Cajon drum, which is also pronounced as cajone, first originated in Africa. Back then, slaves were using crates and dresser drawers as drums to play some music. Aside from the unique sound that the box drums produced, it was also used to conceal the real purpose of the hand-made musical instrument.
The history of cajon drum is really quite intriguing. Back in those days, Africa was under Spanish colonization; and the Spaniards restricted the African natives from playing any sort of musical instruments. With the cajon drums disguised as stools and ordinary boxes, the natives were able to hide this instrument and play music when there were no Spaniards around.
The cajon or cajone drums have greatly evolved since then. Now, these musical instruments are well-crafted and designed to be percussion instruments. Using ½ to ¾ inch thick wood on the 5 sides of the box and a thin plywood on the playing head (also called tapa), a drum player sits on top of this drum to play it.
There is a sound hole opposite the tapa; and when the percussionist hits the drum with his palm and fingers, the sound can be heard through the sound hole. Other drummers are also using metal and plastic brushes to produce other sounds from the cajone drum’s surface.
Types of Cajon Drum
- String Cajon – This type of cajon has some strings attached along the head or center area of the drum. When the drum is slapped, this vibrates to produce a rich tone.
- Snare Cajon Drum – Snare cajon drums have chains along the front side of the musical instrument. This type of drum makes for a good choice when playing a wide variety of music; but it’s mostly used for Flamenco music.
- Slap Cajon Drums – This type of drum can be constructed in a lot of ways and can also produce different types of sounds. If the corners of the cajon drum are not fastened tightly to the main box cabinet, you will hear a buzzing and sizzling sound when you hit the surface of the drum. And if the soundboards are tightly secured on the sides of the drum, then a rich, deep bass tone can be produced. There are slap cajon drum models that have soundboards that can be adjusted and tightened as desired; with this design, different sounds can be achieved by the player.
- Pick-Up Cajon Drums – This is the most modern type of cajone drum and probably the most expensive too. As there is a built-in amplifier and microphone system integrated in the box drum, you can play in a large venue with ease.
Best Cajon Drum Reviews
This model of Meinl cajon drum is considered by many as an entry level musical instrument because of its simplicity in design and structure. However, even seasoned musicians enjoy playing this drum because of its adjustable and customizable features.
The top corners of the unit can be adjusted according to your preferences; and when you do this, you can make the drum produce deep bass sounds. Cutting-corner slaps can also produce unique notes; and you can even adjust the sizzle effect coming from the drum.
This model is also constructed well. It has a resonating body and the front plate has a natural finish. The overall matte finish also makes it a very attractive musical instrument.
As for usability and comfort, you’ll be glad to know that it has an anti-slip surface. And since it also comes with rubber feet, you can tilt it and move it as you’re playing the drum.
The Meinl Percussion Headliner Series Cajon Drum HCAJ1NT is great for all types of music, especially Flamenco. You can also use this for unplugged sessions.
Made in Germany, this Schlagwerk cajon drum is popular among professional musicians although beginners will also find it easy to use. It comes with 40 built-in snares; but you can opt to remove this if you don’t need it when playing certain types of music. The snares are really easy to install and remove with one quick motion.
Birch materials in 8 plys make up the main body of the unit. As for the front plate, it’s made up of Beachwood. All of these materials add to the resonating effect when using the instrument.
As can be expected from all Schlagwerk cajon drums, this model has a good response when players tap and slap on it. The bass sound is rich, deep, and powerful; and the snares functionality can produce crisp and clear sounds.
There’s also a bell feature installed inside the unit. And the ringing sound from this can really add musical flavor to your creations as you play the instrument.
As the name suggests, this model of drum from Pearl carries 2 different types of surfaces which can be used for 2 different purposes too. The playing surface made from 5mm-thick wood can deliver woody and mellow output; whereas the 3mm-thick surface can be used to produce thumping, punching, and cracking sounds as you so desire. These high tone and low tone features make this unit a 2in1 model of cajon drum, which is really innovative and practical.
Note that both playing surfaces come with fixed snares; so you can’t remove these. This design is useful for creating a wide variety of sounds on a single musical instrument.
The hardware construction on this model is durable and presentable too. So you will like its overall appearance and will be proud of bringing it along with you to your gigs.
Because of its features and design, both beginners and professional players will benefit from this cajon.
How to Build a Cajon Drum
Did you know that you can actually build your own cajon drum if you want to? If you just want to save up on some money, there’s a Meinl DIY cajon drum kit that you can build and set up for yourself. You can save up to $50 when you purchase this package; and you’ll even be using original parts from Meinl. If you can pull this off, you’ll have a cheap cajon drum that’s made by Meinl. Check this out!
If you’re a handyman or are into woodworking and DIY projects and want to build your own cajon drum from scratch, you can do so too. Free cajon drum plans can be found all over the Internet and there are also instructional videos that you can use as a reference when making your own cajon drum at home.
Here’s a video that will help you build a cajon drum from scratch.
What Makes the Cajon Drum Different?
The cajon drum’s presence in the music industry is greatly respected by amateur musicians and professional musicians alike. In fact, even if you are not a drummer, you will find this musical instrument particularly interesting to play.
It doesn’t require much effort to produce beautiful sounds with this device, which makes it very inspiring for beginner drummers. But don’t let its simplicity fool you, as this small and compact musical instrument can deliver the same results as a full drum kit when properly set up.
So what are you waiting for? You’ve seen our best cajon drum reviews and are now aware of the top brands on the market today. Get your very own cajon right away and tap your way to a promising musical career. This is a great way to start your musical journey; and the cajon drum makes for a great companion too, even if you are just playing it as a hobby.
Buy a cajon drum today! Or better yet, build your own cajon. It’s up to you. The important thing is that you’re having fun and that you’re playing with your favorite musical instrument.