Thinking about building a cajon

fac

Senior Member
I think you sort of need the thin sandwiched material to get a good sound from it. There needs to be a "membrane" for it to be a drum. The more solid your materials most likely the less sound/projection you'll get. You want a balance between too hard which is echo-ey to too soft which will break and produce a light sound.
You might be onto something. I have a $50 thin plywood cajon (made by a relatively local joint called DrumBox Percussion) and a $200 Toca cajon which I think is made of oak. The Toca looks beautiful and has a crisper sound but feels too stiff. The DrumBox does sound a bit cheaper but has more oomph in the bass sound and is more playable, and also more light and portable.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Well, I just ordered a used Meinl Bass Cajon with Walnut front, so we'll see how that works. The front plate screws on, so I can experiment with different surfaces easily.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Well, I just ordered a used Meinl Bass Cajon with Walnut front, so we'll see how that works. The front plate screws on, so I can experiment with different surfaces easily.
Just want to make sure you're aware that a standard cajon and a bass cajon are pretty different, both in terms of roles in music, and size/shape.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Well, I just ordered a used Meinl Bass Cajon with Walnut front, so we'll see how that works. The front plate screws on, so I can experiment with different surfaces easily.
You can also get a cajon bass drum pedal and use the cajon with a snare for small acoustic settings.
 
As a drummer and carpenter who specializes in fine cabinetry, I have built cajons for myself and others using more involved cabinetry techniques to get an instrument that makes many more sounds and is a lot more durable than standard cajons. Plenty of good advice in the above posts and tons of videos show that with the right techniques you don't need 'good' wood to make a good cajon and beautiful exotic wood used badly gets you a bad cajon. Bad meaning bad in the original sense. I'd be glad to PM or email with anyone who is curious about what I do.
 
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