First Cajon

Filip

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Hey guys! I am playing drums for about 7 years and I want to buy a cajon for fun. I have played cajon just once for like 2 minutes so I have no idea what am I looking for. I don't know how much i want to spend, what prices avarage cajons started? I was thinking about 150-200$. Anyone can recommend something? Thanks :)
 

swarfrat

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It's a box. Invented by poor slaves who had to hide their instrument. $200 doesn't seem to be in character for a cajon.
 

swarfrat

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I didn't mean to malign the actual instrument. Just the upscale marketing of a folk instrument.
 

midnightsupperclub

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Hi Filip,

Welcome to the forum!

You might find that there aren't many fans of the cajon here, and a few who really don't like it. But I personally love playing both drumset and cajon.

The limited range of sounds forces me to focus on the groove and making the music FEEL good. And I think there's a very immediate and primal connection when you're smacking something with your bare hands to produce music.

I personally haven't tried many different brands, but I do know I prefer those with 2 halves of snare wire pressing up against the front face from the inside like what Schlagwerk does, as compared to those that run wires along the full length of the front face.

I'd say drop by your big local retailer like Sam Ash or GC and try out several different ones to get a feel for what sounds good to you. There should be several choices within your price range. You can start by listening out for:

1. A good separation between bass and snare sounds. That means the bass/kick sound should not have too much snare buzz, but just a nice tight solid thump.

2. Nice tight snare sound that doesn't sound too flabby or indistinct. Some cajons have too little or too much of that snare sound, sorta like using a 12 strand vs a 42 strand snare wire on an actual snare drum. I like to find a good balance where I'm hearing a nice crack of the snare but also some of the woodiness of the box.
 
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JazzyJeff

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Cajons are fun. They’re like other percussion instruments- they have their place, but subbing one for a kit when a kit is needed is unwise.

I’d suggest buying used.There are a lot of minimally used Cajons out there for $100 and under. (If you’re in North Carolina, PM me - I’ll give you a good deal on one that is brand new)

Good luck!
 

Murat

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I have had tens of them come and gone through the shop and there are two I can safely recommend: One is the Gon Bop Alex Acuna signature, the other one is the Meinl Vertical Subwoofer Cajon. Sure they are all boxes but some boxes just sound better.
 

Fat Drummer

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Come on... you knew SOMEBODY was going to post this... we've all seen it, but I still laugh every time!


"So firstly, know your enemy... what IS a cajon?"
"Eureka.. get NAMM on the phone... we just innovated the art of percussion forever"!
"Hey, what happened to the bottom of my face... oh yeah, I'm SETTING ON A CAJON!"
"I was still kicking a FREAKIN tree stump!"
 
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Stickclick

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I don't see cajones used much here in Florida. Maybe I've seen them used two or three times a year. Bongos or congas are more popular and sound better too, in my opinion.
 

cplueard

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Hey guys! I am playing drums for about 7 years and I want to buy a cajon for fun. I have played cajon just once for like 2 minutes so I have no idea what am I looking for. I don't know how much i want to spend, what prices avarage cajons started? I was thinking about 150-200$. Anyone can recommend something? Thanks :)
I'd recommend Tycoon. Ultimately you might want to hear the instrument first (like any percussion purchase) but I've found tycoon to just sound heads and tails above other brands on average. I have one of their acrylic cajons (Those are in the $300 range new) and it's easily the best I've ever heads, had many compliments about it's sound. I loved everything from Tycoon so much I ended up getting my congas from them as well.
 

fun2drum

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Mine is a Kopf (USA made if that matters to you) with two playing surfaces - one with snare and one without. I also use a mic pickup at the edge of the hole. My band likes the way it sounds so much that they mentioned the idea of incorporating it into a song or two. I resist that so far only because it's one more thing to carry in and out - which is opposite of my idea of what it's for. I'm a drum set drummer first and foremost. I got my cajon to add to that with some opportunities to play with other musicians in situations I would never be able to otherwise, and WITHOUT having to carry a lot of gear. It has done those things very well.

BTW, get good quality and you'll get a musical instrument, or go with cheap quality and it'll sound like a box. Just like any other instrument.
 

swarfrat

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I don't see cajones used much here in Florida.
You don't see them used much anywhere. Cajons on the other hand exploded and took over the coffee shop / singer songwriter thing a few years back. Made quite a mess.
 

Barden

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I really don't like the bent over posture of the sit on cajon, but I have had a tapered cajon made by FatCongas for ages. You play it with the posture of a djembe and it sounds great. I use brushes all the time on it and love that a square head has different sounds on the edge vs. the corner. There are alot of distinct sounds available. I don't get nearly as many in the snare wire sit-on version. Mine was $160 over ten years ago.

Off topic, but they aren't hard to build. I've since built 4+ in different styles. The biggest one is essentially a 20" cube without the bottom and with arches cut at the bottoms of the sides. You play the top and have a ball. It doubles as a side table when not in use.
 

mcjaco

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They have their place. I've sat in with a local duo that uses a cajon. It's fun. Nothing more. I don't think I'd want to play one every weekend, but the once and a while acoustic shows, I enjoy it.
 

swarfrat

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I liked the package Meinl put together a year or so - except they still had the player sitting on the box. Yeah, it might be one less thing to carry and yeah, if you have a separate 'snare' the posture might not be an issue. But you don't need a funky pedal, just a soft flat beater if you don't actually sit on the box. Of course they were asking crazy money for it. Just take your throne, a normal hat (if you use a normal throne, the hat height shouldn't be a special concern), and pick up the $60 "wood snare" and a bass cajon. And voila - you've recreated the suitcase kit.
 

gezz

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A corn flake box.. Much cheaper and ultimately more musical..
I will never ever accept this fad..
To me it's an invented wooden box which has companies falling over themselves to produce a top of the line wooden box.. A " signature" wooden box is also possible.. Utter garbage in my opinion. And then there's brushes.. Pedals and other premium hardware to enhance your wooden box... Bollox

Gerry
 


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