be used as the center oiece of a pretty versatile small "kit" when you add in a hand cymbal, shakers, tambourine, etc.

Don't forget to have fun in your quest....
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
A cajon won't replace a kit. Buy a small acoustic kit or piece one together. So 16 in kick, 12-13 in snare-maybe one tom? Or buy a Breakbeat or similar variation. You'd need to mic the cajon for best effect. Not discouraging from a cajon-I have one. But sounds like you've been playing "a kit". Or get a Pearl Rhythm traveler POD-It's all one piece so easy to carry the kit in with one arm. I just used the 12 in snare and 12 in tom-but it has 8 and 10 in toms to. It has cymbal stand on mount-so one arm drum kit the other hi hat-done.
 
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Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
I take a cajon sometimes to acoustic jams or gigs. I sit on it, then lean it a bit back so front is raised up a bit off the floor. It resonates better that way. Mine has snares inside that you can throw off or on. If I play with my hands near top I get more snare (snares are vertical across top half of front). If I play lower I get a tom/kick sound because my hands are farther away from snares.

You can also buy a very small kick ultra-small (like 14" size) and very narrow. That, a ride, and a snare. I saw a jazz drummer from local college use that set-up all night at a gig and he was superb. He got a lot of different sounds out of snare so that made him effective. With a group doing gigs I'd try that instead of a cajon.
 
Yet another option.. :)
A Pandeiro will give you all kinds of sounds to imitate some drum grooves. With a clip-on mic, they can sound huge and they are very small. If you decide on a Pandeiro, I'd look for a light-weight 10" Pandeiro (about 500g or less) with a natural head. The technique is a bit intricate, so you might tire out playing a whole gig with a heavy Pandeiro.
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
I'm using a Pearl cajon, it's about 18 inches high. Basically the front is like a snare and the sides have a deeper thump like a tom. Much easier to transport than a drum kit and works well for open mics and acoustic type gigs. You might view some Youtube videos about the cajon.
 

markdrumz

Junior Member
I’ve used a Cajon on some gigs—it really depends on the music and venue. Unfortunately the instrument we play means more set up and break down work that is just part of the “drummers” burden. You can give it a try—check out Craigslist and see if anyone has a used Cajon listed. If you buy at the right price and decide the Cajon works for the band you can sell it and get a better instrument. If you are handy Meinl makes Cajon kits you can buy for $50-90. The more expensive one looks like it would sound pretty good (Birch body and Bubinga frontplate). I’ve found I usually drag out a small snare, a foot pedal for kicking the frontplate, a ride and hi hats. The sound is unique, but in the end you might just be better off taking a small kick, snare and multipurpose cymbal/hi hats. Good luck in your journey!
 

Drifter in the Dark

Silver Member
A cajon won't replace a kit. Buy a small acoustic kit or piece one together. So 16 in kick, 12-13 in snare-maybe one tom? Or buy a Breakbeat or similar variation. You'd need to mic the cajon for best effect. Not discouraging from a cajon-I have one. But sounds like you've been playing "a kit". Or get a Pearl Rhythm traveler POD-It's all one piece so easy to carry the kit in with one arm. I just used the 12 in snare and 12 in tom-but it has 8 and 10 in toms to. It has cymbal stand on mount-so one arm drum kit the other hi hat-done.
I have a bass drum that's perfect for the kind of low-volume gigs and intimate settings where a cajon would normally be used. It's a 16x10 that originally came with a Ludwig child-size drum set. I figured out that tom heads fit on it, so I took the front head off and put an old beat-up Remo Pinstripe on the batter side. Used it on an acoustic gig w/ a guitarist and one singer, & they both loved it!
 

ineedaclutch

Platinum Member
Lots of drummers seem to be against using a cajon as a set replacement, but it can really work if you buy a quality cajon. If you are micd up it is even better. It is really nice to only have to show up with a backpack with a cajon for a gig. I had a set up where I had a hihat, tambourine on my right foot and shakers on my left foot. Get some brushes and you can replicate a lot of set sounds. It will not replace a drum set, and purists say you are not using it for its intended purpose, but it doesn't get much easier than showing up with a box you can hit with your hands that is also your seat.

edit: I have now looked through the post and most of what I said has already been recommended or frowned upon. To each their own.
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
Lots of drummers seem to be against using a cajon as a set replacement, but it can really work if you buy a quality cajon. If you are micd up it is even better. It is really nice to only have to show up with a backpack with a cajon for a gig. I had a set up where I had a hihat, tambourine on my right foot and shakers on my left foot. Get some brushes and you can replicate a lot of set sounds. It will not replace a drum set, and purists say you are not using it for its intended purpose, but it doesn't get much easier than showing up with a box you can hit with your hands that is also your seat.

edit: I have now looked through the post and most of what I said has already been recommended or frowned upon. To each their own.
Great post regardless of the naysayers....

Anything that increases your opportunity to play and get involved with your local music scene the better...

Maybe we should take apart our kits because...you know...that's not how those pieces were originally intended to be played....lol.
 

justadrummer

Junior Member
I've played a lot of Cajon gigs over the years, between 2010 and 2013 I was doing a lot of hand percussion gigs, many on Cajon. I still do a decent amount of Cajon gigs.

It is a lot of fun. I have this advice, play as many of them as you can until you find the one that sounds best to you. If you go to a big box music retailer and play a bunch of Cajons, you will find that the sound of "identical" instruments vary widely. I believe that this is because the wood itself varies so much. If you can wait until the Christmas Season to shop, I'd recommend it. My local Guitar Center only has a few to try at this time of the year. When the holiday season ramps up they have twenty or thirty on hand and ready to try.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I love a cajon-have one, a djembe, and a portable conga/bongo setup. However now my hands just handle the impact sad to say. Now I know plenty of players older than me-but it still kills me.
 
I really like having a cajon in order to have a easy to lug around alternative to a kit. Not that it replaces a drum kit, it is a different instrument like any other percussion instrument. But, I think drummers do easier to get decent sounds out of it compared to congas, pandeiros, you name it.

When I bought mine, I experienced that you have to play a cajon in order to find the right one, since even two of the same model sounded totally different. Somehow like getting the right cymbal. Various models felt totally different to me, and I was glad to have my brother with me (also a musician), who let me listen to the different models from 10 feet away.

Finally I got a nice Schlagwerk La Peru for 220 Euro's.. There was only one I would have liked better, if it wasn't more than twice as expensive. A Pepote Master, actually the most expensive cajon in the house :D
 
As a drummer/woodworker I knew I could build a better quality drum with more usable tones way beyond the boom bap of most cajons, so I did. If you want to know more, please PM.86876
 

Jml

Senior Member
Have a cajon. Love it. Easy for transporting, not too loud, and makes enough sounds to replace a drum kit in smaller venues. I also have a shaker and foot tambourine to add to the overall sound. One of the best purchases I’ve made. I use mine in one of my church gigs, and will be using it in an acoustic trio I’m putting together.
 
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