advise on getting a Cajon

TMe

Senior Member
I was considering a cajon. I became convinced that it can be a great drum for someone who already knows how to play hand drums. If somebody can pull tones out of congas, for example, they can play a cajon. But if someone has never played a hand drum and they pick up a cajon... it's not a very responsive instrument so it's not a great place to start learning how to play hand drums.

It's the same way ukuleles can sound great in the hands of people who already know how to play guitar, but if someone buys a ukulele without any experience on another stringed instrument, they're probably not going to get much out of it.

I'd suggest standing up and playing a wide-open snare drum with brushes, or playing a djembe with rutes rather than going with the cajon.

And look at the playing position. The cajon has to be one of the least ergonomic instruments there is. It looks like aches and pains are guaranteed if you spend much time playing it in the traditional fashion.

That Loota rig looks cool, but it's obviously not meant to be played the way a regular cajon is.
 

Jasta 11

Well-known member
Here is my Cajon "kit". The cajon is Pearl Boombox which has snares toward the top and it sounds great by itself..However at 6 foot 1, i cant get into a good position sitting on it so i added a bass pedal with an inexpensive attachment and use a Mienl padded cajon beater. The snare is a 10 inch Pearl M-80. This kit is simple to transport and i leave the snare on the stand ( i dont even fold the legs). I get a lot of people complimenting the bass drum sound from it. 20190806_191601.jpg
 

Jasta 11

Well-known member
Nice. I’ve used that set up too. Key is to get a bass drum beater that doesn’t damage the cajon. I think Meinl makes a soft one for that.
Thanks, that's the one i have from Meinl, it came with 2 tambourine style bells attached that i unscrewed to keep it just as a bass sound. Works great for the cajon.
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
Not a very pretty pic, but this was a "radio" gig I did a few years back-note the Meinl beater. Cable broke shortly after this and the pedal has been in the box ever since. I switched to a set up like Jasta 11, using the cajon as a "bass drum" and a regular throne. As Jasta pointed out-with a good mic it really produces a pretty killer bass drum "sound". Tambourine under the white clothe. It tames the jingles a little bit.

86907
 

TMe

Senior Member
Key is to get a bass drum beater that doesn’t damage the cajon.
I taped a folded cloth to the cajon for padding and used a regular beater. That way the beater had a normal throw. It sounds a lot like a "stomp box".

For situations where space is tight but amplification is provided, I'm wondering if a stomp box might be a better option. Then I could get rid of the bass pedal as well.
 

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
That's one of the reasons I decided against hand drums. My big plan is to spend my days as a drumming fool when I retire. That won't work so well if I destroy my paws playing hand drums. They've had enough abuse already.
It's great if they don't hurt! I would sit in drum circles for hours when I was younger. Simply can't do it now.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
$700? Geez no way. Buy a used Acrolite for $200, a nice vintage ride cymbal for $300 and if you're good enough that's all you need. That $700 cajon is a total waste of money. It's a one-trick pony. My snare/cymbal combo can be used alone or with a kit. You'll never miss the kick/bass effect and neither will audience if you're a good drummer.

beautiful kit and sound --But CRAZY expensive ($700)
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Overall, if I I can't play the kit below with hot rods or brushes, I simply don't want the gig most of the time; however, there are exceptions.

86922


My exceptions? I play a Moravian Percussion BoxKit when I'm with one of the bands I sit in with from time to time. This is the closest thing I can get to playing a cajon, and I'm only using it as a kick drum. This cajon is absolutely killer...for a cajon. These are SUPER expensive, but supposedly one of the best money can buy (I borrow this from one of the guitar players). It supposedly has all of these "zones" where you can get different effects and whatnot, but I just cut that snares off and use it as a kick drum. The thing is, I'm just not going to lean over and smack a box for 2 hours. YMMV.

Here's a video of me playing it. I don't know if you can hear it, but it's worth a shot:


Pics.



 
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Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
Yeah!!!!

Here is my Cajon "kit". The cajon is Pearl Boombox which has snares toward the top and it sounds great by itself..However at 6 foot 1, i cant get into a good position sitting on it so i added a bass pedal with an inexpensive attachment and use a Mienl padded cajon beater. The snare is a 10 inch Pearl M-80. This kit is simple to transport and i leave the snare on the stand ( i dont even fold the legs). I get a lot of people complimenting the bass drum sound from it. View attachment 86904
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
The cajon as kick drum replacement along with snare + 1 or 2 cymbals makes sense with a band. You're never gonna get away with just using a cajon with a real band. There just isn't enough variety there. My band we use quieter ride to accompany keys, louder to accompany sax or guitar. We go from hats to ride to increase intensity in a song. On fills we use snare and toms. We open some songs with snare+ hats in a shuffle. Sometimes a swing on the ride or maybe hats. We go all second line we use snare almost exclusively. A cajon by itself is too limited in a full band environment. Busking with a few acoustic dudes a cajon is cool. A little jazz trio in a small setting use a cajon to replace kick and bring a snare and a cymbal. But by itself I don't think so.
 
This is my Cajon Setup kit. With a piccolo snare, cajon as kick, a hi hat, 3 splashes and chimes. I only use brush on this really great for accoustic sessions and home practice.87080
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I have a friend that uses a cajon with a pedal, along with a snare drum, one cymbal, and either a tambourine, or bells on his ankle . He does this for small venue acoustic gigs.
 

Jasta 11

Well-known member
The cajon as kick drum replacement along with snare + 1 or 2 cymbals makes sense with a band. You're never gonna get away with just using a cajon with a real band. There just isn't enough variety there. My band we use quieter ride to accompany keys, louder to accompany sax or guitar. We go from hats to ride to increase intensity in a song. On fills we use snare and toms. We open some songs with snare+ hats in a shuffle. Sometimes a swing on the ride or maybe hats. We go all second line we use snare almost exclusively. A cajon by itself is too limited in a full band environment. Busking with a few acoustic dudes a cajon is cool. A little jazz trio in a small setting use a cajon to replace kick and bring a snare and a cymbal. But by itself I don't think so.
Exactly everything you said is true. the reality, if you want to play gigs, you have to ply to the room, not just the audience. I brought the full ( 4 piece) kit last night, but on Tuesday this week i brought out the cajon kit. When i first bought it, i played 2 gigs with just the cajon, it was cool but really limiting in the long run. I love it now as a bass drum though.
 
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